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Point Loma couple sails the sands of time and love

Al and Helen Powell share their love for making model ships and collecting sand.

SAN DIEGO — Most happy couples have similar interests but separate hobbies. In this Zevely Zone, I set my sails for Point Loma where I discovered if you want to retire someday, you'd better make some plans.  

"This is my model shop," said 77-year-old Al Powell. When he was a boy, he started building car models, but after a seven-year stint in the Navy, he graduated to the high seas. "The problem is I can't sit still," said Al.  

Credit: KFMB TV

As the decades passed shelves became shipyards for his model ships. He has a fascination with the sea and lines his walls with memories of white water.  "It's a fleet submarine," Al said while pointing to a large model submarine in his garage. Al was a submariner in the Navy, so when a friend asked if he could find a place to dock this big boy. "I said, well, why not. I had the only car that could carry it home," laughed Al.  

Credit: KFMB TV

His car was also big enough to haul the essential wood, glue, and patience.  "You get the plans, and you get a box of wood," said Al.  He spent eight years crafting one masterpiece whaling ship that turned out to be his Moby Dick. "This is the overall drawing. It gets a little more detail and a little more detail, oh even more detail and eventually you end up with a finished model," said Al while me the designs.  

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If only, Al had could sail his ships to a beautiful beach. "My wife Helen has a sand collection. That is pretty astonishing," said Al.  For that part of the story, we head to higher land. Al's collection is in the garage and Helen's collection is in the house.

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"I started this probably 30 years ago. These are all sands from all over the world. This is from the Amazon river," said Helen.  Five hundred samples in all. "It's a sickness, ha, ha," said Helen with a chuckle.  

Credit: KFMB TV

When you're married for 48 years, all your little quirks get put under a microscope. We started at the beautiful grains under a scope and took an up-close look at true love passing the sands of time in Point Loma.

"I don't watch football on TV or baseball or any of that," said Al. Helen and Al's advice for happy retirement?  Find a hobby you love and never leave San Diego.

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