Saturday, February 2, 2008

Geocaching on the "Big Bay" San Diego


My workweek ended with an early Friday. I aced a test for my new job training and was done for the rest of the day. My company headquarters is on Harbor Drive in Downtown San Diego. This is right on the San Diego Bay, also known as The Big Bay.

It was a beautiful day. The sun had come out and I had mapped out 8 caches along the Embarcadero at the edge of the bay. It was only about 10:00 in the morning and with the exception of a few homeless people and the occasional jogger/biker, the sidewalk was empty. I made my first find quickly. It was an electrical box magnetically stuck to the back of an electrical station used by a large tour boat docked below. No one saw me? I thought the muggles would be a much bigger problem than this. As it turned out, they would be.

As I continued my walk, I passed the Maritime Museum of San Diego. This is home to 5 historic ships that can be toured for a small entrance fee. The ship that really catches your eye is the Star of India. Star of India is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the worlds oldest active ship. Named a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and a California State Historic Landmark in 1999, Star of India has been awarded both the American and World Ship Trust Maritime Heritage Awards. First launched at Ramsey, Isle of Man as a British full-rigged ship named Euterpe in 1863, Star of India was rigged down to a bark in 1901 when she was used to work the salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Full rigged means that there are square-rigged sails on all three of the masts. A bark is a sailing vessel with three masts, the front and middle masts square-rigged, the rear mast rigged fore-and-aft. Laid up in retirement in Alameda while steamships ruled the oceans, Star of India was restored just in time to sail again for the first time in nearly 50 years on the Fourth of July, 1976. I believe the Star is also the only iron hulled sailing ship still in operation.

This Museum is also home to a 300 foot, 2000 ton, Soviet B-39 submarine, a stem ferryboat built in 1898, a steam yacht built in 1904, and the HMS Surprise. The Surprise is the ship used in the movie, Master and Commander, starring Russell Crowe. This ship is an outstanding replica of an 18th Century British Royal Navy Frigate. Another ship of interest is the Californian. The Californian is a "tall ship" replica of an 1847 revenue cutter and was launched in 1984 during the Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles. In July 2003, The Californian, was designated the official Tall Ship of the State of California by the Governor at the time.

I continued on, past the San Diego Cruise Ship terminal and into Seaport Village. My next cache attempt was at Hope and Happiness. I found the cache immediately but just as I spotted it, a tour bus pulled up and opened its doors right at ground zero. I waited for 50 tourists to unload only to see that the bus driver had no interest in the attractions and was sitting in his seat staring at me.

I used this muggle opportunity to snap a few photos of the Bob Hope Memorial and A 25 foot statue of the famous WWII photo known as, "The Kiss". This monument is called, Unconditional Surrender, and no, there is nothing to look at up her dress!

This is also home to the USS Midway CV-41 Museum. The USS Midway was in service for 47 years and set new standards of naval aviation in the latter half of the 20th century. A captured German V-2 rocket was launched off the USS Midway in 1947—the dawn of naval missile warfare. The USS Midway blazed new trails of sub-Arctic air operations off the coast of Greenland. It was the first carrier home ported in a foreign country, calling Yokosuka, Japan home for 18 years. When others came home, the USS Midway remained at the “tip of the sword” on an odyssey shared by 225,000 Americans that spanned the surrender of Japan in WWII, the Cold War, Vietnam, the era of d├ętente and Desert Storm.

The name, Midway, was actually taken from a smaller escort carrier for the commissioning of the new class of carrier. The name was in honor of a great American victory in WWII and the Navy wanted to use that powerful name for it's new carrier. The smaller ship, renamed "Saint Lo" was tragically sunk off the island of Samar by the hands of a Japanese Kamikaze. My grandfather was on the Saint Lo when the Kamikaze pilot, Lieutenant Yukio Seki, reached his destiny. Grandpa Smith earned a Purple Heart for surviving the incident. Many US Navy Sailors believe it is bad luck to rename a ship and the 143 brave men killed that day on that ship alone would probably agree.

My other attempts at nearby caches proved to be too risky. It was now lunchtime and it was the nicest day we had seen in a week or so. The muggles were out in force and every cache I approached had tons of people surrounding it. I was able to pick up one find and had fun checking out the attractions and checking out the people too. I said goodbye to Bob Hope's friends below and headed home. This is a wonderful section of San Diego. I recommend anyone traveling to the area take time to visit these sites.


1 comment:

Tinman105 said...

Hey those are some cool pics. We got boats too! We got a casino and a paddleboat! How many lude pictures do you think have been taken of the woman on the end?

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