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!

Our designated boat driver, who gladly took the wheel, was once a sailor stationed in San Diego, so he had a bunch of interesting facts about the naval base, ships, and some of the places of interest.    I think when you learn something about what you are seeing; it makes it way more interesting.




Naval ships,buildings on North Island and fishing boats across the bay.

We wandered out to just shy of the entrance of the bay and way past in the distance, you could see one of the islands of the Coronado Island chain.   We passed by Point Loma on one side and the North Island Naval Air Station on the other.     Boats of every size were all over the place and our vigilant sailor/driver was ever mindful of the tacking sailboats coming in from every direction.


Turning toward the city, we soon saw its amazing waterfront skyline equipped with hotels, condos and, a few commercial buildings.   Just beyond the city, you get your first view of the subtle curve of the 2.1 mile long Coronado Bridge.

The bridge was our turning back point as we were now traveling on the east side of the bay past the shops of Seaport Village, the spectacular Petco Park baseball stadium, and the Midway air craft carrier.




Petco Park



Seaport Village in the foreground

We made a brief stop to troll around the Midway and it was really cool to see it up close and from a different perspective.    Looking up at this grand battle ship gave you an appreciation of just how big it really is.


You can take a self-guided audio tour of the ship and explore some of the areas including the galley, sleeping quarters, engine room, etc.    On the top deck, check out the over 20 restored aircraft or try some of their interactive exhibits including a flight simulator. I really enjoyed the tour when I did it a few years back.

After saying good-bye to the fake sailors/officers that are set up at one of the openings in the ship, we turned our attention across the way to a large statue of a sailor kissing a nurse.

Officially it is known as the “Unconditional Surrender” ,or “Kissing Sailor” as some people call it.    Its depiction is from a photograph from 1945 which was featured in Life magazine. In Times Square, the jubilation over World War II ending caused a sailor to randomly kiss women as she walked by. This particular kiss was captured on film and became a famous and iconic photograph.

The 25 ft tall statue of that kiss and photo is now a popular San Diego attraction.

Once away from the Midway and back on the bay, we passed by the Embarcadero, the Star of India, and a cruise ship.    We were now heading back into the wind which made small droplets of water from the bay, splash up in our face and clothes. Guess what? …we didn’t care. It was all a part of the experience.


A cruise ship in port


Coronado Island

Back into the smoother waters of the marina, the wind was now blocked by the boats and hotels.    We all agreed that it was a fun time and well worth the money. I kind of felt that I should have tipped our driver as his narrative was as interesting as any guide I have ever heard.    However, he was just our friend along for the same enjoyable two hours out on the water as we were.

So think about renting a boat. There is no need to clean it after, no maintenance, no break downs, just a great time for a short period with good friends along to share the experience.

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