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Michael Castaneda

1955 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Michael Castaneda Obituary
MICHAEL CASTANEDA Michael Castaneda, 62, a prominent, tuna purse seine commercial fishing captain from San Diego, went home to his Lord October 28, 2017, following a tragic shipboard accident in Pago Pago, American Samoa. The eldest of four children of Pedro and Lucille Castaneda, Michael was born August 3, 1955, in San Diego, where, years later, he met his beloved wife of 19 years, Tracey, on December 30, 1997, just four days prior casting off to sea. In a whirlwind romance conducted entirely via ship-to-shore email, they fell "Truly Madly Deeply" for each other, signing their emails "aml amh tmd faad," (all my love, all my heart, truly madly deeply, forever and a day). The lovestruck couple married just nine months after meeting, and relocated to Boulder City the following year, in 1999. Michael attended San Diego's Point Loma High where his baseball and surfing skills were legendary; he regularly "ripped" the waves on his board at Sunset Cliffs where he is oft remembered as being "the epitome of cool." At age 18, following the path of his father and uncles, Michael embarked on a prolific commercial fishing career spanning 44 years and countless exotic ports of call. Driven by his love of the sea and unrelenting desire to excel, at age 20, Michael earned his USCG Master's credential, becoming one of the youngest licensed captains in the commercial fishing fleet. In the early 80's, Michael pioneered the concept of anchoring fixed FADs (Fish Aggregation Devices, or "rafts") off Western Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, a then-welcome innovation earning him the nickname "Raff." From 2002 to 2014, sailing out of Port Nelson for Talley's Fisheries, Michael trailblazed the birth and development of New Zealand's Tuna Fishery, a lasting legacy for which he is especially remembered. In 2015, sailing for TriMarine out of Pago Pago, he set the unbeaten record for the fastest fishing trip, 1,210 tons of tuna caught in nine days, port to port. Michael was an extraordinarily loving husband and father, a fiercely loyal son, brother, provider and friend, eternally loved for his solid gold heart and genuine soul. Michael's father, Pedro "Pete" Castaneda, preceded him in death in 2012. In addition to his wife and soulmate, Tracey, (Maher, née West), he leaves behind his mother, Lucille (Silva) Castaneda, Temecula, CA; son Jordan (Rachel), 26, Ft. Myers, FL; daughter Taylor (Kenji), 25, Costa Mesa, CA; stepson Cole Maher, 26, and stepdaughter Bridget Maher, 23, both of Santa Barbara, CA; sisters Carol (Jim) Beatty, Alpine, CA; Lisa (Bobby) Williams, Murrietta, CA; brother Gary Castaneda (Theresa), El Cajon, CA; grandchildren, Ayla and Cain Castaneda, Ft. Myers, FL, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues and friends. A celebration of life will occur early next year, please email Tracey, [email protected], subject line Michael for notice. In lieu of flowers, Michael would ask that you live your life to its fullest, keep your loved ones close and forever remember him in your heart. "God grant that I may live to fish until my dying day, and when it comes to my last set then I most humbly pray, when in the Lord's safe landing net I'm peacefully asleep, and lifted up to the heavens above, for His Kingdom I will reap."
Published in Boulder City Review on Nov. 23, 2017
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