The Harbor Report: In touch with the young generation

This week, I headed out onto the harbor with the idea of interviewing two people with interesting summer jobs.

My first stop was easy, I stopped by Duffy Electric Boat Rentals at 2001 W. Coast Hwy. to interview Kelly Blake, the son of one of my best friends. Kelly is 19 and has been attending Orange Coast College. Like any 19-year-old male working on our harbor, Kelly's passion is chasing waves, females and skating. His job entails checking in and out Duffy boat rentals, detailing, and instructing people how to operate and navigate the boats around our harbor.

When I asked him if he liked the job, he replied, "I love it. It's fast-paced, we have a great crew and we are always busy." I was surprised to learn that on a busy summer day, there can be as many as 70 charters going out with a fleet of 25 boats. "We take about 15 minutes to detail the boats between charters before sending them back out," Kelly said. I inquired if he had a favorite Duffy model boat. "Yeah, totally, the 21-foot Suncruiser has a back patio on it that is pretty cool. Whenever I go out on them, I just like to chill outside."

So what types of parties have the most fun on the boats? "It depends," Kelly said. "Some people appreciate it differently. There are a lot of grandparents taking their grandchildren out and taking family reunion cruises. College kids always seem to have a great time, it just comes down to who appreciates it the most. Grandparents always seem to come back with the biggest smiles on their faces."

With the summer winding down, Kelly's focus is turning toward his studies. "I have to pass school," he explained with determination inflicted into his voice. "I am bummed I'm going to have to leave this place."

For my next stop, I hopped into my dinghy and headed out to meet Cameron Pizzica on the bait barge. Cameron is 21, lives in Huntington Beach and will be attending Cal State Long Beach this fall. On his down time, he heads to the beach and runs track.

While working on the bait barge, he pulls 24-hour shifts and wakes up at 5 a.m. to get ready for his customers. "I am part salesman and security guard," he said.

Cameron's duties are to wash down the barge twice a day and monitor the barge's fuel levels. He has been employed by the San Pedro Bait Company for the past four years and has only worked the Newport Bait Barge. "I started working one day a week and have worked my way up to three days now," he explained with great pride in his voice. Four people work the barge, and most have their own dogs with them. Unfortunately, I did not get the name of Cameron's dog, but I could tell this was his home. The dogs keep the birds and sea lions away along with any uninvited late-night guests.

I talked to Cameron about his product. "We have squid, anchovies and sardines," he said. "The Pamela Rose drops off fresh bait about three times a week." When I asked him about the water quality since the dredging has been completed, he felt that there has been a huge difference. "In years past, I could not see the bait because the water was so cloudy," Cameron said. "Now I can easily see the condition of the bait. We have lots of dolphin swimming by, and of course, we have lots of sea lions because the barge is like a floating buffet for them. Another thing I have noticed is how much stronger the current has gotten."

Being at the doorway of the harbor, I had to ask what are some of the strangest things he has seen. "It's always interesting to watch the Harbor Patrol speed out of the harbor," Cameron said. "I had some kids stop by at 1 in the morning in their electric boat wondering what the barge was for. I also noticed a large whale swim right in front of the harbor entrance this year. Other than that, it's rather peaceful out here."

As I was wrapping up my interview, a local charter boat pulled up for bait and a very cute girl cruised by in her dinghy and said, "Hello, Cameron, do you remember me?" He quickly replied, "Yes," and the crew of the charter boat chimed back humorously, "Hello, Cameron, do you remember me?" Life's good on the harbor this week.

Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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