Welcome and thanks for stopping by.
My reference links will open in a new tab.

If you have any corrections, suggestions, comments please use the Comments at the end of the post.
I do respond to all comments. - Thanks!

October 02, 2019

Cabrillo Festival - Ballast Point

On Sept 28 1542 Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed his ship, the San Salvador, into what is now San Diego Bay.  He landed at Ballast Point near Smugglers Cove and named the land San Miguel, claiming it for Spain.

The official debate continues if Cabrillo was from Portugal sailing under the Spanish flag, or from Spain.  In San Diego he is Portuguese – end of discussion!

Smugglers Cove is 2 miles inside Naval Base Point Loma.

This is the Naval Base just past Shelter Island occupying all the property up Point Loma to the Cabrillo National Monument.

As we arrived Spanish dancers had the main stage, with castanets and taps on their shoes, it was quite the audio performance.

After 4 years of construction at Spanish Landing a modern copy of the Cabrillo's San Salvador was launched in 2015.

The San Salvador offers 4 hr hour tours in the bay or longer excursions along the California coast and to Santa Catalina Island.  But every year this week it is used to replicate the Cabrillo landing.

Cabrillo and his landing party are rowed to shore in an authentic landing boat from 1542.

For the reenactment the party includes his soldiers and priest as they climb the berm at Smugglers Cove in the lee of Ballast Point.

After a blessing by his priest

Cabrillo plants the flag of the Spanish Empire

He then plants the flag of New Spain representing the Spanish Territories in the New World.

and declares the land for Spain.  His declaration can be heard HERE

There's a photo-op after the landing.

While many were getting selfies with Cabrillo and crew, we decided to check out the vendors.  The National Park Service displays the food choices of the Kumeyaay of 1542.

We passed on the DIY acorns when we spotted a big pot of paella at Spain’s booth. 

The paella was good, but we were surprised there was no offering of Portuguese fare.  However, it’s about time for the Portuguese to take the main stage.  Miss Cabrillo Fest 2019 (Marlaena Camacho) has a smile that would light up any stage and she is Portuguese.

In traditional outfits, the young Portuguese danced first, cute stuff. 

Dance takes a lot of concentration!

Followed by the adult dancers

If you're thinking of attending you’ll need picture identification to enter the Naval Base, bicyclists need helmets, the parking garage has a max 6’ clearance.  There is motorcycle parking at the garage entrance.

Parking at the top of the 5 story garage offers a nice view, but there is no elevator.

The scooter is the best choice for us, although it is an easy bike ride from Shelter Island.


  1. What a fun re enactment of this event sure would be a great celebration. thanks for taking us along.

    1. It's hard to image getting in that bouncing landing craft wearing 60 lbs of armor! Yes it was interesting to watch.

  2. Living history is the best.

    1. Glad to see you are healing! Didn't think of the difference between 'living' history and a museum exhibit - you are so right!

  3. Man I misread the title and got excited to hear about (and read about) the Cabrito Festival... alas no BBQ goat here...

    1. LOL - I would have let Fran enjoy the rice and try the cabrito myself.

  4. We've always enjoyed our visits to the monument. Watching the reenactment would really bring the story to a better understanding. Thanks for sharing.

    1. As Gaelyn mentioned it is fun to see a living history reenactment, kinda brings it to life. Thanks for joining in the fun.


I welcome any corrections, additions and more links that tie in to this post. Please place them in your comments. Your comments are always appreciated! and I will reply to all comments.