President’s Messsage February/March 2016

Barbara Profile ShotThe January Annual Meeting and dinner was a success thanks to our Board of Directors who organized the meeting.  More than 70 members and guests shared a delicious variety of potluck dishes and beverages.  The meeting included brief annual reports and the installation of officers by past DPHS President and current City Councilman Carlos N. Olvera. We were pleased to welcome Lara Anderson, past Mayor of Dana Point, and Andrew Brunhart, South Coast Water District General Manager, both of whom spoke on behalf of our 2016 Pat Plepler Citizenship Award honoree Wayne Rayfield, SCWD President and former Dana Point Mayor.  Additional guests included SCWD Directors Richard Dietmeier and Rick Erkeneff; Brad Fowler, Director, City of Dana Point Public Works, and Mits Arayama, owner of our local Minuteman Press, who is also incoming Dana Point Chamber of Commerce President.

Over 70 people attended the annual meeting and potluck dinner.
Over 70 people attended the annual meeting and potluck dinner.

A special thank you must go to Nancy Jenkins, Arts & Cultural Commissioner and DPHS Director, who organized the program in Wayne’s honor.  Terry Walsh, past DPHS President and current board member, was congratulated on being named the 2015 Dana Point Chamber’s Citizen of the Year.

barbara and ray
Barbara Johannes presents Wayne Rayfied with the Pat Plepler Award proclamation.

    In March, we celebrate the Festival of Whales when we participate in the city’s parade, share history at our booth in the harbor and lead historic walking tours.  Celebrating the “magical migration” and study of whales today is in sharp contrast to the time when whaling ships hunted whales for oil in the 19th century.  An impressive scrimshaw, woodworking and woven-hemp exhibit is currently being installed in our museum and will be the featured topic of our February 24 meeting in the City Council Chambers.  Exhibit Chair Kirsten Reynolds and Program Chair Bob Minty are curating examples of Bob’s impressive collection.  I am learning a great deal about the Quaker beginnings of the whaling trade in the areas of Nantucket Island and New Bedford, Massachusetts.   We know that Richard Henry Dana Jr.’s journal, Two Years Before the Mast, (1840), was immediately popular and created a ready audience for the genre of sea stories that followed.  Among those books is Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, a novel inspired by the 1820 sinking of the whaling ship Essex by a sperm whale in the South Pacific.  Just as Dana spent two years as a merchant seaman, Melville spent 18 months aboard a whaler and later served on a frigate in the U.S. Navy.  In his novel White-Jacket, Melville wrote, “But if you want the best idea of Cape Horn, get my friend Dana’s unmatchable Two Years Before the Mast. But you can read, and so you must have read it. His chapters describing Cape Horn must have been written with an icicle.”

   Taking Melville’s suggestion to heart, YOU can read, and so we invite you to schedule your time to read as part of the Sixth Annual Book Reading of Dana’s classic journal on the weekend of April 1-3, 2016, at the Ocean Institute Maritime Barn. We have come full circle. Just as Melville was inspired by Dana, our Society was inspired by the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s marathon reading of Moby Dick, which prompted the Dana Point Historical Society to inaugurate the community reading of Two Years Before the Mast.  To really appreciate and be a part of Dana Point, please read, listen or volunteer as others read our namesake’s classic book.  Call 949-899-0907 or email to become part of our history.

                                                                   Barbara Force Johannes

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