Little K

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Little K ( -1965), 28-foot cabin cruiser fishing vessel found beached on Santa Cruz Island on December 6, 1965. Her running lights were on and the automatic pilot was operating at the time. A small dog was the only one aboard. The boat's owner, Frank Matz was never found.



In the News~

[1965]“... Frank Matz had been Uncle Barney's pickup boat operator throughout my tenure in the abalone business. He was originally a lobster fisherman although he didn't care much for pulling traps. Finally he got to the point where his debts forced him to either get a job on the beach or in some other aspect of fishing. Like all fishermen he despised the beach and started acting as a pickup boat for Dutch Pierce and Uncle Barney. A pickup boat is just that. It picks up fuel, groceries and other supplies and takes them out to the fleet where it then picks up the load of abalones. Frank got fifty cents a dozen for the red abalones and twenty five cents a dozen for the other varieties. On a good trip he could make two hundred dollars. On a bad day he had to pay all of his expenses. When Frank first started he had a deck hand to do the unloading and to split the watches during the long runs between the islands. After one expensive breakdown, he owed Uncle Barney so much that he began to make the runs by himself. The diver’s didn’t help with his case since they would frequently call for supplies when there weren't enough abalones to pay for the run. After he fired the deck hand he asked for and received a minimum guarantee. Pick up boats are just regular fish boats with large bins to separate the different loads. They are generally owned by the processors and operated by old rummies. Frank owned his own boat and worked at the whole operation in a very businesslike manner. He used to make special trips for us when Susan was on the boat for disposable diapers for Thor. He was never too busy to make the extra trip to bring out the little niceties that make the abalone fisherman's life bearable. After the breakdown and with the new guarantee, Frank had a chance to get out of the hole by the end of the season. All of the boats were out at San Nicholas [sic] Island and Frank was making the seventy mile run every other day. The strain was beginning to tell on him. He would set his auto pilot soon after leaving Santa Barbara harbor and try to catch a few hours’ sleep. When he would wake up and correct his course and try to get some more sleep, hoping the outer channel would not become too nasty. Usually the trip would take about twelve hours. When he reached San Nick, he would unload the provisions onto the abalone boats while the divers and crews were unloading their catch on to the Little Kay. After the transfer he would turn around and start back to the harbor where he would have to obtain the provisions for the fleet before he could get any more sleep. By the time he was through there was little time for any relaxation. He made this murderous run for about a week, probably sleeping less than twenty hours in that time and working all the rest. One day, two days after Frank had departed from San Nicholas [sic] one of the boats called in and asked where he was. The Coast Guard was called and a search initiated. Little Kay was found washed up on San Pedro Point. There was no sign of Frank. He had apparently fallen overboard somewhere along the way. There was no way to tell where he had been lost. The only time he ever went near the rail was to take a piss and that was probably how he got his.” (Online Autobiography of David A. Olsen Never Piss Over the Rail When the Autopilot's On, www.davidaolsen.net)