Well, folks, here's the "whole new look" I promised. Enjoy this photo because it's the best of the bunch.
She'd spent decades in white, took passengers in both Long Beach and Newport, and was officially decommissioned.
Or so I thought.
One day I was driving through an industrial area of Costa Mesa when I saw a rather familiar three-fingered ferro peeking over a fence.
I knew it was one of the Gondola Works boats - that ferro design is very specific to Joe Munday and the boats he built.
As I walked into the boatyard and saw the hull, I knew she was one of the thirty-footers, like we'd operated years earlier. The Gondola Works boats were produced in a number of varying lengths, but the thirty foot models were most common in Newport.
The more I examined and photographed this mysterious boat, the more certain I became that she was the Marco Polo.
Someone had bought her, done some very rough patchwork, painted her black, and was attempting to rent her out as a movie prop.
Originally the gondola had a steel canopy frame with blue canvas overlay. The new owner appears to have cut out half of the frame, screwed sheet metal onto the frame, and painted the whole thing black.
To my knowledge, the boat hasn't shown up on any screen - movie or TV, and I hope she doesn't, simply because I hope they don't try to put the boat in the water.
Why did I say that?
Because here's what the bottom looks like:
Yep, a whole new look!