Shooting And Missing…Sharks And Swimmers…Fortunately

According to an account in The Catalina Island newspaper on June 16th 1955, Captain Tinch Moricich escorted Amy Hiland of Long Beach, California on a 19 hour 9 minute attempt of the Catalina Channel.

Captain Moricich, ever vigilant and cognizant of Hiland’s preparation, made several trips up to five miles out from Emerald Bay in Santa Catalina Island. He explained to The Catalina Islander, “I refused to have her start because of the condition of the water Saturday night.”

He rowed the entire attempt alongside Hiland, an eventful swim that started at 1 am. The newspaper reported, “Sharks were prevalent during the swim and the accompanying group shot at about 25 during the crossing.” In those years, protection against sharks reportedly came in the form guns.

But the bullets missed the sharks…and the swimmer who was left alone by the apex predators. Although Captain Moricich finally pulled Hiland out of the water, she came back in September to complete a 20 hour 7 minute crossing.

The Los Angeles Times continued to report on the passion that Captain Moricich showered upon all those who attempted the Catalina Channel crossing in the 1950s.

On January 25th 1959, the Times reported, “In the murky pre-dawn darkness of an October morn, a young girl stumbled through the icy surf at Emerald Bay, Catalina Island, and wearily pulled herself up on the deserted beach. She was cut, bruised, bleeding and numb with cold. Through the penetrating fog she made out four figures on the beach. Two were press photographers. One was Councilman Pat Ahern from Long Beach. The fourth was Captain Tinch Moricich of Avalon. There was nothing else save the silent lapping of the waves. That was Greta Anderson’s welcome…

Alas, shortly thereafter in February 1959, the newspaper reported that “Captain Tinch Moricich of Avalon, who guided so many channel swimmers, died recently.”

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones