“Captain Zippo” of the MV Madaket

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(AUDIO) Captain Zippo is Holding Up

It’s been around a decade since Libby Tonning left her New Mexico home to venture west to Humboldt State University to major in marine fisheries. She ultimately obtained her degree, but it was her unwavering desire to work on boats in Humboldt Bay that led her to the role she enjoys now.

“I went down to the marina here at Woodley Island and just kind of hung out on the docks bugging random fishermen, asking for work,” Tonning told the Outpost. “I got laughed at a lot.”

While sheltering in place, Tonning has been working on her drawing skills. She provided LoCO with this self portrait.

On this week’s episode of Humboldt Holding Up, LoCO’s good enough podcast, we trace the story of how Tonning earned the attention of ubiquitous local mariner Leroy Zerlang — who would go on to bestow her with her more well-known moniker, “Captain Zippo” — to obtaining her captain’s license at age 27, to eventually going on to helm the MV Madaket, Humboldt’s beloved historic pleasure cruiser. 

Obviously, due to COVID concerns, the Madaket took 2020 off, but as Tonning explains preparations are underway to get her back on the water for this season. Stay tuned. 

Click the audio player above or navigate your phone here to hear Tonning’s chat with LoCO’s Andrew Goff and Stephanie McGeary. Also, scroll through past Humboldt Holding Up guests below.