homepage logo

F/V Apache to set sail on last voyage; Resting spot Jamaica

By Staff | May 27, 2008

For decades, the Apache shrimp boat has served as a landmark for those entering Matlacha. Docked behind Andy’s Seafood Market at the base of the Matlacha bridge, the Apache will soon journey to far off Jamaica for permanent residence.

The F/V Apache was recently purchased by Monica Dunkley and Peter N. Wright.

“The owner, Charles Van Alsberg, has finally, even though reluctantly, decided to sell his baby. Our plan is to sail the Apache to Kingston, Jamaica,” said Dunkley. “Although the Apache will be departing, it will not be forgotten and will move on to benefit the tropical isle of Jamaica.”

The Apache will set sail with a crew of three, including engineer Harold Samuell and second operator and owner Wright. At this time, the owners are still looking for a captain to man the helm.

“If anyone would be interested in helping us get the boat to Jamaica, we hope they will give us a call,” said Dunkley.

Dunkley or Wright can be reached at 209-0362. Dunkley said they hope to be under way no later than Sunday and the trip should take three to four days depending on weather conditions.

According to Dunkley, the Apache is a 45-year-old wooden shrimp boat with a long history of fame and recognition. In addition to having served as the subject for hundreds of photographs and paintings, the Apache, at one time, was a movie star.

“The Apache has had a rather long, colorful past. She was built in 1961 and was once stolen along with the Seminole Trader, which is owned by Capt. David Lakes. In addition, along with the Seminole Trader and the Gasparilla, the Apache also was in the movie ‘Out of Time’ staring Denzel Washington,” said Dunkley. “The shrimp boat also served as the training ground for the Seminole Trader with Capt. Lakes and for the shrimp boat Captain C.J. with Capt. Mike at the helm.”

According to Dunkley, Van Alsberg has asked that his best wishes and thanks go out to the community which has supported him throughout the years as a shrimper on the island. He also would like the Pine Island community to be aware that he is thankful for the friendship and support over the years to his daughter, Michelle, and his dog, Bella, and he will continue to be an active resident in the community.

Dunkley said the Apache will no longer be used for shrimping but, along with her and Wright, will be retiring.

“We decided to rest our bones at home in Jamaica. We are both from the island and moved here in 1959 and now we plan to retire there,” said Dunkley.

The Apache will retire all of its shrimping equipment and undergo remodeling to serve as a house boat, which will become home to Dunkley and Wright on their arrival to Jamaica.

Dunkley seems to adhere to the old wives’ tale, as she believes that it is bad luck for a woman to be aboard a ship under way, and she will be making her way to Jamaica by airliner.

“I will fly down and meet them there. We agreed that it would be better for me to travel by air as it would be uncomfortable for a woman to be aboard ship with three crew men,” said Dunkley. “We are excited about getting started and finally settling down in our new home aboard the Apache.”