The White Abalone

Haliotis sorenseni Bartsch 1940

Distinguishing Characteristics: Shell thin and light, oval, highly arched, reddish brown color exteriorly. Surface sculpture regular, with low spiral ribs, usually covered by lush marine growth, especially tube dwelling mollusks. The holes are highly elevated and between three and five are open.

The interior is a striking pearly white with iridescent tints mainly pink; the outer edge of the lip is quite thin with a narrow red border. The muscle scar is typically absent, but if present is poorly differentiated; in some larger individuals small blue-colored nacreous clumps are scattered over the interior.

The epipodium is roughened and is mottled yellowish green and beige color. Its edges are scalloped and lacelike with occasional edgings of orange. The long, thin, light green and yellowish tentacles extend beyond the edge of the shell. The portion of the mantle extending over the head region of the animal is edged in purple.

The body is typically yellow or orange colored and the meat is quite tender. Shell attains a length of ten inches, but most are five to eight. Individuals smaller than four inches are rare.

Distribution: Not found north of Pt. Conception, taken only occasionally along the mainland at Pt. Dume, Palos Verde and San Diego. Most abundant among the Channel Islands of Santa Catalina, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, San Clemente and Los Coronados; also reported from Turtle Bay and Cedros Island, Baja California.

Habitat: A deep water form found from 15 feet (rarely) to 150 (may extend to greater depths), with greatest concentration between 80 and 100 feet.

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From California Abalones, Family Haliotidae, Department of Fish & Game, 1962

By Keith W. Cox

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1945: Slain Sea Lions Strew County Coastline

Story from the Half Moon Bay Review

The year was 1945

“Professional fishermen on the Coastside have turned hunters and their accuracy is costing the county a headache.

“The anglers are ‘knocking off’ the seals and sea lions that have been crimping their living by stealing fish from their nets–even pilfering their catch while they are hauling in their nets.

“Some time ago, following appeals of the fishermen, the state legalized the shooting of the culprit seals and sea lions. The fishermen have been packing their trusty arms since–and likely are getting some help from lovers of the sport of hunting.

“The beaches between Miramar and Pillar Point reveal that the fishermen are also good hunters. Last week, 38 dead seals and sea lions were strewn on the beach.

“The county’s headache is in “getting rid” of the dead mammals. They weigh 450 pounds each and it costs the county nearly $10 to bury each one.

“Maurice Rothchild, sanitarian of the county health and welfare department, said that his department was appealing to the board of supervisors for funds to defray expenses incurred in burying the mammals. He said the department had already used up in excess of $500 and that no funds had been allocated for the work.”

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Northern California Developer Henry Doelger Took A Long Look At The Coastside

Famous developer Henry Doelger had much to do with plans to transform Princeton-by-the-Sea, Moss Beach and Montara in the 1960s. You can find some HMB Review articles related to Doelger on this blog.

Here’s a piece I wrote about Henry Doelger in 1999.

By June Morrall

Westlake made Henry Doelger’s reputation as a master Northern California developer. He seemed unstoppable, but critics took sharp aim at his usually monotonous boxy houses, and when he set his sights on the pristine San Mateo County Coastside in the 1960s, a storm of opposition awaited him.

Henry Doelger was born in behind a downtown San Francisco bakery in 1896. His formal education ended in grammar school, and he often quipped that he’d “flunk a fifth grade arithmetic test,” but the spunky youth possessed enough entrepreneurial spirit to open a hot dog stand, squirreling away every nickel he earned.

His first investment opportunity appeared in 1922 when Doelger looked at San Francisco’s undeveloped Sunset District and purchased a scruffy lot for $1,100. Two months later, he sold it, doubling his money.

Emboldened by the transaction, and ignoring the advice of those who said he shouldn’t build houses on the windswept dunes. Doelger purchased another 14 building lots in the Sunset District.

He eventually built 28000 homes, transforming the sandy terrain into “neat blocks of stucco homes.”

During WWII, Doelger further perfected his system of building uniform mass-produced structures, erecting 3,000 housing units for defense workers in South San Francisco, and other parts of the Bay Area.

At the close of the war, once again against the advice of others, he purchased 350 acres of coast range land in the northwestern part of Daly City, formerly home to hog and cabbage farmers.

Over the next two decades, Doelger completed his huge planned community called “Westlake,” consisting of some 9,000 homes, 3,000 apartments, community centers and—within walking distance–a major shoping center and a soon-to-be-very-popular restaurant called “Joe’s.”

With prices starting at $11, 964, Doelger’s homes were affordable for first-time buyers with the help of post-war, low-interest, government-guaranteed loans.

A special feature of the subdivision homes was the use of redwood in construction, including the sub-flooring, exterior siding and many interior walls.

Doelger heralded the Westlake subdivision as a “great contribution to community advancement,” while others derisively dubbed it “the White Cliffs of Doelger.”

The Doelgers–Henry, his wife, Thelma and their two children–resided at Westlake in a sumptuous home featuring a 20-foot swimming pool in the living room. Sharing the living quarters were assorted pets, including a blind pigeon, two dogs, a rabbit, two monkeys and three cats.

Part of each year the Doelgers vacationed at their Sonoma ranch. For the annual trek north, Thelma packed the menagerie of animals into a truck. Accomplished in her own right, Thelma was an avid painter who once exhibited her portraits and still life at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

By the 1960s, Doelger knew the bayside was fast running out of flat land useable for large-scale subdivisions, the raw material he required for his signature developments.

Anticipating this day, he had purchased 8,000 acres on the Coastside, stretching from Montara to Half Moon Bay. In Doelger’s mind the Coastside’s open land was a perfect setting for what he called his “New Community on the San Mateo Coastside.”

The Coastside project consumed Doelger, and to devote more time to it, he decided to divest himself of the Westlake Shopping Center, reportedly selling it for about $10 million.

Local legend has it that Henry Doelger invited his good friend, the president of the Bank of America, to the top of Montara Mountain. As the powerful pair scanned the rugged coastline, Doelger pointed and boldly announced: “Here is my new city.”

Coastsiders reacted swiftly to Doelger’s proposal for 13 planned neighborhoods, each with its own school, and a subdivision scheduled for Princeton called the “Tahitian Village,” to be modeled after Mission Bay in San Diego.

Many new residents, environmentalists, had moved to the Coastside for its open space and beauty. Painfully aware of Doelger’s visually monotonous subdivisions, they feared what he had in mind for the Coastside.

At contentious meetings organized by the San Mateo County Planning Department, residents voiced their fears, peppering Doelger’s representatives with questions about subdivisions with houses that looked alike, high-rise apartments blocking ocean views, ridge-line development, and a lack of water for the massive project.

Doelger’s people did their best to assure residents that the project would not resemble Westlake, explaining that they were projecting a cross-section of consumers, adding that future market conditions would dictate the time span over which the homes and schools would be built.

The Coastside locals were unmoved and the meetings dragged on. Perhaps worn out by the opposition, Henry Doelger decided to “ease up” on his Coastside project., turning the 8,000 acres over to the Westinghouse Electric Corp., and developers Jim and Bill Deane, who had won acclaim for their large Lake Forest subdivision in Orange County.

As he sold his real estate interests, Doelger said he wanted to devote more time to cruising the Mediterranean about his 140-foot yacht, the “Westlake II.”

In 1978, while touring Italy, 82-year-old Henry Doelger, once one of Northern California’s biggest building contractors, passed away.

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Meet the Pinto Abalone

First, what happened to the old Princeton sign? The one you see in the permanent blog photo above…it says Princeton, pop. 300. Who has that classic old sign? We should put it back where it belongs.

Here’s the Pinto Abalone:

PINTO ABALONE
Haliotis kamtschatkana Jonas 1845

Distinguishing Characters: This species exhibits considerable variation in shell form. In its northern range, which extends from Alaska south to Pt. Sur, California, it is characterized by a long, narrow, highly arched shell, having a rough, irregular surface. Larger individuals usually have a prominent spire. In its southern form, which extends from Pt. Sur to Pt. Conception, the shell is more oval in shape and not as highly arched; the surface is more regular and smooth and the spire is not as high.

In both forms, the shell is thin, colored a mottled greenish-brown with occasional white and blue scattered over the surface.Holes number from three to six,usually five, with raised edges, and in some specimens a shallow, grooved channel under the lines of holes parallel to the edge.

The interior is an iridescent pearly white, typically with no marked muscle scar although larger individuals may have small clumps of of greenish nacreous substance scattered inside the shell in the region of muscle attachment. Raised, lumpy areas of exterior are reflected by hollows and pit-like areas in the interior. Sizes range to six inches, but seldom exceed four. The epipodium is scalloped and lacelike along the upper edge and colored a mottled greenish-brown. The body is mottled tan and greenish brown; some with tinges of orange. The tentacles are green and slender, and the tips extend from under the edge of the shell when the animal is moving or feeding.

Distribution: Sitka, Alaska, to Pt.Conception, California. Formerly thought to extend to northern Japan via the Aleutian Island chain,but the Japanese form has been established as a subspecies.

Habitat: In the northern range in Alaska it is found in shallow water among the rocks at low tide. Further south it is found in deeper water, and in central California the greatest numbers are found in the 35 to 50 foot depths. Although not a common species it is not rare, and in some areas in deep water offshore may be found in large numbers.

In deeper water this abalone is found more or less in the open on top of the substrate, rather than in cracks and crevices and on the undersides or rocks. The shells are covered with the same marine growths that are found on the substrate,making them difficult to distinguish from the surroundings. Food consists principally of small algae growing on the subsurface rather than the larger seaweeds which are favored by most of the other species. It is this diet which apparently gives the varied colors to the shell.

From “California Abalones, Family Haliotidae,” by Kenneth W. Cox, Dept of Fish & Game, 1962

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Lookin' Good, Like the Beard: Richard Henry, aka "The Englishman"

If you don’t know Richard Henry, our Coastside PLUMBER, please read my story called “The Three Richards,” click here

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The only abs you'll find in Princeton today are

of the decorative variety.

(Photo by Jerry Koontz, jerrysphotos.com

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Collin Tiura & Really Big Abalone

To read Collin’s story, click here

I’ve had requests for larger images from Collin Tiura’s “Big Ab” story. Here they are:

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Miramar Beach: Wild Time with the Tsunami Rangers

Tsunami Ranger Michael Powers shows us how to have a great time. He’s dancing with wife Nani.

And Pete Douglas (Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society) showing us the moves with Miramar Beach chanteuse Susan Pate.

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The Golf Ball Is With Us

(Photo above is of the new radar station.)

In the 1980s it was flat like a big plate. Photo by Maria Demarest.

In the fall of 1981 I interviewed El Granada resident, Frank Millione, then a 41-year-old professional bowler, who, when, not working at Pillar Point Radar Station, traveled the country to participate in championship bowling contests.

Rumors of flying saucers launced from Pillar Point–that peninsula of land that juts out into the Pacific Ocean at the northern end of Half Moon Bay–circulate from time to time. The 80-foot radar dish, which sticks out like a sore thumb high atop Pillar Point, helps to stimulate fertile imaginations.

But 41-year-old Frank Millione, who has worked as a “special tech” at Pillar Point Air Force Tracking Station for 17 years, denies the flying saucer rumors.

Pillar Point Tracking Station–a division of ITT, tracks the flight accuracy of missiles launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County. Millione told me that “There has never been anything around here that can honestly be called unexplained phenomena.” He explained the UFO sightings as being mistakes for missiles launched from Vandenberg in the evening or early morning when they can be seen near Half Moon Bay.

“It looks like a big white object streaking through the sky,” Millione said. “But people don’t recognize it, so they say, ‘I saw a flying saucer’.”

Vandenberg on the West Coast (California) is the equivalent of Cape Kennedy on the East Coast (Florida). “At Vandenberg,” Millione said,” when they look up at a missile, they’re looking at the back end. Due to heat produce at take-off time, they can’t see through it, so somebody must look at it from the side which is what we do here.”

Missiles launched from Vandenberg either go south or west. “The missiles that go south,” Millione told me, “are put into orbit and used for navigation and communication. The ones that go west are testing for inter-continental ballistic missiles, like the Minutemen–they’re targeted at cities.”

Besides two telemetries and two radars, there is a fifth system at Pillar Point. Frank Millione is in charge of the fifth system called command control. “Once a missile is launched,” he said, “it’s an object that’s not controlled, like a bullet in flight. While missiles are not externally controlled, they are internally controlled by a guidance mechanism that enables signals to be sent from Pillar Point to the missile and back.

“If something goes wrong with a missile, endangering the safety of lives, somebody must get rid of it. That’s one of the things I do. Blow missiles up.”

Frank Millione said he last blew up a missile about a year ago (1980).

Although several sites on the West Coast have the ability to blow up missiles, only Pillar Point ia allowed to do it. Two other stations act as back-up sites.

A new system recently installed (1981) at Pillar Point enables the station to move satellites. I “We can fire their engines up,” Millione told me, ” and move them from one position to another.”

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Sunday May 4: Your chance to Blast thru the waves–Xtreme Kayaking Event

Dear friends & family,

SINCE ANCIENT TIMES, COASTAL PEOPLES HAVE GATHERED BY THE SEA IN SPRINGTIME TO CELEBRATE THE PASSAGE OF THE WINTER STORMS AND ENGAGE IN CONTESTS OF SKILL & ENDURANCE. HONORING THIS TRADITION & BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND, WE WILL ONCE AGAIN CONVERGE HERE ON MIRAMAR BEACH AT HIGH NOON THIS COMING SUNDAY FOR THE TSUNAMI RANGER/REEF MADNESS ANNUAL EXTREME SEA KAYAKING RACE & FESTIVAL. FEEL FREE TO DRESS IN DASHING SEA GYPSY, PIRATE OR VIKING GARB & BRING ALONG A DRUM WITH WHICH TO URGE THE RACERS ONWARD… & OF COURSE YOUR FAVORITE GRUB & GROG TO SHARE AT THE GREAT FEAST THAT FOLLOWING THE RACE ARE WARMLY WELCOMED! A LIMITED NUMBER OF OFFICIAL RACE SHIRTS WILL BE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE, & LIVE MUSIC BY TSUNAMI RANGER JOHN LULL’S SOUTH CITY BLUES BAND & MIRAMAR BEACH’S OWN WONDERFUL VOCALIST SUSAN PATE WITH WILL ROCK THE STAGE, SETTING YOUR HEATS TO POUNDING & YOUR FEET TO DANCING. HOPE TO SEE YOU HERE!

Much love, Michael & Nani

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