Internet Newsletter

From True Traveler Publishing


November/December 2009


Volume 7 , Number 11/12


A true traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arrival®

True Traveler Publishing

P.O. Box 60023

San Diego , CA 92166



(619) 857-0368












________________________ Report: Samoa Tsunami Account

This is from friends of the GillBilly who were cruising in Samoa

Sep.29,09 Earthquake/Tsunami report from American Samoa - Tuesday morning (Sep.29) I awoke after a fitful sleep at 5 a.m. I, then, made my way, in the dark, down to the phone station as a flock of giant fruit bats glided past me through the morning haze. I needed to make a call regarding parts that we needed shipped to Samoa to fix our broken head stay. (There is a 3 hour time difference with California.) As I returned to the boat a massive earthquake hit us. We were docked alongside a large cement wharf with 7 other sailboats. The earthquake lasted around 1 1/2 minutes and before it ended everyone was up and out of their boats.

We all exchanged comments on the magnitude of the earthquake and how long it lasted. After about 10 minutes everyone returned to their boats to start their day. I went below to get another hour of sleep and as I stepped down one of our crew members, Emily, was coming up. She was coming up do yoga on the dock. This is her normal morning onshore routine and luckily this early morning ritual gave us a slight warning to what happened next. A few minutes later, from below decks, I heard a heavy creaking and groaning. Then, we heard Emily yelling at us to get up topside. I jumped up on deck and all I could see was water rushing out and huge dripping pilings next to my head. I looked up 15 feet and saw Emily's shoes and heard her screaming at us to escape. Luckily, Matt had left his sharp knife by the companionway and I immediately began slashing the dock lines that weren't already broken by the strain. I fired up the engine.

Meanwhile, the boys were frantically pushing the boat away from the concrete pilings with their soon bloodied hands and yelling for Emily to run. The water was sucking out so much that all the sailboats around us were hitting bottom and leaning over on their sides. Somehow Banyan was in water just a little deeper. Emily was trying to climb back aboard the boat. As the boat sunk lower and lower the mast and the rigging leaned over and pushed against the cement dock where Emily was attempting to climb down. She was pressed hard against a giant fender tire and our wire rigging. After barely squeezing out she fell onto the deck of our boat. Amidst the panic she told me later that she then decided to climb back onto the tire and then the dock and make a run for it.

I was unaware of what was going on due to our canopy blocking my view I decided to quickly fire up the engine and slash the last line attached to our stern. I gunned the engine full throttle and headed out into the harbor. We made it about 15 feet away from the dock when I realized Emily wasn't on board. The next instant the water switched directions and came flooding back towards us. We went from almost dry land into a surge of water 30-40 feet high. I shoved the throttle to full and we actually traveled up the face of the oncoming tsunami wave. Luckily, the face was only a 45 or so degree angle. We were able to actually motor up and over it. The feeling was surreal. I must have put the throttle to full just has the surge hit us. The boat remained 15-20 feet from the dock and we miraculously held our ground against the incoming flow. From our vantage point we saw Emily wade through the rushing water to a light post on the dock. She clung to this post as the water began to rise ever higher.

The other six boats on the dock hadn't slashed their lines quickly enough, so as the water rose they all began to bunch up and smash against each other as they got crushed under the dock. The catamaran, directly in front of us, got one of her hulls stuck under the dock and was crushed as the water rose. Within seconds her bow snapped and the boat sprung into the air with a violent rush. Our eyes were glued to Emily as she clung to the light pole. Soon the water had risen above her head and she disappeared from our view. Mike and I frantically attempted to launch the dinghy in hopes of trying to save her. As soon as we launched the dinghy, with the motor attached, the force of the tsunamis surge hit us and the dingy instantly flipped over. At this time a sailboat on the other side of the dock broke free and was thrown up onto the dock.

The water had risen more than 30 feet and this 45-foot sail boat was soon sliding along the cement dock towards Emily clinging to her pole. Somehow, the captain fired up his engine, cut his lines and was able to motor off the dock narrowly avoiding the light pole. Soon the water sucked back out to sea and we could see Emily running from the light pole to the edge of the dock. We all frantically yelled at her to run to high ground. She then took off towards the dock gate and the side of the mountain. When a second surge hit us she actually struggled through waist deep water to make it to the end of the dock.

From the safety of our boat we peered through the binoculars and could see that she had made it to safety. It would be hours before we were finally able to find her again and to learn that she had run straight up the side of the jungle covered hill. It was a barefoot hike of more than 300 vertical feet. After reaching the summit she found a tree and climbed it to get a bird’s eye view of the whole bay. By this time the few sailboats that hadn't been damaged too badly made their way out to where we were circ ling around in deep water. We, then, heard frantic yelling coming from the boat that had been tied up directly behind us. I jumped in the dinghy and went over to see if I could help. The woman was hysterical. She told me her husband had fallen off the boat while attempting to cut the dock lines. She actually witnessed him getting sucked into the water and carried away.

We later learned from Emily that, from her vantage point on high ground, she could see huge whirlpools sucking docks and containers under water. I quickly went around the distraught woman’s boat and cleaned up her lines to avoid getting them sucked into the propeller. The next 3-4 hours were spent motoring around looking for Emily and the woman’s husband. After everything had subsided Mike jumped into the dinghy and I gave him a ride to shore in hopes of finding Emily somewhere. As we approached the dock we realized that our bicycle and generator were hanging by their chain cable off the side of the dock. We pulled them both dripping onto the dock. Mike jumped on the bike and set off through the disaster zone to look for Emily. Later Mike told us that he had gone to the head of the bay. He found a friend of ours whose boat was wrecked. His boat was stranded high up on a grassy bluff. Mike helped him unload his valuables as looters were instantly ransacking stores, shops and boats. It was total anarchy. When he turned around to continue his search for Emily he realized his bike had been stolen. He, then, returned on foot through the streets where gangs of teenagers were running rampant looting and bashing everything with sticks that they all carried. Somehow Mike followed a trail of people who had seen the white "palangi girl". He eventually found her at the top of the mountain still perched in a tree. We were completely relieved to hear the radio report from him stating that she was high, dry and uninjured.

I hope to have more reports on the aftermath once I get a chance. We are all pretty shaken, but so thankful to have escaped with no injuries. Our Banyan suffered no damage at all and we only received minor scrapes and cuts. Just today we finally fixed our headstay in a “jury rig” fashion with a chain extension. Under the circumstances that is the best repair that we can do and it will be fine. We are going to use some jib sails we salvaged (in place of our damaged self furling jib—damage not from tsunami, but done previously to arriving in Samoa) off a wrecked boat that we helped the owner unload. Everyone wants to leave this place.


You will find angling to be like the virtue of humanity, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of blessing attending upon it.
Izaak Walton


Buy Captain Ryan's Boat

________________________ Tribute


Bill Poole, a legendary captain and leading pioneer of sportfishing in and beyond San Diego, has died after a struggle with lung cancer. He was 87.

Poole died Wednesday, October 21st at his San Diego home with his family by his side, said Betty Stein, his longtime secretary.

Poole, who started with a barge he purchased after World War II, became a boat builder who constructed or had a hand in the construction of many top vessels still operating.

They include the Royal Polaris, Royal Star, American Angler and Spirit of Adventure. Many of them are long-range vessels that help make up the world's most sophisticated sportfishing fleet.

Poole's own spirit of adventure drove him to build boats that could be at sea for days and access remote areas off Mexico, where tuna, wahoo and other subtropical species teemed.

His passengers included the rich and famous, but the personable captain admired how fishing treated everyone equally. "It doesn't matter how much money you make, how many cars you drive or how expensive your car is," he once said. "When you step onto a boat to fish, the fish don't give a damn."

Poole also owned or was part-owner of sportfishing landings, marinas and other real estate in San Diego. His wife, Ingrid, said her husband had three passions: "Fishing, hunting and an entrepreneurial challenge."

Poole's hunting exploits were legendary: He once spent 57 days in pursuit of a trophy-size bighorn sheep in Wyoming.

"He was a sheep nut and a 10-foot bear nut, and an elephant nut," said Ingrid Poole, who accompanied her husband on many hunting expeditions.

In the sportfishing industry, Poole was known as a throwback character who made loans based on trust and sealed deals with handshakes rather than contracts.

"What you saw is what you got; he was a man of his word," said Bob Fletcher, a friend of Poole's and a former commercial and sportfishing boat captain.

"We lost one of the monster pioneers of sportfishing; nobody else had that kind of impact on our industry," Fletcher said.

Paul Morris, general manager of Fisherman's Landing, which was co-owned by Poole and Frank LoPreste, worked with Poole for 42 years.

"He was like a father to me," Morris said. "He was one of those guys who would talk to the employees like they were one of the guys. He treated them like they were part of the group."

In addition to his wife, Poole is survived by their six children: daughters Sandra Schafer, Sherri Thomas and Billie Zambroski; and sons Randy, Eric and Stine.

A memorial service will be held Nov. 25 in San Diego.


There he stands, draped in more equipment than a telephone lineman, trying to outwit an organism with a brain no bigger than a breadcrumb, and getting licked in the process.
Paul O'Neil



Pablito Launches GillBilly Fish Conservation Public Service Campaign

Ever faithful to the cause of fish conservation and ocean awareness, our friend Pablito has again thrown his angler angst into the fray. He reminds you to only catch and keep what you can eat and to always practice the GillBilly creed...

Catch and release to keep the ocean's peace!

Pablito has also contributed his time when not on the sea baiting a hook to appear in this fish conservation animation... 





Today, fishery managers are continuing to ignore the law and allow unsustainable fishing for too many of our economically and ecologically important fish. It`s time to listen to the science and put long-term sustainability ahead of short-term profits.
Mark Powell


San Diego in the 60's Part One

8 mm film from the good ole days in San Diego, California.


San Diego in the 60's Part Two


San Diego in the 60's Part Three


San Diego in the 60's Part Four




Fishing is the sport of drowning worms.

Author Unknown






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Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

Biblical Quote



Returning to her Mexican Heritage 

Linda Ronstadt changed her musical trends with two excellent music albums featuring a return to her roots. Performing a wonderful set of traditional Mexican music, the velvet-voiced diva is inspiring and impassioned offering a collection of unforgettable songs that will stay with listeners forever.  Senora Ronstadt stepped into the studio with the intention of not only preserving her rich heritage, but also connecting with her past.            

The pop singer that you may associate with her first hit called “Different Drum” (written by Michael Nesmith of the Monkeys) and a band called the Stone Ponies and dating former California Governor and now Mayor of Oakland, Gerry Brown, was raised in Tucson. As a Mexican American by descent, she recorded two excellent record albums (now CDs) celebrating the music of old Mexico. Her grandfather’s habit of singing to her aunt when she was a child the collection of tunes inspired the songs Linda flawlessly performs singing the traditional music of the land of shorter shadows. You will thoroughly enjoy these songs, through the years sung to wile away the long afternoons on the rancheros and in the cantinas of days gone by and still in present day times.           

Federico José María Ronstadt, better known in his later years as Fred Ronstadt, was born in 1868 on the Hacienda Las Delicias near Cananea, Sonora. He spent his childhood in Sonora, moving to Tucson at the age of fourteen to learn the wagon-making trade. In addition to an intelligent, curious, retentive mind and a capacity for hard work, he brought with him a love of all sorts of music. Music seems to have been a feature of the Ronstadt household from the beginning. His daughter Luisa (Linda’s aunt) remembered her father sitting under the grape arbor in the yard on summer evenings, playing his guitar and singing old songs from Sonora. Those songs are part of the family heritage to this day. It is not surprising that this talent and enthusiasm continued as a family tradition. Fred Ronstadt's daughter, Luisa, became an internationally known interpreter of Spanish song and dance in the 1930s, under the name of Luisa Espinel. In 1994 the Ronstadt family was awarded a Copper Letter from the City of Tucson for beautifying the city with song for well over a hundred years.

Luisa Espinel circa 1924

Linda Ronstadt’s Aunt

Linda writes on the liner notes, “Since I was a young child, I have loved and admired the traditional music of Mexico in all its wondrous diversity. It is said that there are many contradictions in the Mexican culture. Its music is no exception. It is at once the most disciplined and the most hang loose music I have ever attempted. Its Pre-colombian rhythms and subsequent European influences always allow it to shine as distinctly Mexican. The mariachi is in the truest sense a folk orchestra playing the regional music of Jalisco. The influx of German settlers in the north brought with it the accordion and the polkas, waltzes and oom-pah military music so dear to German hearts. The Mexicans engulfed and made it there own. My brothers and I grew up particularly loving the sones and huapangos from the south and trios from Huastecas. We were thrilled when we finally got to record our own versions of these songs we’d admired so long”.

Fred Ronstadt & Luisa Espinel

Fred Ronstadt's 50th Wedding
Anniversary Celebration

February 15, 1954

Linda Ronstadt recorded “Canciones de mi Padre” (Songs of my Father) in 1987 and followed in 1991 with “Mas Canciones” (More Songs) due to the first albums tremendous success. Both are beautifully presented with the words to the songs in both Spanish and English on the CD enclosures. The first album has Linda’s comments prefacing the words to the songs. The incredible range of Linda’s voice is accented by rowdy hooting male companions who also join in with perfectly tuned harmonic choruses. A brass section accompanies strummed and picked guitars contrasting the velvet violins which together celebrate the emotion shared on “Mi Ranchito”.  Mix in a harp, harmonica, flutes, a tuba, percussions, and the vihuela (a delicately crafted 12-string guitar with gut strings and 1 to 5 decorated rosettes instead of the sound holes) and you have your entire happy hour filled with music characteristic of the country you are visiting.            

These songs will remain a great keepsake continually calling you back to visit Mexico again. A few of these songs date back to the turn of the 18th century and are the indigenous folk songs of Sonora, Mexico. The first album was recorded by Asylum Records and is referenced by #60765-2. The second was an Electra product #61239-2. There is also an excellent DVD performance of these songs entitled “Canciones de mi Padre, A Romantic Evening in Old Mexico” available on the internet at CD Universe. Performed in 1991, this is a stage performance of the songs on Linda’s albums, performed in three acts complete with a Mexican ballet. Linda sings 21 songs during this rousing and inspirational celebration of Mexican culture. The DVD is on the Rhino Home Video label #R2 970298.

Click the link below for an Adobe PDF copy of a collection of music and words in both Spanish and English compiled by Luisa Espinel published January 1, 1946. The dedication at the beginning of the 59 page document reads as follows. Again, you will need Adobe Reader to view this file.

Canciones de mi Padre / Spanish Folksongs from Southern Arizona

To my father with affection...

            Those long summer evenings of my childhood, when the moon made strange patterns on father’s guitar as he sang enchanting songs to me, are no more. But the imagination hears the romance and wistfulness of their melodies, hears them with sweetness as subtle as the fragrance of wild flowers dried in herbs. -LE

            Linda Ronstadt wrote of the above dedication in 1987,

            "My Father's sister Luisa wrote these words the year I was born. They are the introduction to a book of collected songs from my grandfather's homeland of Sonora, Mexico.

            Many of the songs on this record were passed on through my father to me, and others I have learned through my continuing interest in the great vocal traditions of Mexico. These songs comprise a tradition both of my family and of a country which has made profound contributions to the world of music. They are a living memory of heartfelt experience".

Click here for an excellent taste of the song "Tu Solo Tu" on the first album.

OK, one more, also from the first album "La Ciggara".


Buy Captain Ryan's Boat




As you enter Ensenada Harbor you will see a curious sight to starboard that may shiver your timbers. Half submerged and arising from the harbor mud is the carcass of a once proud ferry that served the run between California ports and Catalina in times past. For the past 20 years this navigation hazard has kept vigilance on the busy port activities in Ensenada Harbor. Brought to Ensenada almost 22 years ago to serve as an entertainment center and gambling casino, the historic ship has been the subject of controversy for many years and now may be forced out of its resting place by an adjacent new proposed hotel and marina development, aimed at increasing tourism to the area.

She was the million dollar steamship, in the days when a million dollars was a lot of money. She was built with chewing gum, or more correctly of steel, bought with the profits from a chewing gum empire created by Mr. William Wrigley, Jr., who happened to own an island about 24 miles off the coast of Southern California called Santa Catalina. The only major town on the island was Avalon, an almost Mediterranean-like setting, far removed from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, on the other side of the San Pedro Channel. By the 1920's, tourism to the island was booming, thanks in part to a strong economy and Mr. Wrigley's various enterprises on the island, including a training camp for his Chicago Cubs baseball team, and his own steamship line known as the Wilmington Transportation Company.

The new steamship S.S. Catalina, was built in 1924 to provide additional capacity and more elegant transportation to the island. William Wrigley Jr., himself laid the keel on December 26, 1923 at the yards of the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. Situated in the heart of Los Angeles harbor, this location later became the Todd Shipyard. The new ship was designated hull number 42. After a quick construction period the new vessel was ready to take to the water for the first time. Named for the island which she would serve, the S.S. Catalina was launched on May 3, 1924, by Miss Marcia A. Patrick, the daughter of Joseph Patrick, president of the Santa Catalina Island Company. The Mayor of Los Angeles, along with 3,000 other people were on hand to witness the event. A little over eight weeks later the ship commenced her maiden voyage from Wilmington, California to Avalon on June 30th, under the command of Captain A. A. Morris. Few on that first voyage could have envisioned that 25 million people would follow them onto those same decks, enjoying a 2 hour cruise to Catalina Island during an active career of 51 years!

The S.S. Catalina holds the honor of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But unlike the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or the Mission San Fernando Rey, which share these accolades, the Catalina carried 24 million passengers in her heyday, and ferried more troops in World War II than any other military transport. A recent panga ride by this author around the 302-foot-long, 52-foot wide vessel found much of the vessel's port railing stripped away, revealing a bizarre sight of sea lions bellied up to the U-shaped wooden bar where passengers once gathered to sip cocktails. Imagine the luminaries that once walked these decks! Anything that could be done, should be done to save this once proud classic maritime lady.

Click on these photos and the following thumbnail photos on this page

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Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish.

Steven Wright


Classic Black and White Photos from the 20th Century

Part One


Part Two





There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.

Steven Wright



This is an appeal to those that would like to benefit the fishing industry in this rather difficult economic environment, and who would also like to help promote and propel a new project designed to expose more adults and young people to fishing as a healthy family life experience. Thus bringing a greater green awareness of ocean and fish ecology. The project needs investors, screenwriters and any connections that may be usable in the film and animation trades. Your interest and support will be greatly appreciated!

Visit the GillBilly Movie Development Blog and Help Us Create the Movie by Adding Your Idea Comments.





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