19 January 2014

Winter Escape: San Diego, 7-14 January 2014

In the depths of bitter winter cold, snow, and ice, MoMI took off for a week in sunny, warm San Diego, California.  This delightful city combines pleasant year-round weather and friendly, laid-back people with numerous attractions, a picturesque waterfront, and a vibrant cultural and culinary scene. 

As the United States Navy's second largest homeport after Norfolk, Virginia, San Diego is also heavily influenced by the large number of Navy and Marine Corps personnel who live and work in the city and its environs.  It is not unusual to see uniformed personnel strolling down city streets, or in restaurants, stores, museums, and parks.  The military occupies huge areas of prime real estate in the San Diego area, including much of scenic Point Loma and Coronado Island, and a major draw for tourists are the harbour cruises which treat visitors to close-up views of numerous warships and aircraft, including the two gigantic Nimitz-class carriers based in San Diego.

With its strong maritime tradition and rich seafaring history, San Diego is a must-see for the maritime history buff.  Waterfront highlights include the Maritime Museum of San Diego and the USS Midway Museum.  And you mustn't forget to visit Balboa Park, dubbed the 'Smithsonian of the West', or the world famous San Diego Zoo.  Indeed, there is so much to see and do in San Diego and its surrounding communities that a week's stay hardly suffices to do this city justice.   
Getting to San Diego was the biggest challenge of the entire trip.  Departing the day after a massive winter storm across the eastern seaboard of the United States and eastern Canada, a cancelled flight from Ottawa to Toronto led to being bumped to an earlier flight, with checked baggage being left behind to follow, hopefully, on a subsequent flight.  The flight from Toronto to San Diego (AC777) was uneventful, though departure was delayed by over two hours.  Of course, given the odds, it was unsurprising--though still disappointing--to find upon arrival in San Diego that the checked bag had not arrived.  However, thanks to Air Canada's diligence, the bag did arrive on the next direct flight from Toronto to San Diego the next evening, and the rest of the vacation went swimmingly.      

The heavily marked-up boarding pass for Air Canada flight AC777 from Toronto to San Diego.  The stamps indicate that Air Canada baggage services has authorised the holder to proceed through U.S. Customs pre-clearance in Toronto without the checked bag, which is marked as 'In Transit'.   

Upon arrival in San Diego late on the evening of 7 January, and after picking up the rental car, we proceeded to the Homewood Suites Airport/Liberty Station on Laning Road, just off North Harbor Drive.  This comfortable, well-appointed hotel would be our 'home base' for the next week's travels in and around San Diego.

The keycard for Suite 314 at the Homewood Suites Airport/Liberty Station.

And the view upon entering Suite 314; the couch folds out into a third bed, if required.

One of the bedrooms in the two-bedroom Suite 314, located in the North Building.
The other bedroom in Suite 314, featuring a King-sized bed.

The well-appointed kitchenette in Suite 314.  Homewood Suites provides guests with all required utensils, cookware, and dishes, and the kitchenette is outfitted with a sink, stovetop, microwave oven, refrigerator, toaster, coffee maker, and even a dishwasher.
A view from the third-floor terrace at the Homewood Suites.  The manicured gardens and grounds of the hotel front onto publicly-accessible riverfront walking paths.  While early morning fog is not unusual for this seaside city, it burns off by mid-morning.

The Homewood Suites' pool deck, as seen from the third-floor terrace.

The Great Hall in the Homewood Suites Main Building, which hosts guests for complimentary breakfasts (daily) and dinners (Monday through Thursday).  This room is equipped with two large screen televisions and a gas fireplace.  The excellent hot breakfasts included make-your-own waffles; scrambled eggs; hashbrowns/homefries; bacon or sausages; yogourt; fresh fruit; breads and pastries; juices; and coffee/tea. 

The covered portico leading from the Main Building to the North Building, as seen during an evening stroll through the grounds.

A view of the Homewood Suites, as seen from the public walking path in front of the hotel.  The carefully manicured lawns and gardens are a nice amenity for guests and the public alike.
The walking path that runs past the Homewood Suites and the neighbouring Residence Inn.  This picture was taken at dusk.
A view of the Homewood Suites' pool/jacuzzi deck.  Although temperatures in January are in the low- to mid-20 degree Celsius range, no guests were seen using the pool.    

San Diego Bay Cruise

Following a hearty breakfast, we ventured downtown, to the Embarcadero, San Diego's waterfront tourist district, parking the car at the Ace Parking lot located next to the USS Midway Museum:

The paid parking receipt received from the Ace Parking lot on North Harbor Drive, next to the USS Midway Museum.

We began our exploration of San Diego with a harbour cruise aboard Flagship Lines' Spirit of San Diego.

One of the tickets purchased for the two-hour harbour cruise aboard Spirit of San Diego.  Customers have the option of the one-hour North Harbor cruise, the one-hour South Harbor cruise, or both.

Our harbour cruise boat, Spirit of San Diego, part of the fleet of excursion vessels and ferries operated by Flagship Lines.

The inside main deck of Spirit of San Diego.  Given the sights and the balmy weather, virtually nobody remained inside.  A cash bar visible at the far end served soft drinks, hot chocolate, and alcoholic beverages to thirsty passengers. 

The Lord Hornblower, another harbour cruise vessel operated by rival company Hornblower Cruises, backs away from the dock.

The San Diego County Administration Center, located on North Harbor Drive.  The building was dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on 16 July 1938 and officially opened on 23 December 1938.  The ships in the foreground are part of the historic vessel fleet belonging to the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Given San Diego International Airport's proximity to downtown and the orientation of its single runway, commercial aircraft must pass low over downtown while landing.  Here, Delta Airlines Boeing 757-200 (N675DL) on final approach is seen during the harbour cruise. 
Passengers aboard Spirit of San Diego's upper deck take in the sights on the North Harbor portion of the voyage.
The Semester at Sea cruise ship Explorer, docked in San Diego harbor.  San Diego regularly plays host to cruise ships travelling to Hawaii, along the Pacific coast, and those that have sailed through the Panama Canal.
An American flag flaps smartly in the wind as Spirit of San Diego ventures away from land.
The fishing vessel Rival passes Spirit of San Diego on its way back to port with the catch of the day.  A flock of seagulls and several pelicans circled overhead, looking for a quick and easy meal.
A pack of lazy sea lions sun themselves on floating wooden platforms in the harbour.  A few more active members of this group were seen swimming  and playing in the water only a few metres from the boat, occasionally barking.
A closer view of the sea lions relaxing on the wooden platforms used by fishermen to service their boats.
A Los Angeles-class attack submarine undergoes maintenance at the submarine base located within Naval Base Point Loma.
Another Los Angeles-class attack submarine sits high and dry within the confines of USS Arco (ARDM-5), a Medium Auxiliary Repair Dry Dock which entered service on 23 June 1986 and is stationed at Naval Base Point Loma.

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG-48) passes our boat as it heads out to sea.  The Vandegrift was commissioned on 24 November 1984 and is homeported at Naval Base San Diego.

SH-60 Seahawk helicopters parked at Naval Air Station North Island, located on San Diego's Coronado Island.

An SH-60B Seahawk anti-submarine helicopter flies overhead.  Naval air exercises are a regular sight over San Diego Bay, and during the harbour cruise numerous helicopters from Naval Air Station North Island were seen exercising.  Some flew quite low and directly over the boat.

The Nimitz-class carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), commissioned on 12 July 2003 and homeported at Naval Base San Diego.

The retired Midway-class aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV-41), now a museum vessel on the San Diego waterfront.  See below for more photos of MoMI's tour of USS Midway.

Another view of the USS Ronald Reagan, docked at Naval Base San Diego and as seen from the harbour cruise vessel Spirit of San Diego.

A view of downtown San Diego.

The Nimitz-class carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), commissioned on 13 March 1982.  The Carl Vinson is famous as the ship from which the body of lunatic terrorist mastermind and pornography enthusiast Osama bin Laden was dumped into the Arabian Sea on 2 May 2011...USA! USA! USA!

Another view of downtown San Diego.  The distinctive towers with the wedge-shaped tops at middle-right comprise the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, the first phase of which opened in 1992. 
Some of the multi-million dollar mansions that line the shore on Coronado Island.

The M/V Jean Anne, a cargo vessel sailing for Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines.  The Jean Anne sails a biweekly schedule between San Diego and the Hawaiian Island ports of Honolulu, Kahului, and Hilo, transporting a variety of heavy equipment.  The ship’s ten fully-enclosed decks are hoistable and provide 120,000 square feet of space specifically configured for Over High and Wide cargo.

A view of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, opened on 3 August 1969.  The 2.1 mile (3.4km) long bridge, which comprises part of State Route 75, spans San Diego Bay and links Coronado Island to downtown.  Clearance under the bridge is 200 feet at its highest point, allowing US Navy warships to pass underneath.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Higgins (DDG-76), moored at Naval Base San Diego, in the shadow of the Coronado Bridge.

US Navy warships undergo extensive maintenance at BAE Systems' San Diego Ship Repair facility.  Left to right are the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53), the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Russell (DDG-59), the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold (DDG-65), and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Princeton (CG-59).  The white wrap around the ships' masts protect the delicate sensors and radar arrays. 
An unidentified San Antonio-class Amphibious Transport Dock undergoing maintenance in one of the floating drydocks operated by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in San Diego.  

US Navy warships moored at Naval Base San Diego.  Left to right: the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Dewey (DDG-105); the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52); and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53).

The San Antonio-class Amphibious Transport Dock USS Anchorage (LPD-23), commissioned on 4 May 2013.

On the left, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Sterett (DDG-104), commissioned on 9 August 2008; and, on the right, the Wasp-class Amphibious Assault Ship USS Bataan (LHD-5), commissioned on 20 September 1997.

The Avenger-class Mine Countermeasures Ships USS Champion (MCM-4) and USS Chief (MCM-14), commissioned in February 1991 and November 1994, respectively.

Two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110) and the USS Milius (DDG-69), commissioned in May 2011 and November 1996, respectively.

The Whidbey Island-class Dock Landing Ships USS Rushmore (LSD-47) and USS Comstock (LSD-45), commissioned in June 1991 and February 1990, respectively. 
A view of the Coronado Bridge spanning San Diego Bay.

The Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship USS Independence (LCS-2), a trimaran-hulled vessel for use on inshore operations.  Independence was commissioned 16 January 2010 and is the lead vessel of this class of a planned 12 vessels.

A closer view of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold (DDG-65) and Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Princeton (CG-59) undergoing refits at BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair facility.

Passing under the Coronado Bridge while returning from the South Harbor cruise.

A view of the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, with the quaint Seaport Village shopping and dining complex in the foreground.
Passing by the Fish Market Restaurant, offering fresh seafood and excellent views of San Diego Bay.
Harbour cruise passengers marvel at the size of the USS Midway as the boat passes right underneath the carrier's bow while proceeding back to the dock.
The 25-foot tall sculpture 'Unconditional Surrender' by sculptor Seward Johnson, located in Tuna Harbor Park, across from the USS Midway Museum.  This bronze version of the sculpture replaced one made with a foam core and urethane coating that was displayed from 2007 to May 2012.  The current version was installed on 13 February 2013.

A view of the Fish Market Restaurant in Tuna Harbor Park, as seen later from the flight deck of USS Midway.  The Coronado Bridge can be seen in the background.

Sightseers take in a warm, sunny day on the San Diego waterfront in Tuna Harbor Park.

Diners at the Fish Market Restaurant watch as the Wasp-class Amphibious Assault Ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8) passes by en route for exercises at sea.
The interior of the Fish Market Restaurant.  An oyster bar is on the right, with the main dining room located past the hostess' podium.  The restaurant is known for its wide variety of fresh, locally-caught seafood.  Diners may enjoy a table inside or one of those located on the exterior wrap-around deck that sits over the waters of San Diego Bay.
An aerial view of 'Unconditional Surrender' in Tuna Harbor Park.  This sculpture is one of several identical copies, with others installed in Hamilton, New Jersey, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (smaller, life-sized version) and, prior to 2012, in Sarasota, Florida. 
A view of San Diego Bay and the Coronado Bridge, as seen from the deck of USS Midway.

USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway (CV-41) was the lead ship of the 3-strong Midway-class of aircraft carriers designed during the Second World War but not commissioned until after war's end. (The others of this class were USS Franklin D. Roosevelt and USS Coral Sea.)  USS Midway was laid down on 27 October 1943 at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia, launched on 20 March 1945, and commissioned on 10 September 1945. 

The ship underwent a series of modifications to permit it to operate the new jet aircraft being developed in the postwar period.  A major refit from 1955 to 1957 saw the ship receive an angled flight deck, enclosed hurricane bow, aft deck-edge elevator, and steam catapults.  Later, between 1966 and 1970, Midway received another major refit to enlarge the aircraft elevators and flight deck (from 2.8 acres to 4 acres), replace arresting gear and catapults, and add a centralised air conditioning plant.  Although budgeted at $88 million, the cost of this refit soared to $202 million, and it was found after recommissioning in January 1970 that the modifications had negatively affected the ship's sea-keeping and rough-weather aircraft operations capability, which required further modifications to correct.     

Over an unprecedented 47-year operational life, Midway served in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, South China Sea, Indian Ocean, and Arabian Sea.  She took part in numerous actions, including air strikes against North Vietnamese targets in 1965 and 1971-1973.  An aircraft from Midway made the last air-to-air kill of the Vietnam War on 12 January 1973.  In late April 1975, Midway took part in Operation Frequent Wind alongside other ships, during which she embarked Americans and South Vietnamese fleeting the fall of Saigon.  While cruising northeast of Japan on 20 June 1990, Midway was rocked by two internal explosions that killed two crewman, wounded nine others, and caused a raging fire that burned for ten hours.  Between 1 November 1990 and 11 March 1991, Midway took part in Operation Desert Storm against Iraqi forces following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.  Midway's last deployment in June 1991 saw the carrier evacuating 20,000 US military personnel and their families from the Philippine island of Luzon following the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo.  

After returning from the western Pacific in August 1991, Midway decommissioned in San Diego on 11 April 1992 and was placed in storage at the Navy Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Washington.  On 30 September 2003, the carrier left Bremerton and proceeded to San Diego to begin a new life as a museum ship.  Docking at the Broadway Pier site in downtown San Diego on 10 January 2004, Midway opened to the public as a museum on 7 June 2004.

Key Statistics:

Tonnage: 45, 000 at commissioning; 64,000 at decommissioning
Length: 972 feet (296 m)
Beam: 136 feet (41.5 m); 238 feet (72.5 m) at flight deck after modernisation 
Draught: 34.5 feet (10.5 m)
Complement: 4,104 officers and men
Aircraft carried: 100 (to Korean War); 65 (Vietnam War to retirement)

A copy of the tour map provided by the museum:

The ticket booths
The gangway leading onto USS Midway.
Looking aft in the Hangar Deck, the starting point for the tour of USS Midway.
The Chow Line
Officers' Wardroom
A private dining room adjacent to the main Wardroom. 
The presentation silver service from the heavy cruiser USS Toledo, presented to the ship's crew by the city of Toledo, Ohio on 26 October 1946.  Displayed in the ship's wardroom and used for special occasions and when entertaining dignitaries, this silver service remained aboard the Toledo until it was decommissioned in 1960.  Thereafter, the service was transferred to the USS Spiegel Grove in 1961 and, in 1963, to the newly-commissioned aircraft carrier USS Kittyhawk.  In 1995, a portion of the silver service was transferred to the nuclear attack submarine USS Toledo upon commissioning.  With the USS Kittyhawk's decommissioning in 2009, this portion of the service was loaned by the US Navy to the USS Midway Museum for display until another vessel named for the city of Toledo is commissioned.      
The Dirty Shirt Wardroom, used by officers for quick meals between duties, when there was insufficient time to dress in acceptable mess attire.  Pilots from the carrier's air group often ate here, given the quick turnarounds between sorties. 
The Midway's Hotel Services office, responsible for arranging and caring for any guests or dignitaries aboard.
The industrial clothes presses in Midway's laundry facility.
The tailor's shop in the Midway's laundry facility.
Ship's Galley, where thousands of meals were prepared every day.
The Chief Petty Officers' Mess.
A mess deck for enlisted sailors.
The surgical suite in USS Midway's Sick Bay.
Midway's Sick Bay includes a full range of medical and dental facilities, including facilities for taking x-rays.
The dental surgery office.
A Vought F4U Corsair carrier fighter plane on display in the Midway's Hangar Deck.  This type saw service in the Second World War and during the Korean War.
A Douglas EKA-3 Skywarrior, a derivative of the A-3 Skywarrior.  Designed as a strategic bomber, the Skywarrior filled a number of roles for the US Navy between 1956 and retirement in 1991.  The EKA-3 variant served in an Electronic countermeasures (ECM)/tanker role.  As the largest aircraft to operate from carriers, the Skywarrior was nicknamed 'The Whale' by pilots.
A Douglas A-4 Skyhawk light fighter.  Nearly 3,000 Skyhawks were built between 1954 and 1979, and the aircraft saw service with a number of foreign militaries, as well as with the US Navy and US Marine Corps.  The Marine Corps retired its Skyhawks in 1998, with the US Navy following in 2003.
A Grumman F-14 Tomcat fighter.  Entering US Navy service in September 1974, the Tomcat served in the maritime air superiority, fleet defense interception, and tactical reconnaissance roles.  Later, in the 1990s, Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night systems were installed and the Tomcat began conducting precision ground-attack missions.  The US Navy retired the Tomcat in 2006, though the Iranian Air Force continues to operate a fleet of Tomcats purchased from the US in 1976, before the Islamic Revolution that severed diplomatic relations between the two countries. 
Looking forward up the Midway's flight deck.
A McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II all-weather fighter, one of 5,195 built between 1958 and 1979.  Entering US Navy service in 1960, the Phantom was also acquired by the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force.  The F-4 served in the air forces of many foreign countries as well, including those of Australia, Egypt, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece, Iran, Israel, Japan, Spain, South Korea and Turkey.  The United States retired the Phantom from service in 1996.
A Douglas A-1 Skyraider, introduced into United States service in 1946.  Almost 3,200 Skyraiders were built between 1945 and 1957.  Despite entering service after the advent of the jet age, the propeller-driven Skyraider distinguished itself as a highly-capable low-level attack aircraft in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Another F-4 Phantom II is used to demonstrate to visitors how aircraft land aboard aircraft carriers.
A view of USS Midway's island superstructure, with a Grumman A-6 Intruder parked on the flight deck in the foreground.
A Grumman C-1 Trader carrier onboard delivery aircraft, a variant of the Grumman S-2 Tracker anti-submarine patrol aircraft.  Entering service in 1952, the C-1 Trader could carry nine passengers or 3,500 lbs of cargo (i.e. mail, supplies) to carriers at sea.  Only 83 C-1 Traders were built, with the US Navy retiring its last C-1 in 1988.  Interestingly, with the shift to an all jet carrier aircraft complement, only jet fuel was available aboard the US Navy's carriers.  As such, the propeller-driven C-1 Trader had to ensure it carried sufficient fuel to fly out to the carrier and return, as it could not top up its tanks on board. 
A Grumman A-6 Intruder all-weather medium attack aircraft, designed to replace the A-1 Skyraider.  Introduced into US service in 1963, the Intruder was retired by the US Navy in 1997.   
The USS Midway's island, housing the ship's command and control functions, including air operations.  The mast supports a variety of radar dishes and sensor arrays, as well as the signaling flags, seen fluttering in the gentle breeze from San Diego Bay.
A Kamen SH-2 Seasprite helicopter, in service with the US Navy from 1962 until retirement in 2001.
A Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King helicopter, which served in the anti-submarine warfare role in the US Navy from 1961 to 2006.  The Sea King was replaced by the SH-60 Seahawk beginning in the 1990s.  
An A-7 Corsair II, built by Ling-Temco-Vought and based on the airframe of the supersonic Vought F-8 Crusader.  Designed as a subsonic light attack aircraft to replace the A-4 Skyhawk, the A-7 entered service in 1967 and was also exported to Greece, Portugal, and Thailand.  The US Air Force and US Navy ceased flying the A-7 in 1991. 
Looking down the flight deck of USS Midway, along one of the catapult tracks.
The war room managed by the Admiral's chief of staff.
The Command Information Centre.
The galley servicing the ship's Captain and the Admiral commanding the Task Force.
Staff in the communications section prepared and transmitted the task force commander's messages and orders to the other ships in the carrier group.
The Radio Room.
A volunteer docent explains how carrier air operations were plotted and managed in this space within the ship's island superstructure. 
USS Midway's wheelhouse.
USS Midway's bridge.
The Commanding Officer's chair on the Midway's bridge.
The Captain's sea cabin, located in the island superstructure so as to permit the Captain to get to the bridge quickly should the need arise.  The Captain also had a more spacious shore cabin located deeper in the ship for use in port or for entertaining. 
Midway's wheel, used to conn the ship.
One of Midway's 12 boilers, used to generate high-pressure steam that propelled the carrier at 33 knots (60 km/h).
The engine room control board.
A view of USS Midway's port side, as seen from the Embarcadero. 

Balboa Park

Named for Spanish maritime explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, this 1,200 acre urban park features open greenspace, gardens, walking paths, playing fields, several museums, theatres, and cultural attractions and, at its northern extremity, the San Diego Zoo.  Managed today by the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department and promoted by the Balboa Park Conservancy, Balboa Park was originally dedicated as public parkland in 1835 and developed into its present configuration as a result of its hosting the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition and the 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition.  Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977 and placed on the United States National Register of Historic Places, Balboa Park is visited by millions of people every year.  Parking at Balboa Park's numerous lots is free, and a free tram shuttle drops visitors off at several stops throughout the park.   

Check out this Balboa Park guide for information on the park's many attractions and a map.

The free shuttle tram brings visitors from the Inspiration Point parking lot on Park Boulevard to the Plaza de Panama, the central square within Balboa Park. 

The House of Hospitality, Balboa Park's visitors' centre, housing an information kiosk, gift shop, and the Prado restaurant.  The House of Hospitality is located right next to the first tram stop.

The courtyard of the House of Hospitality, inspired by Spanish architecture.  Note the palms and central, tiled fountain. 
Palm trees growing in the courtyard of the House of Hospitality.

The courtyard entrance to the Prado Restaurant in the House of Hospitality.

The charming, terraced patio of the Prado Restaurant, overlooking the Casa del Rey Garden and sheltered by towering palms overhead.

The Prado Restaurant also features a dining area located under the portico surrounding the House of Hospitality's quiet interior courtyard.

An exotic dragon tree, a member of the dracaena family, growing along El Prado, the main street within Balboa Park.

The San Diego Museum of Art, opened in 1926 and designed to fit in with the other buildings constructed for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition.  The museum houses a diverse collection of art from 5,000 BC to the present day, with a special strength in Spanish art.

The entrance to the San Diego Museum of Man, located on El Prado.  The ornate façade features the shield of the United States, the coats of arms of California and Mexico, and busts of historical figures, including Junipero Serra, Philip III of Spain, Sebastián Vizcaíno, George Vancouver, Luís Jayme, Carlos III of Spain, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, Gaspar de Portolà, and Antonio de la Ascención.

The San Diego Museum of Man's distinctive 198-foot tall California Tower and the Spanish Colonial-inspired blue and gold tiled California Building, constructed for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-16.

The Old Globe Theatre, a venue for productions of Shakespeare plays.

The California Tower, framed by palm trees.

The Alcazar Garden.

The ornate tiled fountain in the Alcazar Garden. 

An arcade linking the House of Hospitality (right) to the Casa de Balboa (left).

Palms and other exotic plants frame a view of one of the covered arcades and the California Tower, looking west from in front of the Botanical Building.

The modernist Timken Museum of Art (1965) offers free admission and features 60 paintings, sculptures, and tapestries by European old masters, as well as American and Russian artists.  It is the only museum in San Diego to hold a Rembrandt in its permanent collection.

The Botanical Building, the most photographed site in San Diego.  Built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition to showcase plants native to Southern California and tropical and temperate species from around the world, the slatted redwood lath roof allows air and natural light to penetrate to the 1,200 plants housed within. 

The central lagoon in front of the Botanical Building fronts onto El Prado and is located across the street from the House of Hospitality.

A closer look at the Botanical Building.

 Some views inside the Botanical Building:

A guide to the gardens found in Balboa Park:

The Casa de Balboa, housing the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the Museum of Photographic Arts, and the San Diego History Center.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum opened in 1982 to "preserve the heritage of railroading through a series of miniature representations of California railroads, research and preserve the history of model railroading, and educate the public in the many different aspects of railroading."  The museum features 27,000 square feet of model railroad layouts in N, O, and HO scales, making it the largest such indoor display in North America.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum tour guide:

A view inside the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.  Enormous and intricately-detailed layouts flank both sides of the pathway through.

One of the members of the clubs who design and build the model railroad layouts in the museum operates a model train.

Historic tourism posters by some of the railroads that operated in Southern California in the early- to mid-20th century are displayed on the walls.

Some photos of the incredibly-detailed layouts exhibited in the museum:

The Casa del Prado building along El Prado.

A large fountain attracts visitors and amateur musicians at the far eastern end of Balboa Park.  The fountain is located in a plaza, flanked by the Rueben H. Fleet Science Center and the San Diego Natural History Museum (seen on the right in the background).
The fountain also attracts local ducks.
A giant Moreton Bay fig tree, planted in Balboa Park in preparation for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition.
The Desert Garden offers visitors a winding walk through a surreal display of exotic cacti, succulents, and palms, ranging from tiny, delicate specimens to enormous, towering trees.

The Desert Garden's steep slope descending to Florida Drive, which cuts through Balboa Park.  The arid nature of Southern California is evident in the brown, dusty slope and scrubby vegetation in the distance.

The Palm Canyon, located in Cabrillo Canyon, one of the two canyons that cut across Balboa Park.  Over 450 palm trees of 58 different species are planted in this lush, quiet two-acre valley.  The original group of Mexican fan palms date from 1912, when they were planted for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition.    
Some views from inside the Palm Canyon:

Palms soar into the sky in Palm Canyon.

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion, constructed for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition.  When not being played, the 100,000 pound organ is protected by the large roll-down door.  The pavilion is named after its patrons, San Diego business magnate John D. Spreckels and his brother Adolph B. Spreckels, who donated $100,000 to build the pavilion and acquire the organ as a gift to the people of San Diego and the world. 
Free concerts are put on every Sunday at 2:00 pm by The Spreckels Organ Society, with San Diego's Civic Organist, Dr. Carol Williams, playing the 4,518 pipes comprising the organ.  The pipes range from 30 feet long to the size of a pencil.  
Organist Dr. Carol Williams speaks to the crowd before commencing the musical program on Sunday, 12 January 2014.  A representative of the Spreckels Organ Society holds the sheet music down in the breeze.
Local artists display their wares at an outdoor art show in Balboa Park on Sunday, 12 January 2014.

The Mingei International Museum, exhibiting folk art, craft, and design from 141 countries and spanning from the 3rd century BC to the present day.  The museum is housed in the House of Charm in the Plaza de Panama, across the street from the House of Hospitality. 
Cacti in the Desert Garden, located behind the Balboa Park Club building.
The Balboa Park Club, constructed to house the State of New Mexico exhibit at the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition and enlarged for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.  Now used as a community centre and event venue.
The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages were constructed for the 1935 California Pacific Exposition and house cultural exhibits from a variety of countries.  Open to visitors every Sunday from noon to 4:00 pm, representatives present information on their home countries and traditions, and serve ethnic food and beverages.  Countries represented include England, Scotland, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, China, the Philippines, Italy, Israel, Ireland, Poland, and the United States. 

The Germany pavilion.
The Scotland pavilion.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park was established in 1968 and is the most visited State Park in California.  Showcasing historic buildings dating from the Mexican and early American periods (1821 to 1872), the park sits on the site of San Diego's original settlement.  The adjacent Presidio Park is home to the first European settlement on the west coast of the United States, a military outpost of Spanish California founded by Gaspar de Portolà, as well as the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, founded by Father Junípero Serra, both established in 1769. 

The excellent defensive geography of Presidio Hill offered protection against European enemies and Indians, and the town of San Diego began developing at the base of the hill in the 1820s.  However, due to its distance from navigable water and the associated difficulties in transporting supplies to the town from Point Loma, San Diego's population remained small until newcomer Alonzo Horton began promoting development of 'New Town', the area currently comprising downtown San Diego.  By 1871, with citizens and business abandoning Old Town, New Town had overtaken Old Town as the city centre.

Today, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park combines historic buildings and free museums with restaurants (mostly Mexican) and stores selling souvenirs and Mexican handicrafts.  Demonstrations and regularly-scheduled free tours provide visitors with a taste of life in 19th century San Diego.    

MoMI's visit to Old Town San Diego occurred the evening of 10 January 2014.

The Derby-Pendleton House, a prefabricated house shipped around Cape Horn in 1850 was originally built in New Town but relocated to Old Town circa 1851.  Captain George A. Pendleton, San Diego's first county clerk and recorder, purchased the house in 1855 as his office.  In 1962, the house was moved to its current site near Whaley House.
Colorado House was originally a hotel and today houses the Wells Fargo Museum.  A reconstruction of the original 1860 building, the museum is furnished to resemble a Wells Fargo agent's office and features an 1867 vintage stagecoach.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel began life in the early 1800s as the single-story home of Don A. Bandini which, in 1846, became the headquarters of Commodore Robert F. Stockton.  Purchased in 1869 by Alfred Seeley, a second story was added and the building reopened as the Cosmopolitan Hotel.  Today, visitors can stay in the hotel and dine in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant.  
A nighttime view of the Cosmopolitan Hotel's veranda.
The main dining room inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.  The décor is late 19th century, with antique lamps, period furniture, wooden floors, and historically accurate reproduction wallpaper. 
The Cosmopolitan Hotel's outdoor covered dining patio, illuminated by lamps.  the tall propane-fired heaters take the edge off the cool night air.
A natural gas fire pit on the Cosmopolitan Hotel's patio provides light and warmth on a cool January night.

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego zoo, located on 100 acres of leased land at the northern end of Balboa Park, was founded in 1922 to provide a permanent home to the exotic animal exhibitions that had been abandoned after the closure of the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.  Operated by the non-profit Zoological Society of San Diego, the animals,  equipment, and other assets of the zoo are owned by the City of San Diego.  The Zoo was a forerunner in the use of open-air, cageless exhibits designed to recreate the animals' natural habitats, and currently houses over 3,700 animals.
The colourful admission tickets to the San Diego Zoo.
The reverse side of one of the San Diego Zoo admission tickets.

The San Diego Zoo map provided to visitors at the main entrance:


Main Entrance

Flamingo pond

The Outback area

The view from atop one of the Zoo's double-decker Kangaroo Express Buses as it wends its way through the narrow, tree-lined access roads.  This shuttle, free with the one-day pass, allows visitors to hop on and off at designated stops throughout the zoo. 

The entrance to the Tiger Trail and tropical rain forest.  This path leads past the hippo pool, Malayan tiger enclosure, and tapir pen, amongst others. 

A koala sits in a eucalyptus tree in the Outback area.  The San Diego Zoo houses the largest number of koalas outside Australia.


A red panda, sleeping on a tree branch in Panda Canyon.

A Takin, a Chinese animal related to sheep and mountain goats.

The main attraction in Panda Canyon are the giant pandas.

A giant panda munches on bamboo leaves.

An inclined moving sidewalk takes visitors up through the Asian Passage.

An exhibit on California's tar ponds and the way in which they preserved the bones of prehistoric animals.

A South American maned wolf.

The gerenuk, also known as the Waller's gazelle, is a long-necked species of antelope native to Kenya, Tanzania, and southern Somalia. 

Speke's gazelles relax in their enclosure.

A Lesser Kudu

The polar bear enclosure.  Visitors can view the three resident polar bears in the rocky habitat as well as underwater, via a large Plexiglas wall. 

A polar bear eats a carrot.

A reindeer in the Northern Frontier zone.

Ducks swim in a pond located in the Northern Frontier zone.

A lioness stands up for a treat from her handler in the Elephant Odyssey zone.
The male and female lions sit at the fence awaiting treats during a demonstration by zookeepers.

African elephants

An Asian elephant stands under a simulated tree, which offers shade from the sun.  These structures also have sprinklers for bathing, and permit the keepers to hang items for the elephants' intellectual stimulation. 

A closer view of the Asian elephant.


A California condor sits atop a stump in its aviary.

A male greater one-horned rhinoceros named Surat, in his pen in the Urban Jungle zone. 

A burro and a zebra share a pen.

Masai giraffes in the Urban Jungle zone.  One of nine subspecies of giraffe, the Masai giraffe has spots resembling oak leaves, and is native to Kenya.

A giant anteater, native to Central and South America.

The Skyfari Aerial Tram, which takes visitors on a four-minute ride from one end of the Zoo to the other. 

A view of the Treetops Learning Centre and Treetops Café, as seen from the Skyfari Aerial Tram.
The Skyfari Aerial Tram offers fantastic views of the San Diego Zoo and surrounding Balboa Park.

Approaching the end of the Skyfari ride near the zoo exit. 

La Jolla

A wealthy seaside suburban neighbourhood 12 miles north of Downtown San Diego, La Jolla offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean from numerous beaches and parks along its craggy, curving seven-mile long coastline.  La Jolla enjoys mild year-round temperatures (average daily temperature of 21.4 degrees Celsius) and some of the highest real estate prices in the United States.   
The Pacific Ocean, as seen from Coast Boulevard in La Jolla, 11 January 2014.
A lifeguard tower overlooks the bluffs.
Children play in the surf while the waves crash over rocky outcrops.  Just a few feet away, several sea lions happily relaxed on the rocks or swam in the shallows.

 Seaport Village

Seaport Village is a waterfront pedestrian shopping and dining complex on San Diego Bay, catering to tourists.  The 70+ shops, galleries, and restaurants in Seaport Village are housed in quaint, free-standing buildings built in various architectural styles, including Victorian and traditional Mexican, complete with cobblestoned plazas, ponds with footbridges, fountains, and manicured gardens.  The 90,000 square feet of property comprising Seaport Village was built on landfill on the site of a burial ground for scurvy victims, dating from the 1782 Spanish expedition and called Punta de los Muertos (Point of the Dead).  Later this land served as a railroad yard before being developed into Seaport Village beginning in 1978; the complex opened in 1980.  A notable attraction is a working carousel, built in 1895 and featuring hand-carved animals.

The Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, as seen from Seaport Village at dusk.  The hotel's 40-story Harbor Tower (right) was opened in 1992, with the 33-story Seaport Tower (left) opening in 2003.  They are the third- and seventh-tallest buildings in San Diego, respectively and, with 1,628 rooms combined, make the Manchester Grand Hyatt Southern California's largest hotel.  The Top of the Hyatt bar is located on the 40th floor of the Harbor Tower, and offers spectacular views of San Diego Bay, Coronado Island, and even Mexico (just 15 miles to the south).

The westernmost plaza at Seaport Village, featuring a Spanish style tiled fountain.

Along with the ceramic-tiled buildings, native plants in raised beds and brickwork walking paths give Seaport Village a quaint feel.

Cabrillo National Monument

Operated by the United States National Park Service, the Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on 28 September 1542, the first European landfall on the west coast of the United States.  The park is located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula.  The Cabrillo National Monument was added to the National Register of Historic Places on 15 October 1966.  Offering stunning views of San Diego Bay, Coronado, and the Pacific Ocean, entrance to Cabrillo National Monument costs $5 for a car and its occupants, and includes re-entry good for seven days.

Attractions on the sprawling grounds of the Cabrillo National Monument include a visitor centre and gift shop, a museum on the Spanish expedition of 1542, a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, an exhibit on Point Loma's wartime coastal artillery defences, and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.  The Old Point Loma Lighthouse, built in 1855, sits atop the highest point in the park and is furnished as it was when a lighthouse keeper and his family lived in this isolated, windswept location from 1855 to the lighthouse's closure in 1891.

Check out the Cabrillo National Monument guide handed out to visitors by the National Parks Service:

The Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center, housing exhibits and a gift shop, as well as an observation deck overlooking San Diego Bay.
A freighter enters San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean.  Naval Air Station North Island and Coronado can be seen beyond the ship.
A closer look at Naval Air Station North Island and the freighter, the Dole Ecuador, a 16,488-ton container ship built in 1989 and registered in Nassau, Bahamas. 

A statue of Portuguese-born Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, located at Ballast Point on the Point Loma Peninsula, the spot where Cabrillo is believed to have landed on 28 September 1542.  After plans to install a statue of Cabrillo fell through in 1913 and 1926, the Portuguese government commissioned a sandstone statue in 1939 and donated it to the United States.  Placed in storage in Oakland, California, State Senator Ed Fletcher arranged to have the statue shipped to San Diego in 1949, where it was again placed in storage on the grounds of the Naval Training Center San Diego.  Finally, in 1949, the statue was installed at the Cabrillo Monument.  Severely damaged by weather and erosion, the original sandstone statue was replaced in 1988 by a limestone replica.
The Old Point Loma Lighthouse, competed in 1854 at this location, 422 feet above sea level.  It took more than a year for the five-foot-tall Fresnel lens to arrive from France, and the lighthouse was not lit for the first time until dusk on 15 November 1855.  In clear weather, the light could be seen from 25 miles away.

Sunset at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.  The high altitude location of the lighthouse posed problems, given the frequency of low clouds and fog, which rendered the light useless.  As such, on 23 March 1891, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse was closed and the New Point Loma Lighthouse, located at the bottom of the cliff, began operating.  The light in the Old Point Loma Lighthouse was restored by the National Park Service and lit in 1984 to celebrate the park's 130th birthday.  Today, the lighthouse is a museum dedicated to showing visitors what life was like for the lighthouse keeper and his family in this cramped, isolated structure.

A sculpture of a humpback whale sits in front of an actual whale backbone at the Whale Outlook, atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the Cabrillo National Monument.  The park is a good spot to watch migrating pods of whales as they travel between the waters off Mexico and Southern California and Alaska.

The view down the slope of the Point Loma Peninsula, looking out over the Pacific Ocean.
After the closure of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse in 1891, the New Point Loma Lighthouse was built at the bottom of the hill, avoiding the fog and low clouds which often masked the light from the old lighthouse, located 422 feet above.
Some of the strange and exotic native species found on the windswept Point Loma Peninsula.  A radio antennae on the hill in the distance reminds visitors that the US military still has an active presence on Point Loma.  Indeed, the Cabrillo National Monument is located on the grounds of Naval Base Point Loma.

The sun sets over a hazy Pacific Ocean, as seen from Sunset Cliffs Boulevard on Point Loma.

The steep, craggy cliffs of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park on Point Loma.  The same day that this photo was taken, 12 January 2014, a 25-year old woman fell 50 feet to her death at this park while watching the sunset.

A brilliant orange sun sets on the horizon of the Pacific Ocean at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.
The last glimpse of the setting sun marks the end of Sunday, 12 January 2014.


A wealthy neighbourhood of San Diego, Coronado lies across San Diego Bay from the city's downtown core, on a peninsula connected to the mainland by a 10-mile isthmus.  The word Coronado means 'the crowned one' in Spanish, and the town was established in 1885 as the precursor to the construction of the world famous Hotel del Coronado, which opened in 1888.  The entire western end of the Coronado peninsula is occupied by the United States Navy's Naval Air Station North Island.  Although Coronado was originally separated from North Island by a shallow channel, development of North Island by the US Navy before and during the Second World War saw the channel completely filled in by 1943.  To the southeast of Coronado, on the isthmus, is another US Navy installation, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.  The San Diego-Coronado bridge linking downtown San Diego to Coronado opened in 1969, providing easier access than by ferry or via State Route 75 along the isthmus. 


On the way to Coronado via the San Diego Freeway (California Highway 5).
Crossing the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.
A view of downtown San Diego, as seen while crossing the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.
Part of the Hotel del Coronado, these beachfront cottages cost $1,000 per night and up.
A view of Coronado Beach, just off Ocean Boulevard on Coronado.
The surf crashes onto a quiet Coronado Beach.  In May 2012, the Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research called Coronado Beach the best beach in the United States.
The Orange Avenue sign for the famous and historic Hotel del Coronado, a Coronado landmark since 1888.  The hotel's guests over the years have included numerous presidents, celebrities, and even royalty.
The upscale and luxurious Hotel del Coronado features stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, manicured gardens, a spa, a shopping concourse on the lower level, and a number of fancy restaurants and bars. 
A gazebo sits in the middle of the Hotel del Coronado's lush and sunny courtyard.
A view of the main building of the Hotel del Coronado, built in the style of wooden Victorian beach resorts and fronting directly onto the wide, sandy expanse of Coronado Beach.
Beachgoers marvel at a sandcastle while the Wasp-class Amphibious Assault Ship USS Makin Island (LHD-8) exercises offshore.
Another view of the USS Makin Island, with the surf crashing onto Coronado Beach.
The waves rolls in on Coronado Beach.
A nonchalant seagull watches the few beachgoers on Coronado Beach.

Maritime Museum of San Diego

Established in 1948, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is located in San Diego Bay, on North Harbor Drive, across from the County Administration Center.  The museum houses one of the largest collections of historic vessels in the United States, including its centerpiece iron barque, Star of India. 

The 1898 ferry Berkeley houses exhibits on San Diego's maritime history, a gallery of nautical paintings, a gift shop, and a workshop used by staff to maintain the museum's collection of historic vessels.  As well, visitors can tour the Berkeley's engine and boiler rooms. 
A photo of the location currently occupied by the Maritime Museum of San Diego, as it appeared in the late 19th or early 20th century.  This photo is exhibited inside the Berkeley.
The tall ship HMS Surprise, built in 1970 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and originally named Rose.  The ship is based on the 20-gun Royal Navy frigate HMS Rose, built in 1757.  Sold to 20th Century Fox studios in 2001, the Rose portrayed HMS Surprise in the film Master and Commander: Far Side of the World, after which she was purchased and restored by the Maritime Museum of San Diego by 2007.  The ship has also appeared in the 2010 film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and sails several times a year in company with the museum's other tall ships.
The former Soviet Navy Project 641 (Foxtrot) diesel-electric attack submarine B-39, built in Leningrad between 1962 and 1967.  The Project 641 submarines were the Soviet Navy's largest non-nuclear submarines.  Commissioned on 28 December 1967, B-39 served in the Soviet Pacific Fleet, based in Vladivostok.  Patrolling in the North Pacific, along the west coast of North America, and in the Arctic and Indian oceans, B-39 spent much of its operational life shadowing US Navy warships.  In 1989, while surfaced in the Sea of Japan to recharge its batteries, B-39 came within 500 yards of a US Navy frigate; both crews took photos of each other.  Decommissioned on 1 April 1994, B-39 was sold to various interests until arriving at the Maritime Museum of San Diego on 22 April 2005.
The forward torpedo room in B-39.
The Captain's cabin aboard B-39.
Officers' wardroom.
A view down the main passageway aboard B-39.
A profile view of B-39, moored at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
The B-39 at dusk.  Note the substantial corrosion on her hull and sail.
A Vietnam-era Patrol Boat River (PBR) 'swift boat', recently acquired from the Maltese government.
Looking aft from the bow of the steam yacht Medea, built on the Clyde in 1904 for William Macalister Hall of Torrisdale Castle, Scotland.  Although designed as a luxury yacht, this boat was purchased by the French Government during the First World War, renamed Corneille, and armed with a 75mm cannon as a convoy escort.  Owned by various Members of British Parliament between the world wars, Medea was used by the Royal Navy during the Second World War to anchor barrage balloons at the mouth of the Thames River.  After passing between Norwegian, British, and Swedish owners after the Second World War, Medea was restored to its original condition and donated to the Maritime Museum of San Diego in 1973.
The aft sheltered lounge on Medea, used to protect the yacht's passengers from inclement weather.
The Medea's luxuriously appointed and wood-paneled forward dining saloon.
The US Navy's last diesel-electric submarine, USS Dolphin (AGSS-555).  Dolphin was a deep-diving research and development submarine, built between 1962 and 1968 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Maine.  Commissioned on 17 August 1968, Dolphin is 151 feet 11 inches long, displaces 875 tons, and had a speed of 10 knots surfaced and 7.5 knots submerged.  Despite completing a major refit and upgrade costing $50 million and lasting 3.5 years, Dolphin served only one more year before being decommissioned on 15 January 2007.  This decision was based on the $18 million annual cost of maintaining Dolphin in service.  The submarine was transferred to the Maritime Museum of San Diego in September 2008, opening to the public on 4 July 2009.      
The control room aboard USS Dolphin.
The officers' wardroom aboard USS Dolphin.  As a research and development submarine, Dolphin carried a typical crew of 3 officers, 20 ratings, and 4 scientists. 
Looking forward, up USS Dolphin's central passageway.
The interior of the ferry Berkeley, housing various exhibits on San Diego's maritime history, including the presence of the US Navy and San Diego's past as a tuna fishing hub.  Numerous large-scale model ships and dioramas are displayed in glass cases throughout the exhibit. 
A large model of the SS Yale, a 3,731 ton coastal passenger steamship, built in 1906.  The Yale and her sistership, Harvard, sailed the San Diego-Los Angeles-San Francisco route four times weekly.  Purchased by the US Navy in March 1918, the ship was commissioned as USS Yale and served until September 1919 as a troop transport between Britain and France.  Returning to commercial operations on the Pacific Coast in June 1920, Yale served 15 more years as a fast passenger vessel until being laid up in 1935.  Between 1940 and April 1943, Yale was used as a dormitory ship in Alaska, after which she was acquired by the US Navy and commissioned as USS Greyhound on 8 August 1943.  Decommissioned on 31 March 1944, the ship was used as a floating barracks in Puget Sound and, in November 1948, was placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, before being sold for scrapping on 5 June 1949.   
An exhibit detailing San Diego's history as a major tuna fishing port during the early- to mid-20th century.
The gangway leading up to the deck of the Star of India.
Star of India (ex-Euterpe):
Constructed on the Isle of Man as an iron windjammer and launched on 14 November 1863 under the name Euterpe (named after the Greek muse of music), the ship sailed between the United Kingdom and India, carrying jute.  Owned by various British ocean shipping companies, in 1871, Euterpe began carrying emigrants and freight to New Zealand for Shaw, Savill & Company.  These voyages, which lasted between 100 and 143 days and took the ship around the world each time, continued for the next 25 years.  Sold to American owners in 1899, Euterpe carried lumber, coal, and sugar between the Pacific Northwest, Australia, and Hawaii.  In 1901, Euterpe was sold to the Alaska Packers' Association of San Francisco and re-rigged as a barque.  Beginning in 1902, Euterpe carried fishermen, cannery workers, coal, and canning supplies each spring from Oakland, California to the Bering Sea, returning with a load of canned salmon each fall.  In 1906, the Alaska Packers' Association renamed the ship Star of India.  The Star of India was laid up in 1923 after 22 Alaskan voyages, and finally sold to the Zoological Society of San Diego in 1926 for use as a museum ship.  With this plan abandoned due to the Great Depression and the Second World War, restoration of the Star of India did not commence until 1957.  By 1976, the Star of India began sailing once more, and the ship is the world's oldest active sailing vessel and registered as a United States National Historic Landmark.        
A profile view of the three-masted barque, Star of India, centrepiece of the museum's collection of historic ships.
The weather deck aboard Star of India.
Star of India's galley, at the forward end of the weather deck.
A view of Star of India's masts and rigging, looking aft from the forecastle.
The boatswain's stores and workshop, at the forward end of the weather deck.
Star of India's richly-appointed first class saloon, located at the aft end of the ship.  The Captain's cabin, Medical Officer's cabin, and charthouse, as well as first-class passenger cabins are located along the sides of the saloon.  A retractable glass canopy over the table allows natural light and fresh air into the saloon. A lounge aft of the saloon offers additional seating.
The Captain's relatively spacious cabin.
The lower deck of the Star of India, containing maritime history exhibits and model ships.  Originally, this deck was stuffed with cargo and, along the sides in small cabins, emigrants.
A model of the clipper Cutty Sark, circa 1869.
A view of the cargo holds on two decks, and the shafts through which cargo was lowered via the hatches overhead.
A workshop and cable storage in the bow of Star of India.
Star of India depicted in an oil painting now hanging aboard the ship.
Looking up through a cargo hatch from the lowest deck aboard Star of India.
The bridge of the Star of India.
Star of India's wheel and the binnacle housing the compass.
 A brochure about the Maritime Museum of San Diego's project to construct a replica of Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's flagship, San Salvador, from which he landed in San Diego Bay on 28 September 1542:


A paper gift bag used to store the refrigerator magnet purchased in the Maritime Museum of San Diego's gift shop on 13 January 2014.  The magnet resembles the museum logo, depicting the Star of India on an oval, with a white ceramic base.

We hope you enjoyed this tour of San Diego and its wonderful sights...


  1. A veritable tour de force. One feels one literally were seeing San Diego through MoMI's eyes.
    One complaint: the musical accompaniment only lasted a few minutes. I would like further (appropriate) songs interspersed through the narrative as part of the journey. And perhaps something jazzy to end on. I don't know, think Bill Conti and an 80s tv show about some female cops.

  2. To whom it may concern,

    I know that technically, since the trip took place in the U.S. it would be a "harbor" tour. However, I have come to expect that the MoMI publishes in the Queen's English. I trust this oversight will not appear in future posts.

    Sincerely, your friendly neighbourhood MoMI enthusiast.

  3. A great tour for sure, but I saw some relevance here and wanted to know why.
    Rev. of Relevance.