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California’s Gold: Flying Fish

Airs Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Aerial view of Avalon Bay, Catalina Island, California

Catalina has been famous for many things over the years, glass bottom boats, buffalo and the Catalina Casino to name a few. But one of the strangest and most popular attractions has been the Flying Fish Boat Trip which has been transporting visitors on nighttime journeys to watch Catalina's flying fish since the turn of the century.

In 1924 William Wrigley decided to build a boat just for flying fish tours. The Blanche W. is a 64-foot long open-deck wooden boat named after Wrigley's granddaughter Blanche. The boat is still outfitted with its original pew-style mahogany benches, which seats 98 passengers. The boat cruises the islands coastline at night, attracting flying fish with two 40-million candle-power W.W.I spotlights. The spectacle of the fish leaping out of the water has been compared to giant silver dragonflies soaring over the ocean.

Huell Howser travels back to Catalina for a very special 75th anniversary cruise. William Wrigley's granddaughter Blanche (for whom the boat was named) comes back to the island and shares some wonderful stories with Huell. We'll even take a close up look at a flying fish and enjoy a wonderful night on the sea.

Video

Preview: California's Gold: Flying Fish

Video

Santa Catalina Island Company's Flying Fish Tour