A Naturalist's Experiences with Porpoises and Whales
by Kenneth S. Norris
Published by John Murray, Albermarle Street, London, 1976
Kenneth S. Norris received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his Ph.D from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He was curator of Marineland of the Pacific (1953-1960); Director of the Oceanic Institute, Hawaii (1969-1971); and professor of natural history at UCLA (1969-1972). Dr. Norris has written nearly a hundred articles for scientific publications and magazines, and was editor of Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises, a result of the First International Symposium of Cetacean Research.
Ken Norris in his SSSM: Semisubmersible Seasick Machine
Excerpts from Chapter Two: Marineland of the Pacific
Marineland of the Pacific was planned as the world's second oceanarium, and of course, it would be bigger and better than the first one [in St. Augustine, Florida]. It would have two huge three-story tanks, holding in aggregate more than a million and a half gallons of sea water, one for fish and one for porpoises, plus many smaller exhibits. I would have a staff of about twenty people to catch, train, and run the shows; collectors, laboratory technicians, announcers, divers, aquarists, and artists.
The next step, and one of crucial importance, was to hire a fisherman as collector. Word was sent out along the Los Angeles waterfront, to ship chandleries, fish markets, and boat works that a fisherman was needed to stock the new oceanarium. Many suggestions were offered, but one name kept turning up: "Frank Brocato," usually with the added comment, "if you can get him." I have never known a more remarkable man. He is one of the rare people who could have been a success at virtually any occupation that opportunity allowed.
Frank Brocato, Skipper of the Geronimo
The Geronimo, Marineland's original collecting vessel
Not long afterward, our business manager signed a contract that gave Marineland of the Pacific Frank's trim thirty-seven foot, gill net boat, Geronimo, and Frank's services for a year. Time was terrifyingly short, and all our problems lay before us. Here it was January, 1954 (the buildings were well on their way to completion), and the prospective opening day for Marineland of the Pacific was May 15. Not only did we have to gather the fishes and animals, but we had to beg, borrow or build places to hold them. As it turned out, we did all three, with variations.