Sunday, September 21, 2008

Port of San Diego and The Big Bay

San Diego is a wonderful US Navy town! Where else can you look out your hotel terrace and watch a air craft carrier sail by? (all photos enlarge when clicked on)

The Port of San Diego was created by the state Legislature in 1962 to manage San Diego Bay and surrounding waterfront land. The Port is made up of Imperial Beach, National City, Chula Vista, San Diego and Coronado waterfront properties.
On my husband's and my last day in San Diego we walked from our hotel along the Embarcadero and Harbor Drive to find a harbor cruise to enjoy.

Along the way we passed Tuna Harbor Park, next to Tuna Harbor, is a wide walkway which makes its way to Fish Market, at the point of the park. The north side has a narrower walkway with a grassy area, trees, two war memorials, and a great view of the USS Midway Museum.

Below - the statue “Unconditional Surrender,” which represents a famous photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt of a Sailor kissing a nurse in Time Square, New York City 1945, after the announcement of V-J Day. The statue is owned by the Sculpture Foundation of Santa Monica, Calif., and is on loan to the Port of San Diego.

U.S.S. San Diego Memorial by Eugene Daub & Louis Quaintance. This public artwork provides a commemoration of the distinguished service of the cruiser USS San Diego and her crew, serving as a reminder of their selfless contribution to victory in World War II. The floor of the monument features a large, colored terrazzo map of the western Pacific and the Asian and Australian coastlines, which proscribe the theater of operations in which the ship served during World War II.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial by Moon Kim. This beautiful monument is dedicated to the memory of Vice Admiral Clifton A. F. Sprague and the 13 ships and 7,300 men of Task Unit 77.4.3, also known as Taffy 3, which were under his command during the furious and heroic naval action fought off the island of Samar on October 25, 1944, during the Battle for Leyte Gulf.

We decided to take the 2 hour Hornblower cruise, where we saw both the north and the south ends of San Diego Bay. Some of the highlights we saw during the cruise were the US Navy ships and submarine base, the Navy Seals training base, the America's Cup harbor, the North Island Naval Air Station, the beautiful marinas of Harbor and Shelter Islands, Cabrillo National Monument area and Point Loma, and lots of wildlife, including seals and pelicans.

The USS Nimitz a nuclear powered aircraft carriers. Named for one of our nation's greatest military leaders, Fleet Admiral Chester W. NIMITZ , was under maintenance and repair in the harbor.

Shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO has been designing and building ships since 1959, specializing in auxiliary and support ships for the U.S. Navy and oil tankers and dry cargo carriers for commercial markets. Located in San Diego, California, NASSCO employs more than 4,700 people and is the only major ship construction yard on the West Coast of the United States.

Two views from the harbor cruise of shipbuilding and repair now in progress at NASSCO.

Two views, below, of the U.S. Aircraft Carrier, "USS Midway." The Midway served 47 years, from the end of WW II to Desert Storm. By the time the Midway was decommissioned in 1991, more than 225,000 men had served aboard. The carrier is now a naval museum, telling the story of life on board the ship, of the wars she fought, and of the records she set.

The Star of India, below, is a tall ship that sailed during the 1860s, which is still seaworthy today and is the world's oldest active ship. She began her life on the stocks at Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863.

It is one of the ships in the San Diego Maritime Museum on North Harbor Drive.

In the photo below, on the right is the H.M.S. Surprise, another ship at the San Diego Maritime Museum. This ship is the very one upon which Russell Crowe and his colleagues filmed "Master and Commander," one of the hit films of 2003.

A submarine docked at Naval Base Point Loma. We saw many seals in the water and pelicans and other sea birds in this area as we sailed by. Naval Base Point Loma (NBPL) was established on Oct. 1, 1998 when Navy facilities in the Point Loma area of San Diego were consolidated under Commander, Navy Region Southwest.

Two views below of the North Island Naval Air Station, part of the Naval Base Coronado, where the U.S. Navy ports some of its large aircraft carriers and fighter jets.

Naval Base Coronado (NBC) is a consolidated Navy installation compassing seven military facilities stretching from San Clemente Island to the La Posta Mountain Warfare Training Facility.

We were lucky enough to see this fighter jet practicing its take off and landing!

There were remnants of the old piers when this area was home port for Pacific Fleet carriers. It was explained to us by the harbor cruise guide that they are now they are not all keep in one area for security reasons.

Our last look at beautiful San Diego from the great bay as The Hornblower heads back to its pier.

We had a wonderful time visiting the city of San Diego, and enjoyed its fine restaurants and entertainment venues, its wonderful shore front, it's beautiful parks, and learning about its history, and we especially enjoyed seeing the pride of the US Navy!

'Till we visit again next time .... anchors aweigh!


Rue said...

I'm really enjoying your tour of my home state Pat! Seeing it from another perspective is really interesting. I didn't grow up in SD, but I used to go to the zoo all the time as a child. It hasn't changed much, which is great, because it really took me back.

My mom stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado once, but without me... darn it! ;)

Thank you for this wonderful tour!

Strider said...

The last time I was in SD is saw the USS Kitty Hawk carrier. Awesome sight. Great post!

Judy said...

Great post...excellent pictures and so much information. Thanks, Pat!

Alex said...

I really, really enjoyed your post today. My father was in the army and between his recent stories, reading old letters and his diary from Vietnam...and then reading your post...I feel like I am learning so much about our history...and it's cool. It's sad that wars have to happen, though.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Each and every one of your San Diego posts have been incredible, Pat. Thank you so much for sharing the photos and stories of your stay there.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

It looks like ya'll had a great trip. Those pictures are beautiful. That is a huge marina...not at all like the one we had lunch at in Florida.

I've never been to Key West... y'all will have to find the hot spots and let us know!

Cori G. said...

Hi Pat,
There's such a quiet peacefulness in all your pictures that it makes me lonely for San Diego. I used yo love to sit at the embarcadero and watch the pelis fly in. Such a lovely post and the hornblower looks very romantic. The Surprise is new too! I think hubby and I may need to drive down in a week or two.
Have a fun week.
XO Cori

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
Thanks for the informational and interesting post.

I would love to go to San Diego!


steviewren said...

Pat, I think I've seen San Diego from all angles now...from land and sea. The Hotel Del Coronado and the Star of India are my two favorites.

Beverly said...

San Diego is incredibly beautiful. I loved learning all of these important facts today.

Lavinia said...

Anchors aweigh indeed! I love the masculine voices raised in navy song that you now have here.

What a fantastic post....all those ships gave me goosebumps.....just my cup of tea, dear Pat, don't you know it!

I would have been drinking in all the thousand and one sights to look at....the aircraft carrier, marine life, and the fantastic old Star of India, not the mention the Master and Commander ship....was that Russell Crowe pacing the deck? Or is my fevered imagination playing tricks on me again!

I must add San Diego to my itinerary if/when I ever go to California. I would not have done so prior to reading your post, so thank you once again, Pat. You are a tour guide bar none!

Willow said...

I enjoyed this post, Pat! It is always fun to see my state through another person's eyes. My dd and her Marine Corp hubby live in Chula Vista, so I get to SD fairly often.

Joanne Kennedy said...

Sure likes like another great day. Here I thought you were the NY expert tour director but the truth is you would be great anywhere you were.

I do have to admit this post made me a little sad though. My brother and I had plans on going to Midway but we put it off and put it off. Then sadly he had his stroke. Now unless he ever gets out of that wheel chair we won't ever be able to tour it.

It's something we both talked about doing for a long time but just never made it. I fear we will never will now.


Nihal said...

I'm so happy to see that it made your vacation in San Diego a wonderful experience and a very memorable one, Pat. Loved it there! Ocean views and bay photos all are fantastichi! As usual, I'm grateful for your knowledge of the City and I just can wait to have my San Diegoish visit one day soon:)

When you have a chance please do stop by my site. I offer a thrilling cocktail;) For more, when you come... A hint: time for I-give-away.

More than it, I appreciate for being a reader of CrossRoads as well as very kind comments.

((Hugs)) and Lots of Love.

Tracy said...

Super post and photos, Pat! Have so been enjoying your views from the west coast! We've not been to CA before...Hope to one day! Happy Days, my friend ((HUGS))

Kitem said...

OOh, I live so far away, and maybe I won't have the chance in my life to ever visit San Diego although it is one of the city I would like to see one day, however, thanks to your tour, the beautiful photos you took and the lesson of history you give, the gap has been partly filled.

Pat said...

Joanne, I will write to you personally but I wanted to comment here too for everyone who reads this to know that I belive the MIDWAY is handicap accessible!

When were were on the Hornblower cruise a woman came on in a wheelchair and when she left I heard the crew tell her and her husband that the Midway has elevators.

I would call them to be sure (you should find the number on their web site) but I hope you WILL be able to go to see it with your brother!

***Thanks everyone for your comments. I appreciate each and every one! :-)


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

It almost seems as if I had been there with you. Loved seeing the old-timers juxtaposed with the new ships.

So much history wherever you go, Pat. It may be time for you to write a book on your favorite topic. Really! Such a feel for history you have!

Tara said...


what else to say but WOW! What a great trip you are sharing with us!

Anonymous said...

Anchors aweigh! More lovely photos!


Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Once again, a fun and history filled romp with Pat! I've enjoyed my "trip" to San Diego. A friend (one of the mister's college roommates) from San Diego is headed to our shore house this weekend, so I feel your blog post will come to life, right in our living room! :-)

Betsy said...

A year or two ago Fox News had as guests the man and lady that were in that famous picture! They are quite the senior citizens now. They didn't even know each other...the solider just grabbed her and kissed her right there on the street and a photographer shot the famous pic. It was a cute story. No romance came of it...just a moment in time.

Kathy said...

I really enjoyed this post! Talk about bringing back memories! I was in the Navy ions ago and stationed in Coronado for a short time as a Seabee. I recognize most of the ships, the subs, the seals were always jumping out of helicopters and we would watch - so fun to see your post.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Great post! My dad was in the Navy SeeBees and my brother was in the Navy too. In fact my brother was stationed in San Diego!

Mama said...

Hey Pat, whew!! been trying to leave a comment here all day and kept being called away, so what I wanted to tell you was that I really enjoyed your trip to San Diego, it was like being there all over again, hugs, Kathy.

Mrs. B said...

For all the time I spent in San Diego, I've never really known much of the history there. Thank you so much for taking us along with you! I love those old ships. That sounds like a fun cruise. We're going to be in that area at Thanksgiving, so I may have to go see some of these things. You've really got me excited about it now!

Susie Q said...

Brought back some great memories...we were stationed there for 2 years. Bill was at Miramar in flight training but we were at Coronado a lot.
Great I would love to return!