MARELLIA, Pete

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MARELIJA, Dominic 'Torqua Pete' (c. 1860-1933), one of Avalon's early boat operators. He operated the vessel Torqua. Torqua Pete died at age 73. He is buried in Avalon cemetery.

In his own words:

I came to [Santa Catalina] Island from Santa Barbara on the Santa Cruz Island schooner Keywee. Santa Barbara was then the metropolis of the southwest. In those days we used to regard Santa Cruz Island as we now regard Santa Catalina Island and Los Angeles. If the government had built the breakwater at Santa Barbara instead of San Pedro the history of Southern California would have been different.
The schooner Keywee was 85 feet long and it made regular trips between Santa Barbara and Prisoners' Harbor at Santa Cruz Island. It was on one of these trips around the Channel Islands that I had my first view of Avalon. This was about 1882. When Shatto bought the Island, I was operating a small fishing launch named Jupiter. I used to come from Santa Barbara to Avalon, which we than called 'Timm's Landing,' and often would spend several weeks in Avalon Bay during the spring, drying fish on the beach.
In those days we used to catch barracuda, yellowtail, sardines, clean them, salt them, dry them, and then pack them in barrels weighing 150 to 200 pounds. We would take them to Santa Barbara and sell them to the deep-sea ships at from $10 to $12 a barrel. I remember one spring when we brought from Santa Cruz Island about twenty 50-gallon barrels of 'Dago Red', and we didn't leave the Island until all the wine was consumed.
Santa Barbara was then the chief port of call for all coast vessels in Southern California. It was thought in those days that Santa Cruz Island would be the pleasure resort of the Pacific Coast, but the owners of that island used to prohibit people from landing on its shores as they do now. Santa Cruz in those days was noted for its good wine, cattle and sheep.
Occasionally trips would be made on board the schooner Keywee around the Channel Islands, including Catalina, and it was quite an honor to have completed such a hazardous trip in those days. (Windle's History of Catalina Island)