The Bali Hai restaurant has been at this location since the mid 50's as is a landmark on San Diego Bay with arguably the best view of the bay from its circular restaurant. They do have a private dock in front of the restaurant, so we can even pick you up there after your meal for a tour of the bay.
They have recently done some major renovations and offer great fare. Locally they are known for their Mai Tai drinks - a very stron rum based drink. In Tahitian, the word means good.
This is the location of one of our yachts and where you will be boarding for smaller charter parties, in America's Cup Harbor at the north end of Shelter Island. In the 1934 the city began dredging San Diego Bay and the material to create shelter Island, which was until that time only a sandbar.
Today the island is home to several hotels, restaurant and marinas. It is well worth the short walk to the other end of the island as there are several worthy site of interest such as the Bell of Friendship given to San Diego in 1960 by her sister city Yokohama, Japan, the fishing pier, the Tunaman's Memorial as well as hundreds of boats. .
Our harbor is on the north end of the island, America's Cup Harbor - known as such in honor of the several America's Cup yachting races held in San Diego (1988, 1992, 1995). The cup was won by the U.S. only the first 2 times the race was held here.
This is a photo of a reenactment of Cabrillo as he came first came ashore, claiming the land for Spain.
Ballast Point has a long history. It is where Guatemalan explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, on September 28, 1542 anchored this ship when he discovered San Diego. He would call the area San Miguel - it would be another 50 years till it acquired the name San Diego.
Cabrillo stayed in the area for only 6 days before continuing to sail up the coast. He died barely 3 months later from complications which arose from a broken leg he received in a fight with the natives. It is believed that he was buried on Catalina Island.
Over the years because of it location of various industries arose at this location. In the 1800's it was the site of a Chinese fishing village (excellent presentation on the video section of our website) as well as a whaling station. The whales used to actually come into the bay to calf, but those days are long gone.
The area received it name from the stones the sailor used to collect to be used as ballast for their ships after their cargo was unloaded.
Zuniga Jetty was originally Zuniga Shoal as there was a natural disposition of sand in this area that made navigation difficult. In the mid 1800, the Army Corps of Engineers began building up the area to trying to alleviate the sand build up and improve navigation. It did help, but the issue today is that a great deal of it has been worn away by tidal action and on a high tide is mostly under water. This creates a navigational challenge for mariners unless they are very familiar with the area. Today the jetty is approximate 1.5 miles long. It is a good place for fishing and the waters on the east side are calm providing a good anchorage.
It is not uncommon to see boats which tried to make it over the jetty get stuck. This usually results in considerable damage to their bottoms and to their captain's ego.
By opening the satellite view below you can see the jetty and even the 3 little white dots along the line of the jetty which are the
more visible small "islands" comprising the jetty.
Just as many of us often do not have an easy start in this life, so it was with the oldest, still-working ship in the world. The Star of India, as she is now called, hails from a different time when the gods of the wind and sea had more power over the lives of men than they do today.
She began life as Euterpe (the Greek name of the muse of music) - way back in 1863. Even at birth she was somewhat unique, being a lady made of steel at a time when most of her compatriots where still being hewn of wood. The tough beginnings included a collision, mutiny, de-masting, and the death of her captain, who was then buried at sea.
The Star of India has completed many hard voyages in her life, beginning as a cargo ship hauling goods to and from India. In 1871 she embarked on a 25-year career carrying immigrants and freight for the New Zealand emigrant markets. In 1901 she began carrying canned goods and supplies north to the Baring Sea each spring and then returning with her holds full of canned Salmon. She continued this last career until she was sold to the San Diego Zoological society in 1926, having made 21 circumnavigations in all.
For many years she languished in disrepair as other world events took precedence, including the Great Depression and World War II. Thus it was not until 1957 that repair work began, and 1976 finally marked the date she was put to sea again. Today, the Star of India graces the harbor skyline in downtown San Diego as a “living” museum. She is open to the public, and sails several times a year, offering interested volunteers the opportunity to learn how to operate the vessel.
San Diego is the home port to three nuclear aircraft carriers namely the
Ronald Regan - #76, John C Stensis - #74 and Nimitz - #68
On our bay tour we motor just in front of where they are docked. Often
you will see at least one in port and it is very commom to see them
come in and out of the bay. Being beside one, especially when they are moving, gives one
and appreciation of just how large they are.
For example, the Regan has a crew of over 3000 people, is over 1000 ft long,
can carry over 80 aircraft and displaces over 100,000 tons of water when loaded.
As you might expect San Diego has a submarine squadron stationed in town (Squadron 11) which consists of 7 Los Angeles-class subs (fast attach nuclear powered), 3 torpedo retrievers and a Submarine dry dock, or ARDM (Auxiliary Repair Floating Dry Dock Medium) as it is know. The dry dock at this location was put in service in 1986 and is 492 ft long and 98 ft wide. It takes about an hour to pump enough water to flood the dry dock and prepare it to accept a submarine.
The barricades around the facility (sausages) were put in place after 9/11 when security everywhere was increased. Chances are you will probably see submarines berthed here as we go by. Look for the top of the sub (the sail) - they can be a bit difficult to see as they are low lying in the water and black.
Glorietta Bay is a quiet calm bay on the south east end of Coronado Island. There is a marina and a 2 acre park there as well as a golf course. It is a great spot for anchoring for the evening or overnight and is a location which we often use for weddings because of the calm water and picturesque scenery.
This is a good Dock'n Dine location - Coronado Ferry Landing. There is space for several yachts and there are several shops and restaurants. We would be happy to pick you up after your dinner and then drop you off at this location again after your charter.
The Hotel Del was originally opened in 1888 and was the largest hotel in the world at that time and the only one to use electricity. Currently, it is one of the oldest and largest wooden buildings in California.
It has been host to presidents and Hollywood stars over the years, not to mention the location of several movies, probably most notably “Some like it Hot” starting Marilyn Monroe. .
It is even purported to have a haunted room with the ghost of a guest from 1892 (Kate Morgan).
Naval Air Station North Island, which began in 1917, is located at the north end of Coronado Island on San Diego Bay. There are over 230 aircraft stationed here as, well as 3 aircraft carriers. In addition, it is the home of the Navy’s only deep sea rescue vehicles. The base currently has around 35,000 active personal.
The airstrip on North Island is the one used by Air Force One when the president is in town. You can see the plane land and take off - an interesting sight.
Another interesting point about Coronado Island is that it is really 2 small islands, on 2 different techtonic plates. The
space between the two islands was filled in the by military long ago.
The San Diego-Coronado Bridge was open to traffic on August 3, 1969. It is 11,179 feet long and has a maximum height of 200ft. It has a very unique curved shape so as to allow a shallow enough incline for cars yet at the same time allowing the bridge to reach a height sufficient for Navy ships to pass under it.
It has been free of a toll for several years; although as city finances are strained there has at times been talk of reinstating some type of toll. There are plans to light the pillars at night which would make the bridge a stunning sight if finances can be secured.
One unique feature is that it has 5 lanes - 2 eastbound, 2 westbound and a reversible middle lane. There are large concrete blocks moved by a specially designed mover that allow the changing of the middle lane to accommodate traffic flow in the morning and at night.
The USS Midway is a major tourist attraction on San Diego Bay and well worth taking the time to see up close. It is just down the street from the old sailing vessel "The Star of India" and provides an interesting contrast in vessels from different ages.
The Midway was commissioned in 1945 and saw service in many of the world’s theaters before she was decommissioned in 1992. Contrast the size of the Midway to the currently active carriers docked just across the bay and you will find that it is actually small by today’s standards
Fort Rosecrans, named for a general in the civil war, is a national cemetery located on the slopes of Point Loma. Currently there are over 90,000 veterans buried on the 77 acre site. It became a national cemetery in 1934, but people were being buried there from the early 1800's.
If you look up and to the left, as you are heading out in the channel toward the ocean, you will see a very light green area on the top of Point Loma. This is Fort Rosecrans and the light green color is caused the by thousands of white crosses on the much darker green grass.
The above pictures shows the USS Mdway in the background.
This is a favorite stop on most every tour. The bait barges have been around for a long time and have been operated as a family owned business since the 1950's. The barges are comprised of over 200 cages containing bait fish (sardines and anchovies). Fisherman stop here to get bait on their way out of the bay and it is commom to see them scooping up the biat fish - you can get 10lbs for around $35.
Since the cages contain fish, it is not surprising that the area attracts wildlife that on occasion gets a free meal when some of the fish escape. As well, the barges give sea lions a place to rest and warm up out of the water.
Mostly on this dock you are going to see Sea Lions. Their color ranges from chocolate brown in males to a lighter, golden brown in females. The males can weigh in at around 1000 lbs, the females are much smaller at around 200 lbs. They have external ear flaps and large flippers that they use to "walk" on land. The trained "seals" in zoos and aquariums are usually California sea lions.
The sea lions are very social and known for their intelligence. They give birth in June or July and can nurse for up to a year. They feed on squid, octopus, herring, rockfish, mackerel, and small sharks. In turn, sea lions are preyed upon by Orcas (killer whales) and great white sharks.
As well there are a lot of birds such as pelicans and cormorants.