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November 12, 2023

The Big Bay - Boats and Bombs

As a local we refer to the San Diego Bay as the ‘Big Bay ‘and Mission Bay as … Mission Bay.  Not sure why my ‘Little Bay’ doesn’t have a nickname.

This post is about happenings on the Big Bay this past couple weeks.

Boats 1:

I went to the Cabrillo National Monument for the start of the Baja Ha-Ha XXIX (29thF annual).

The Baja Ha Ha is not a race, it identifies itself as a rally for cruisers.  Slow and fun from 750 mile two-week cruise San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.   In pre-Covid the HaHa would draw some 300 boats, post Covid this year drew less than 150.

There are 3 groups in the HaHa, Shelter Island hosts Group A, Group B starts from Coronado and C from Chula Vista.  The staggered starts prevent congestion.

The official start is at 10 am, all staging points start at the same time.

Baja HaHa Group A at Shelter Island

And away they go ….

Entering the jetty with their pace boat  …

Clearing the jetty as the pace boat falls back …

This Navy LCS was entering the jetty, so the rest of Group A raised their sails to reserve their Right-of-Way.

The last of the Group A boats as they clear the North Island Naval Base.

And they turn south toward Cabo.  I did not stay for the other groups.


I have a previous blog on what it takes to be a Bomb, HERE.

This year the BombFest was held at Marina Park just south of Seaport Village.

 A fabulous venue for Bombs and potential bombs 1954 and older.

The flyer says cars and trucks, but a motorcycle can be tricked out into a bomb.  Fran would like to ride this Harley, from Eastside Bombers, home.

That’s the Coronado Bay Bridge in the background.

Lots of multigenerational dedication is needed to build and maintain a bomb. Each generation adds their own touch as the project continues in the family.

A lot of cars are lined up for inspection on the grass.

A beautiful early V-8 Ford

I am a fan of the suicide doors.  Really opens up the interior.

Snow White looks to remain pretty much original.

Convertibles are not common in the bomb displays, but there were quite a few at this show.

And even a Mercedes!

My mom had a hardtop Plymouth with a rumble-seat with ‘three-in-the-tree'.  We should have kept it!

Some bombs were slammed to the ground.

Some had potential, the visor is a start.

This under hood airbrush is worth more than my truck!

But the early trucks are always my favorite!  Here’s a few …


I had a favorite, do you?

This was a fabulous venue, I hope that it can be held here again.

Boats 2:

The Star of India sails again!  The world’s oldest active sailing vessel.  First put to sea in 1863, but has not left its dock in five years.  This is her first time under sail since Covid.

Here she comes, under tow, in front of Harbor Island.  The sails are completely furled.

As she passes Liberty Station the sails are being prepared to be unfurled.

In front of Shelter Island those in the masts have to ready the sails.

Still under tow, the Star passes North Island.  The masts workers are all down, note the passengers on the aft deck who paid handsomely just to ride along …

A close up of the paid passengers.

More sails set as she clears the jetty, but still under tow..

I like this picture.  This is a black-and-white picture, but this is what the camera saw while passing in front of the sun.

Mexico’s Coronado Islands in the background as the tow is being released.

A replica of the San Salvador arrives to the party.  The San Salvador was Cabrillo’s ship and the first ship of any nation to reach our west coast, the year was 1542.

The tall sailing ship California arrives to join the regatta.

The California was purpose built as a sailing schooner to offer tours of San Diego.

And not to be left out the Hawaiian Sailing Catamaran Hōkūle‘a is the last to join.

What fun!  I’ve not seen the Hōkūle‘a before!

Fran joined me to watch the boats return.  We parked on Shelter Island with our bikes for a ride to Point Loma Seafoods.  Then we planned to ride a bit, but alas I got a flat as we left!  It was a long walk back to the truck.

We set out our chairs and it was about an hour before the parade began led by the Star of India and the San Salvador.

The Star of India enters the jetty

a few minutes before the San Salvador

Here she comes, so elegant under full sail

Followed by the San Salvador

And the Hōkūle‘a joins in.  She is heading back to her Hawaiian home port next week.

The California under full sail

The training ship Bill of Rights, I didn't know she was here for this sail.

Ain't she just the Bomb ???