Zaca Cruises into San Diego

14 Aug

August 13, 1946

After Setting Sail Out of Balboa:

The Zaca cruised into San Diego to load dredges, seines, dipnets, lobster traps, gill nets, microscope, aquariums, sorting trays, jars, preservatives, and smaller paraphenalia, collected by prominent Scripps Institute Professor Carl Hubbs for the scientific explorations and studies on what later became known as “Cruise of the Zaca” Errol’s arrival was met with “a flurry of reporters” and a “feminine hubbub on the dock as girls from nearby Navy offices came to beg autographs from their hero.” The athletic actor was limping that day, having somehow sprained his ankle aboard ship on the way down from Long Beach. Errol signed autographs with a flourish while Nora watched with amusement and Professor Flynn remarked on “the depths to which humanity will fall.”

The reporters had already had a field day, by discovering from Nora that she was expecting a child and so would require a doctor on the voyage.

Zaca was manned by a crew of ten and also carried an artist (John Decker), three above-and below-water photographers, Flynn’s manager, Errol and Nora, and Flynn’s father.

Thanks to Betty Shor for her superb account of the Zaca’s scientific expedition from which the above info has been extracted!

These are the downton docks in San Diego, the foot of Broadway, circa the time of Zaca’s arrival. Lane Field (Home of the PCL Padres) is on the right and the Pacific Fleet’s Navy Supply Center (where the flock of Navy girls likely came from) is on the left.

— Tim


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  1. Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

    August 14, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Did she write a book? Or account? I would love to read a day by day of the trip

  2. Karl

    August 14, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    Hi Selene-

    Possibly this as a source:

    She published a definitive history of the institution in 1978, Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Probing the Oceans 1936 to 1976.[17] In the process of collecting material for this book, she also established the archives for the entire Scripps institution.[2]

    Elizabeth Noble Shor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Probing the Oceans, 1936-1976, Tofua Press (San Diego), 1978, 502 pp. ISBN 978-0914488170

    Check out the source for all this- her Wicki bio:…

    • Selene Hutchison-Zuffi

      August 14, 2020 at 6:35 pm

      Thank you!