Tijuana Estuary


Almost Shut Out
While at one of the premier bird watching areas in all of California,  I was laughing because after twenty minutes I hadn’t seen one bird, not one!    So I started taking other shots and was prepared to write a story about all the other attributes of the estuary when a bird finally appeared about 30 feet from me.

It was a Yellow Crowned Night Heron and it saved the day, I saw a bird! However, there were plenty more to see as we traveled more into the reserve.

We didn’t visit the Tijuana Estuary just to see birds.  I had seen the area from the distance while visiting Imperial Beach many times before,  so it seemed like an interesting place to explore on this breezy Sunday afternoon.

The reserve as far as you can see.

As mentioned, the Tijuana Estuary is one of the most foremost bird watching areas in California; however, even if you are not into birds, it has great trails, scenic views, plus all of the ambient sounds of nature.

The clatter of waves crashing on the sand could be heard in the distance at Imperial Beach,  and you could hear the subtle chirps from birds all around even if you couldn’t see them.

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Off the Beaten path–Pier 32, National City

Pier 32

I was heading south toward Imperial Beach on Interstate 5 when a group of sailboat masts caught my eye in the distance.  I made a point to check my surroundings so I could find where they were on my way back home later in the afternoon.

It was an exploration type of day and we were an hour or so from home on our way to the Tijuana Estuary.  I knew with the days getting longer, I had plenty of time to stop by and see for myself where those boats were moored.

Later in the afternoon, we did find the tiny Pier 32 Marina and as it turns out, it is basically for slip rentals. If you have a boat this is the place for you.   Located in National City, they bill this marina as one of the finest in San Diego with its first class amenities and state-of-the art facilities.     It was off the beaten path just enough to make you feel like you are getting away from it all while enjoying the life of living on a boat.

Off the beaten path just enough. Interstate 5 in the background.

Most of the waterfront caters to the 250 slip renters but there is a sizable public restaurant on site, aptly called the Waterfront Grill.   Voted “Best of South County for Outside Dining Experience”, the restaurant has plenty of outdoor seating and overlooks the clear blue water plus the boats below.

Besides the relaxing atmosphere, the restaurant has affordable prices featuring:  breakfast fare, gourmet sandwiches, yummy side dishes, fresh ingredients, and happy hour cocktails.   It was closed early on this Mothers Day holiday when we visited but I am sure it is full of life on a normal Sunday.

The wonderful outdoor patio.

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Boating, San Diego

Boating, San Diego

I can think of a bunch of fun things to do on a sunny California day and boating is one of them.

There is nothing like being on the water where everything around you is so vibrant and the negative ions coming from the sea, give you a feeling of well being.    On sun splashed days, the cool breezes careening off of the water surround your face like a welcoming old friend. This is boating!

Not everyone has a boat, and not everyone wants one.    So, if you can’t own a boat, rent one!

That is exactly what we have done many times here in California.     We have rented speed boats, sail boats, fishing boats, Duffys, and on this occasion, a semi-speed boat.      I say semi because the boat was gutless and really didn’t go that fast, however, it was enough to get us around the bay in the two hours we were allotted.    Once again we used a trusty Groupon to get a good deal.

We started at Shelter Island in front of the Sheraton hotel and discovered that there is so much to see on San Diego Bay that we were glad we booked that extra hour.

This way we made it to the Coronado Bridge and then were able to take our time looking at some of the sights on our way back.   I think we were over the time limit a little but they didn’t make us pay extra.

The Sheraton and marina.

Getting from the no wake zone of Shelter Island takes away some of your time but once out on the main harbor you can let it rip and go as fast as you want!

Our driver throttled it and in anticipation of the soon to be lightning speed ride, our upfront passengers stuck their hands in the air as if on a high velocity roller coaster.

The hands soon came down as we realized that our little boat wasn’t going to go very fast.    So we settled in to a mellow and much slower cruise around the bay.

Ready for the speed that never came!

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