A Trip to the Islands

Author Steven T. Callan at the helm of the Fish and Game patrol boat Marlin, 1959.

A Trip to the Islands

Author Steven T. Callan at the helm of the Fish and Game patrol boat Marlin, 1959.

Taking my turn at the helm of the Fish and Game patrol boat Marlin, 1959. Photo by Wallace Callan

I first experienced California’s Channel Islands in 1959, as an excited eleven-year-old passenger aboard the Fish and Game patrol boat Marlin. My father, California Fish and Game Warden Wally Callan, was the Marlin’s rookie boarding officer, responsible for patrolling California’s offshore waters from the Mexican border to Point Conception.

It was 6:00 a.m. in mid-October when we parked at the Seal Beach Marina and I followed my father down the dock to the Department of Fish and Game boat slip. After almost a year of begging to come along, I was finally getting my chance. My head was filled with stories that my father had told about seeing whales and dolphins on his patrols to the Channel Islands. Now it was my turn, and I couldn’t wait. We were about to set out on a three-day, two-night ocean adventure I would remember for the rest of my life.

“Where’s the boat?” I asked, rushing ahead.

“Slow down and wait for me,” said my father. “Be careful you don’t trip and drop your suitcase in the water.”

The wooden dock squeaked and groaned under our feet as we passed row after row of incredibly expensive yachts.

“Do these boats all belong to movie stars?” I asked. “Look at the size of that one!”

“Quiet down. Ours is the big gray one up there on the right.”

“Wow, is that a PT boat?”

Still painted Navy gray, the Marlin was a sixty-five-foot converted U.S. Navy LST boat, with an engine capable of accelerating from eight to forty knots in a matter of seconds. Would-be violators had little chance of outrunning this old girl. . . .

This is an excerpt from my sequel, THE GAME WARDEN’S SON, published by Coffeetown Press. THE GAME WARDEN’S SON is currently available on Amazon

Steven Callan
  • Annie Bauer

    Steve, your newest book is just fantastic! Once again I intended to read it slowly to spread out the enjoyment but that didn’t work. I ripped it out of the package and before I knew it I had read about 60 pages. Brought back many memories for me of growing up in the San Joaquin valley learning to love and respect nature, with many lessons taught by my own father. I finished the book the following day needless to say and would recommend it highly.

    February 24, 2016 at 10:41 am

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