For a seaside picnic, Seacliff State Beach in Aptos is the perfect spot, where barbecue grills and shaded tables line a long stretch of sand. Celebrating its Centennial Birthday in 2019, the S.S. Palo Alto – also known as the “Cement Ship” is docked at the state beach, at the end of the Seacliff Pier. Built as a tanker in 1919 during World War I due to a steel shortage, the war ended upon its completion. So this experimental concrete ship made its maiden voyage when it was towed from the Port of Oakland to Seacliff in 1939. First used as a recreational draw hosting dances and an onboard casino, the ship fell into neglect when the Great Depression forced it to shutter. Today, the “Cement Ship” elegantly leans to its starboard side as a result of recent winter storms and now serves an important role as an artificial reef for marine life. A celebration is planned for June 1 – 2, 2019 at the vessel.
October 17, 2018