After a successful run to Oceanside for an overnight stay, we set out in the morning for the final leg of our journey. Despite all of the problems with the transmission, we knew we would make it San Diego—if only because we made a pact that should we break down, we would have Vessel Assist tow us there. But make it there we did and under our own steam, which made our entry into San Diego Bay that much more triumphant.
That being said, we had a long time to bask in our glory. San Diego Bay is huge! You’ve got the city on one side (including an airport and a military base) and Coronado Island on the other (which also has a military base but it’s slightly cooler than the other one because they’ve got helicopters and jets) and in between the two is a large expanse of water where not only are there a dozen marinas, terminals and commercial docks, but it’s also where the navy likes to park their battleships. In fact, the bay is so big that they have one aircraft carrier on the city side and another on the island side and yet there’s still plenty of room to fit a small country (a well-protected small country!) in the middle. Connecting city side with island side is the Coronado Bridge which stretches upwards of 200 feet at mid-span but apparently only crosses a body of water that's two feet deep, which we discovered when we ran aground. Did I mention we ran aground in the middle of San Diego Bay? We totally ran aground. In our defense…when one is faced with a 200 foot high bridge spanning a wide bay and there are battleships on the other side of the bridge, doesn’t it stand to reason that the water underneath the taller spans would be dredged deep enough to accommodate a navy destroyer? You know, a ship with a 60-foot draft? We certainly thought so, especially since we were following the channel markers and keeping the red buoys on our right as per protocol. It was only when we started catching on the seabed that we looked back and realized the channel had split into two separate channels right under the span with one making a dogleg to the left side and the other making a sharp turn to right. (Thanks, unnamed cruising guide that starts with a "D" for neglecting to mention that.) Fortunately, the sand was soft and we were able to nudge our way back into the proper channel. Luckily, the only witnesses to our little faux pas were the two 12-man navy teams zipping around us in their high-speed boats, the crews of two military police boats waiting in the channel for the return of “Warship 25”, the dock crews waiting for “Warship 25”, the four helicopters keeping tabs on “Warship 25”, and in all likelihood “Warship 25” as I’m sure we were on their radar. Editor’s Note: Though news of its imminent return was all over the VHF, we didn’t actually get to see “Warship 25”. It’s too bad…I’ve never seen a battleship with a two foot draft before.
At last, a little over an hour after entering San Diego Bay, we passed through the breakwater at Chula Vista Marina—the place we will call home for the next few months as we complete some projects aboard Raven, recharge our resolve, and determine where we go from here. We learned a lot, but you’ll have to wait a couple days to read about it. The first order of business is to crack open a bottle of champagne, sit back and watch the sun set over the bay, and wonder aloud, “Did we really just travel 1300 miles by boat from Puget Sound to San Diego? How the hell did we manage that?”
SPECIAL THANKS to Pam and Mike of S/V Kamalani Kai in Everett for the champagne. We had saved it to celebrate our arrival in San Diego and must admit there were times we thought it would go unopened (and a couple times we thought it would be destroyed during the rough stuff). It was probably the best champagne we’ve ever had!
Pictured: Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne (aka Our Fave!)
Not Pictured: The plastic cups we drank it out of (the glass ones didn't survive the trip)
Pictured: San Diego coming into view
Not Pictured: The parade, fireworks and key to the city (alas, only in our heads)
Pictured: Approaching the Coronado Bridge
Not Pictured: The look of wonder turned to shock upon realizing it was merely a fancy crossing for a duck pond