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    A ferry, a proposal and a three-generation family tradition
    • July 9, 2024

    Despite the posted no-standing sign, Aleko Culp needed his girlfriend at the bow of the Balboa Island Ferry.

    Christina Dupas needed to be standing so he could drop to one knee and ask her an important question that would affect the rest of their lives.

    Aleko Culp proposed to Christina Dupas on the Balboa Island Ferry on July 4. Culp is the third generation of his family to get engaged aboard the ferry. (Courtesy of Aleko Culp)

    Aleko Culp proposed to Christina Dupas on the Balboa Island Ferry on July 4. Culp is the third generation of his family to get engaged aboard the ferry. (Courtesy of Aleko Culp)

    Aleko Culp proposed to Christina Dupas on the Balboa Island Ferry on July 4. Culp is the third generation of his family to get engaged aboard the ferry. (Courtesy of Aleko Culp)

    Aleko Culp proposed to Christina Dupas on the Balboa Island Ferry on July 4. Culp is the third generation of his family to get engaged aboard the ferry. (Courtesy of Aleko Culp)

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    But he knew engagements aboard the ferry have a “good track record” — he was about to be the third generation of men in his family to pop the question while crossing from the Balboa Peninsula.

    “He surprised me,” said the now-engaged Dupas, 25. “The whole thing was a lot of fun.”

    Culp’s grandfather, Gary A. Culp, and his wife, Judie, were engaged during a ferry crossing 64 years ago. Culp’s father, Gary Culp, proposed to his wife, Georgia, on the same crossing some 30 years ago.

    “It was a ‘ferry-tale’ to propose. I’m happy that Aleko and Christina get to experience this too,” said Gary Culp.

    His grandmother lived on the Balboa Peninsula, so he often rode the ferry with his father for a visit and day at the beach.

    Since 1919, the Balboa Island Ferry has shuttled passengers between the peninsula and Balboa Island in Newport Beach. For his surprise proposal, Culp invited 25 family members,  disguising it as a Fourth of July party.

    Although Culp, 25, and Dupas have been dating for almost three years, for Culp, it was love at first sight. The couple met at a Greek Church Camp when they were 15, where Culp said he immediately developed a crush on his future fiancée. They didn’t start dating until he returned from college.

    “When I proposed, I told her how I loved her since I first saw her at camp,” Culp said.

    Gary and Georgia Culp have been married since 1996, and the senior Gary and Judie Culp have been married since 1961.

    Aleko Culp said he was always set on proposing on the Balboa Island Ferry.

    “After seeing Grandpa and Dad do it, and spending all my life in Orange County,” he said, “it just seemed like the right place.”

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    ​ Orange County Register 

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