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Alaska Beat

California restaurant unveils Alaska crab boat simulation

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published January 30, 2012

According to The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun, Hal Griffith, owner of the Rancho Mirage restaurant and bar, The Crab Pot, unveiled a complex new Alaska-themed attraction on Thursday to recognize the people who catch the seafood he serves: A short but accurate simulation of a Southeast commercial crabbing voyage.

Diners can enter a boat cabin complete with charts, instruments, lifesaving equipment, and a salty, robotic skipper, "Captain Jack," clad in plaid flannel. Synchronized display screens show a wide view in front of the wheel, and a mechanical floor simulates wave action as the boat appears to leave the port of Petersburg. The mechanical floor also allows visitors to feel a jolt when Captain Jack "runs over a log."

While delivering a script of "wry commentary" on a variety of topics, including the history of Petersburg, Captain Jack takes guests on a 40-minute trip to catch crab.

Griffith and his son Troy actually went to Petersburg to capture video for use in the exhibit. The two set up seven cameras on a boat to bring home the full effect, and they worked with the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce to get the details right.

Griffith is considering adding other trips to Captain Jack's itinerary, like salmon fishing and whale-watching.

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