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May 18, 2017

The Hornbower - Cruising San Diego Bay

A nice thing living in San Diego there is no shortage of things to do or tourist attractions.  Fran’s brother Bobby and his wife Aleida made the long drive from Denver to join us for a week in San Felipe and another week here in San Diego.  Although they are frequent travelers to San Felipe, it was a treat to host them here in America’s Finest City.

We enjoyed the STREAK 44 Car Show, which I posted last week, and a 2 hour Hornblower Cruise on the San Diego Bay.
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The harbor cruise boats and the Coronado Ferry all depart next to Broadway Pier at the foot of Broadway.
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Our boat is the Adventure Hornblower which pulls into its slip next to the parking lot for the Midway.  The Midway parking lot is a good, 12 hr parking is $10, not a bad deal in this tourist area.
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The Adventure has tables on the upper and stern decks.  That’s Fran sitting between her brother Bobby and sister Susan, Aleida is on the left.  Susan is also a local and lives in Pacific Beach.
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I’ve never seen anybody take more selfies than Aleida.  Well if I looked that good, maybe I’d take a few too.
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Our tour started with a counter-clockwise loop north to Point Loma and return along North Island.  A seat on the right hand side is an advantage.

The world’s oldest active sailing ship, the Star of India looks good with the fresh paint and new weather decks.  Along with other exhibits of the Maritime Museum are the first landmarks of note.
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The iconic San Diego skyline is quite recognizable, even under the May Gray overcast .   The shorter (40’ limit) on the left allows for planes to land at Lindbergh Field.  The Casterra has replaced the venerable Ruben E Lee paddle wheeler, which sank to the bottom of San Diego Bay a little over 4 years ago. The food at Costerra is so-so, and priced for the wealthy tourist dollar, but the view of downtown is hard to beat.
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The lighthouse at Tom Ham's Lighthouse remains an operational beacon on the bay.  The Bali Hai still has the view, but it changed hands several years ago ... and not for the better.
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The Yokohama Friendship Bell is at the far end of Shelter Island.
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Some lazy harbor seals and hanging out at the bait tanks.
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A new arrival, this submarine arrived this morning along with others in the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).  (We’ll see more of the group on the South Loop.)  Despite the overcast the Coronado Islands in Mexico are visible from Point Loma as we make our turn.
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As we complete the turn below the Cabrillo National Monument we are passed by a tour boat from the Flagship line.
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Susan’s husband, Bob, volunteers at this little hanger on North Island.  It’s where the aircraft, both planes and helicopters, displayed on the Midway are refurbished.  As one of the very first to offer his services, I believe Bob has had a part restoring every plane that is on display.  You’ll see his name on a brass plaque on the Midway.
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The cruise boat returns to dock and to let off those who are either on the 1 hour tour, or have completed their 2 hour tour, and picks up another load of passengers.  The Midway’s Welcome Home sign might be for the cruise ships, but it’s not a coincidence that it shows off the statue of the Unconditional Surrender Statue.  The Bob Hope memorial plaza is next door.
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Our loop south also begins counter-clockwise to the Coronado Ferry Landing and the fancy restaurants with their private docks.  Peohe’s is another expensive option, with just average food with a fabulous view!  It is also priced for the tourist, not the locals.
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After passing the ferry landing the cruise continues south, but now clock-wise.  The left side of the boat now offers the better views.  That’s a load of bananas bound for the local grocery stores.
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Soon the Naval Base San Diego shows that we are indeed still a Navy town.
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This odd looking construction will eventually be the first of a new generation of destroyers.  The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is being tweaked after returning from various test trials.
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New construction is also done in San Diego.  This tanker ship has yet to get its hull wet.
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Note the welcome home leis?  These two are also part of the returning Makin Island ARG.
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The aircraft carriers are too tall to fit under the Coronado Bay Bridge.  But the squat USS Essex (LHD 2)  carrying both helicopters and other vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft do not have that restriction.  On the deck is a Marine Harrier Jump Jet.
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Passing back under the bridge I notice the fresh paint.  Now those guys have a view from their office!
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The boat returns past the Mega-Yacht Harbor, Embarcadero Park, Seaport Village
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I’ll end this cruise with a restaurant I can recommend, The Fish Market, good fresh seafood at market prices.  Enjoy the Bob Hope and the Unconditional Surrender displays as they are practically in the entrance, then a nice dinner with a sunset view.
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Cost:  At $30 ea for the cruise it would have been a big expense.  But Fran found a Groupon for $15 ea or $55 for 4.  Total for the 5 us came in at $70 and it was a lot of fun.

Bob in his purple Midway shirt escorted them on an insider's tour of the Midway – a 3 hour tour!  I did not join them, but Bob did a great job of getting everybody tired on all the stairs!
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My younger brother is visiting next week, perhaps some OTL?

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