OPEN DAILY • 78 Old Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 372-7245
Dan Porter Dan fell in love with the ocean the moment he first saw it, watching surf roll in on a beach in Oregon, a love strong enough to pull him away from clear lakes and streams in his native Colorado where he spent his formative years with fly rod in hand trying to fool trout. He moved to California after college, and immediately began to look for ways to get on the water. He questioned whether he had the instincts of a craftsman required to build a boat, and so picked the simplest design he could find, a plywood dory. The experience proved that, as a boatbuilder, he was even more incompetent than he thought, and his dory was unique in all the wrong ways. Despite all of that, Dan launched it, and spent many hours rowing with migrating gray whales in the Santa Barbara Channel. In the late 1970s he took a basic sailing class through the Coast Guard Auxiliary taught by Harry Davis, a seasoned mariner and boatbuilder. About the same time, he bought a used plywood skiff to tow behind his VW Bug and joined the rest of the Santa Barbara sailors praying for wind- prayers often not answered. In the early 1980s he went to work at sea as an ordinary seaman, the lowest rank on the boat, and started working his way up, accumulating time and sitting for Coast Guard tests, first for Able Seaman, then 100-ton operator. He took his first captain’s job in December 1984 running a triple-screw 100-foot crew boat out of Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, Mexico. By the late 1980s Dan held a Master, 1,000-tons, freight and towing license. In the late 1980s Dan worked running tugs in San Francisco and taught sailing on the side. When the company where he worked shut down harbor services in San Francisco, he went to Venezuela to run tugs in the Orinoco Delta. After six months he became the port captain for the next 3 years until the operation closed-down after the election of Hugo Chavez. Following Venezuela, he took assignments in the Arctic and in Trinidad, before moving into salvage and hurricane recovery operations. He had the dubious distinction of running from Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico aboard a Crowley salvage barge and coming back to his mooring just in time to make tow again and run from Hurricane Rita. His tendency to attract storms earned him the nickname Hurricane Dan. Given that, he offered to go to New Zealand for the season and lure the hurricanes south. Alas, nobody took up the magnanimous offer.