Santa Cruz Island Book review

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Santa Cruz Island Book review

Postby Westbury » January 14th, 2014, 9:47 pm

I'm always on the lookout for any books regarding the Channel Islands to add to my collection.
Last year I picked up a book written by John Gherini. He was the grandson of Ambrose Gherini, who use to own the east end of Santa Cruz Island.
The name of the book is "Santa Cruz Island, A History of Conflict and Diversity".
The author basically outlines the Islands historical legal issues and problems in chronological order while telling it in story form.
Fascinating read if you have any interest in our local Islands.

Recently, I picked up another book off Amazon titled: "Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island. The Rise and Fall of a California Dynasty".
This may be my all time favorite "Channel Island book".
Justinian Caire and family owned Santa Cruz Island for approximately 50 years. A successful San Francisco businessman, originally bought the Island with 10 other people but eventually bought them all out so that he was the sole owner.
They eventually had to sell the Island due to a 20 year lawsuit that they lost brought on by 2 daughters of Justinian Caire and their husbands. The daughters eventually won the lawsuit but had to give up their portion of the Island to their attorney, Ambrose Gherini.
Great read on the history of the Island, written by the Great grandson of Justinian Caire.

It was interesting to see the different family perspectives. The Caire family hated Ambrose Gherini who was suing them. Gherini was actually related to the Caire family thru marriage.
Anyways, intriguing reads, with different perspectives.
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Book review

Postby 'o cino » January 15th, 2014, 6:56 am

Way back, Huell Howser did a great show on Santa Cruz Island, as one of the California Gold episodes.
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Book review

Postby Alex Ray » January 15th, 2014, 11:14 pm

I read a good book a year or so ago about the island. I picked it up at Minnie's in Newport for a buck while rummaging through some things. It detailed the whole history of shepherding on the island. I don't remember that much about, just that it was really neat to read about all the different areas of the island that I'd anchored offshore of. Now I've got to go find it and read it again to refresh my memory on it.
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Book review

Postby Balluga » January 29th, 2014, 1:03 am

I collect books also..one of my favorites is a 1984 biography, "Once Upon an Island", by Michel Petersen; pub. Santa Cruz Island Foundation; 1998...Michel was a young girl when she ended up working on Santa Cruz island and married the much older ranch manager William Peterson. They managed the island for years, until Bill was injured in an airplane crash and they moved back ashore. The Santa Cruz Island Foundation has published at least 10 books/papers on the Channel Islands that I am aware of. I have the 1st Ed. paperback..If you are in Long Beach one day, stop by and I will give it to you.
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Book review

Postby Westbury » January 29th, 2014, 1:50 pm

Michele Peterson is still around and is a local Ventura artist.
If you've ever been to the Ventura Harbor, all of the tile work was done by her.
She did some awesome Yellowtail tile that is a focal point of the Harbor.
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Book review

Postby Balluga » January 29th, 2014, 6:58 pm

Did you say, "TILE"? Now, you are talking!...I have 102 pieces in my collection...mostly Catalina reproduction tiles but a couple of 1929 Catalina Pottery originals, including a 1930 cobalt blue plate with no damage, made at the factory on the island...The plate took me 5 years to find at an estate sale ($2)!.....when 97 pieces came up for auction, I coached my 12 year old (now 19) daughter on how to bid (and, stare down the other bidders)...the pro tile guys thought she was so cute bidding against them, they let her win and get the tiles for $1 each.... They sell on the island for $15 to $25 apiece...she still wants a bigger cut of the action $$, since all she received was a giant El Pollo ice cream cone.....
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Book review

Postby Namor » January 29th, 2014, 7:15 pm

Thanks for the heads up on the book, it sounds interesting. One of my favorites in the genre of our local islands is Shipwrecks Smugglers and Maritime Mysteries by Wheeler and Kallman.

It in addition to the topics in the title, it has chapters on diving accidents as well. My favorite part of the book is the story of Gustavo Pinzon who in 1985, after being swept overboard at Anacapa swam the chanell at night, to reach the mainland. As he aproached her saw the lights on shore that his cousins had fired up after reaching it in their boat and he made it to shore

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Re: Santa Cruz Island Book review

Postby Westbury » January 29th, 2014, 9:25 pm

Namor wrote:Thanks for the heads up on the book, it sounds interesting. One of my favorites in the genre of our local islands is Shipwrecks Smugglers and Maritime Mysteries by Wheeler and Kallman.

It in addition to the topics in the title, it has chapters on diving accidents as well. My favorite part of the book is the story of Gustavo Pinzon who in 1985, after being swept overboard at Anacapa swam the chanell at night, to reach the mainland. As he aproached her saw the lights on shore that his cousins had fired up after reaching it in their boat and he made it to shore

Jeremy


That's a GREAT book Jeremy. One of my favorites too.
I've had that book for a very long time, and still find myself reading it on occasion.
It's incredible the amount of crazy stuff that has happened in the Channel and at the Islands.
A few examples from the book: The great simoon of 1859 in Santa Barbara.
June 17, 1859 around noon, a hot blast of air rolled into the SB area ramping up to 133 degrees F.
For 3 hours the temps held at 130 F. Santa Barbara held the title of highest temp ever recorded in North America till 1935.

Did you know in 1942, a Japanese sub launched a few shells onto land from right offshore the SB coast?

The one story from that book that has always stuck in my mind was the one where the 2 young guys were out diving at the Islands in their 17 ft Whaler and couldn't get the boat started. They called the Coast Guard for a tow in. The 2 fellows stayed in their boat and put on life preservers and their wetsuits. The CG tossed them a rope, had them tie off and the young guys settled in for the approximate 3 hour tow in. when the CG cutter made the turn into CI Harbor, they noticed the boat was flipped over.
Both guys drowned. They were found 7 miles from the harbor with the life preservers and tops of their wetsuits ripped off from trying to hang on.

Anyways, great book. Thanks for mentioning that Jeremy
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Re: Santa Cruz Island Book review

Postby JoeZ » May 6th, 2014, 7:56 pm

I enjoyed "Diary of a Sea Captains Wife" - I have picked up the Santa Cruz Island book and met the last family member to have a house on the Island a few months back. Nice people, still feel that i would have fought like crazy to keep the Island. If the nature conservancy would allow us to camp on the Island I'd be a little more cordial but as it is we can only see 26% of the Island.
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