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Marines and their families enjoy boat parade, courtesy of Dana Wharf Whale Watching

Sum Fun, a boat operated by Dana Wharf Whale Watch, heads out in Dana Point Harbor on Dec. 8 on the first day of the boat parade. (Photo courtesy of Dana Point Harbor)A boat is decorated for the 43rd annual Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade. (Photo courtesy of Dana Point Harbor)Dana Wharf’s Reel Fun heads out with Marines, sailors and their families during the 43rd annual Dana Point boat parade. (Photo courtesy of Dana Point Harbor)A boat is decorated for the holiday boat parade. (Photo courtesy of Dana Point Harbor)Show Caption of Expand
DANA POINT   Marines and their families were hosted for the fifth year aboard Dana Wharf Whale Watching’s Reel Fun during the kick-off for the 43rd annual Dana Point Boat Parade.
The event was coordinated by the Marine Corps League, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving and promoting the interest of the United States Marine Corps.
About 50 Marines and their families road aboard the Reel Fun as it let a parade of about 85 decorated boats through Dana Point Harbor on Friday, Dec. 8. The parade of boats was led by the Orange County Sheriff’s Harbor Patrol.
This year’s boat parade theme is “A Superhero Holiday.”
The boats sailed past Dana Wharf down to Waterman’s Restaurant and turned around, heading back past Dana Wharf and into the harbor’s inner channel and to the harbor bridge. There they turned around again and headed past Wind & Sea Restaurant and the Harbor Patrol dock, turning toward the harbor’s outer channel.
From there the boats traveled to the Ocean Institute and into East Basin.
“It’s a beautiful light show and Donna really decorates the boat,” said Pete Hammer, a Dana Point resident, who heads up the Marine Corps League. “It’s a thrill for them to be out there in the parade itself.”
The Marines, sailors and their families were served home-cooked chili and cornbread courtesy of Jim Miller’s Coffee Importers.
Donna Kalez, whose father, Don Hansen, started Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching as the harbor’s first business, said she is dedicated to making the holidays more enjoyable for Marines and their families.
Dana Wharf began the free boat rides for families of Marines about five years ago when much of the base was deployed to Afghanistan.
“We saw a need to support the families while either mom or dad was deployed,” Kales said. “It’s a tradition now. They give so much to our country.”
The first boat parade was held in 1974 and Dana Wharf’s boat, the Sea Horse, led a group of five others, Kalez said, recalling her father’s stories.
Since then a Dana Wharf boat has always led the parade, Kales said.
On Friday, Dec. 15 the Reel Fun will take out another group of Marines and their families. This group is sponsored by the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group and will include about 50 Marines and sailors and their families.
Source: Oc Register

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