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The H.F.S. Michigan
The Flagship Of The Balboa Island
Sculling And Punting Society

Who knows when the H.F.S. Michigan was dredged up from the muck of Balboa Bay,  but for many years it remained the flagship of this notorious club.

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Named the H.F.S. - Hardly Floats Sometimes - Michigan, this boat lived up to its name by surviving at least five sinkings that the club admits to, and has served its place in club history.

In 1965 , the club undertook to ease the cold war tensions by taking the Michigan out to greet Russian trawlers with drinks. Club founder Dick Shaw explained, "We wanted to show them we liked vodka too."   The U.S. Navy took exception to the club's actions and grounded the Michigan and her crew.

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In the tradition of the club's manor
of handling things, the Michigan
was secured with a piece of

In 1971 the club entered the Michigan in its only boat race,  against a lumbering old 77-ton 65-foot former ferry. And in the club's time-honored tradition, they lost. 

Over the years the Michigan has changed ownership many times with the current owner renaming it  - for some unknown reason - to the N.F.S. Michigan.

Painted like a seagoing carnival,
the Michigan can still be seen in
Balboa Bay

Words Of Wisdom

If you talk to God, they call it praying. If God talks to you they call it schizophrenia.


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Flash Back
Then & Now

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The 1000 block of West Ocean Front.  The house on the right still stands as does the house two doors to the left. The 1931 photo was taken just after the houses were built. Note, the Ocean Front boardwalk was in place at that time.

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The Balboa Inn 1930

This photo was taken the year the Balboa Inn was built. Original cost was $100,000. At that time it was called the  Hamman-Walker Building. Note, the beach came all the way to the Ocean Front boardwalk.

Important Notice

TalesOfBalboa Free Email will be discontinued on May  31, 2001.
For free email service please visit www.hotmail.com
I apologize for any inconvenience
this may cause.
Jim Fournier, Editor

A Tip Of The Hat

To Luther Crocker, for all of his help in finding many of the great old photos you see in the TalesOfBalboa

Viewer Email

I worked in Balboa for about 20 years. My 1st job was at the fun zone hamburger stand. I remember the old Fun zone arcade and the rides/shooting gallery, the old bay front hotel, Mutts below it and Arts Landing. I can remember when the ferry ramps did not have rail guards at the end of the ped ramps and if rode your bike down the ped ramp to fast you might just end up in the bay. I also remember the Brass Monkey, where I drank my 1st beer (in a bar).
David Smith

My mom, Pat Baker has been encouraging me to visit this site. It has been a real pleasure to see Balboa, it has been 13 years since I have been there. I will be sure to visit this site again.
Sandra Hicks


Love the webcams! Thanks for this neat web site! The only query that comes to mind: does anyone else remember that as recently as l978, there were squirrels in the L Street Park? Where did they all go?
Kay Brown


Great site!!! Lots of good info and links. Keep up the good work, and good luck. Regards, John
John Landstrom