The Last Mayors of the Salton Sea | Local Legends | Atlas Obscura


(waves crashing on beach) – Quarter to seven, I’d
open up every morning. – And they’d be sitting out there on the picnic benches,
waiting for him to open at seven in the morning. – Yeah, Bombay used to be quite
a bit bigger than it is now. Oh yeah, there used to be five
bars in this little old town. – They were a real tight-knit community that worked together and got along well. Of course, now, I think Wendell and I are
about the only ones left. It’s kind of the last of the Mohicans. – [Radio announcer] Here is
truly a miracle in the desert. A whole new outlet for the
crowded millions in big cities. A Palm Springs with water. Here is where you can find
the good life in the sun. Today, the Salton Riviera,
beside the blue Salton Sea, is the place for you to
take charge of your future. At the Salton Riviera, there
is never a let-up in progress. This unusual city has a date with destiny. – It was a good vacation place, and you’d just drive out for weekends. – Yeah, kind of like a weekend resort. That’s the way we started out. That’s how we got this place. Something really had to
be important in Riverside in order not to come down here. – I couldn’t work on Saturdays or Sundays, so we’d always come out
here Friday afternoon. – When we first came
down here, it was busy. We’d run from bar to bar and we’d go jump in our dune buggies and go out with our friends in the desert. They’d have dances. They’d have auctions. They’d have benefits. They always had something going. – Everybody was busy, especially
on a holiday or weekend. Come out fishing or water skiing. Matter of fact, our two boys learned how
to water ski out here. – Well, I had a friend that
worked up there at the Ski Inn. And then, the owners that owned it then were going to sell it to her. Well, she didn’t have the money, so we put the money up
so that she could buy it. – But she drank a fifth of gin a day, and he drank a case of
Budweiser every day… – And, of course that didn’t work out. So we take it over ourselves, and then we had it on
our own for 25 years. – You know…we’ve had birthdays, we’ve had weddings, we’ve had… …memorials, all that stuff up there. – Yeah, we’re the only two that’s left out of that whole bunch. – You know that little fin that hangs down by the back tail… tail of the fish…the fin… sometimes the in the aquarium you see food coming out? Okay, that’s an asshole. So we give everybody a scalpel and you have to…you gotta… (motions) real fast and drop it in the strainer. If you go slow, the fish
is going to bleed to death, and you’re going to have to eat him. So you want to go real fast
and drop it in the strainer. You get a whole lot of
assholes gathered up, you take them and you wash
them out really, really good, you take the ones that you’ve de-assholed, and you take them back to the sea, and they’ll grow new assholes. And then you can re-harvest them. And we put the labels on
them and we sell them. – Well, being here for 25
years, we’ve seen a lot. And we’ve met a lot of wonderful people. Wendell had a birthday last year. The kids in town here got together and celebrated his birthday. It was standing-room only, which he was overwhelmed by…the
hospitality and everything. – Yeah, I didn’t know they
thought that much of me. (laughs jovially) – If you ring the bell, you buy the house. A drink. You want to ring the bell? – [Speaker] Nope. No. (group laughs)

20 thoughts on “The Last Mayors of the Salton Sea | Local Legends | Atlas Obscura

  1. Would have still been OK had they (corporations) not dumped waste on the water. It'll probably still shrink after the pipeline was fixed but not as gross.

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  3. So….. anyone know what fish assholes taste like ?
    Also how do you prepare a fish asshole ?
    And the special tonight is chitlins with a side of fish assholes.
    All you can eat

  4. I’m curious to find out what happened to the place… Why is it now a ghost town? And also, what’s the story with the money on the walls and the ceiling?

  5. It was created by accident to begin with and never really belonged there. However, it is still sad to see what happened to it. What I remember most about it is the stench and the salt encrusted bodies of dead fish and water birds that were absolutely everywhere.

  6. Always been fascinated by the Salton Sea. My dad remembers stopping there with his family during its popularity. Incredible place with a strange story.

  7. Bombay Beach is a great place to visit. Some art from the 3-day March 2019 Biennale is still there, and new art is constantly going up. However, this video is a bit out of date already. The Ski Inn changed ownership in mid-2019. The new owner is freshened up the place, the food has improved, and they now bring in bands weekly. The new owner of the bar is also now the town's only certified EMT and as I understand it, has taken charge of the volunteer fire department's single fire truck. Still, this is a great video of the previous owners, and a look at the history of the Salton Sea and Bombay Beach.

  8. When my dad was stationed at George AFB near Victorville, this was one of his favorite places to fish. That was in the early 60s. So I’m guessing that some of these folks were there then.

  9. I’ve always been curious about the Salton Sea, this was great to see ( no pun intended) the focus on real people. The big question I have is who eats fish a..holes, how and why, and how many go in a can and, who buys it and who sells it, and what kind of fish and again why? BTW do not google fish a..holes it’s a dark path. Great video, other great links I’m subscribing.

  10. Debi Taylor
    Bombay Beach is not a ghost town at all! It is only less than a mile square, but has about 300 residents. It never was much bigger unless you count the mobile homes and trailers that they used to allow on the beachfront. There was a series of storms that flooded the beach area repeatedly, so the beach area is closed off to vehicles by a seawall now. The area is being reshaped for the future now that the Sea will lose about 40% of it's water inflow. The water is being redirected to San Diego to allow more coastal development. Still the residents love the area, feel privileged to live there, and growth is expected.

  11. this place has been the best dirt bike riding in the last 50 years and its great to see you uncle wendall and aunt jane looking good

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