S.S. Point Reyes Nears Her End

Photo by Matt Fraser

The fishing boat, the S.S. Point Reyes, was built in 1944 as a World War II launch boat. The vessel was later acquired and operated by Merrel Rocca Sr. on Tomales Bay in the 1960s and 1970s. Finally, it was purchased and brought to Inverness as a fixer-upper (a task that was never completed) where it eventually washed up on a sandbar and became a Marin Instagram icon. Local photographer Matt Fraser (@mattfraser9) has a deep connection to the site. In 2016, “clout chasers” attempted a photography stunt involving spinning ignited steel wool that caused the ship to burst into flames, hastening its demise. “It speeded up the deterioration process significantly through a blatant disregard for a local community icon,” Fraser says. But he retains a love for the vessel. “It’s a subject I’ve been visiting since long before I got my first camera, and one that played a huge role in wanting to take professional photographs,” he says. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have shared the shipwreck with so many and to photograph it year after year, including as it sits at this very moment. Its days are numbered.” Or as the sign along the path leading to it used to say, “leave only footprints.”