I mostly put San Diego's Maritime Museum on my list of things to do because I thought Sylvain would enjoy it being the avid sailing enthusiast that he is. But you know what? I enjoyed it just as much as he did! The Maritime Museum is not your typical museum - it gives visitors a chance to explore several historic boats, sailboats and submarines at their own pace. You don't need to follow a guided tour and unless there's a restricted access sign, you're free to go wherever you want and touch whatever you want. This hands-on approach is what I enjoyed the most, and having the unique opportunity to explore real-life submarines (you might want to skip them if you're claustrophobic) was rather fantastic! Make sure to plan sufficient time to tour around all the boats - you'll need at least 90 minutes to complete your visit.
The main part of the Maritime Museum is located on San Diego Bay between Little Italy and Downtown San Diego. There is another part of the museum down by Harbor Island. The main part houses several displays relating to the history of exploration of the area by sea and all things maritime. There is a Russian Submarine here; the USS Dolphin which has dived deeper than any other manned submarine; you can book passage on the Californian, the official tall ship for the state; take a cruise of the bay on the 1914 pilot boat; and see the oldest active sailing ship in the world, the Star of India. The other part is the San Salvador Village (named after Cabrillo's flagship) which is a recreation of a mid-16th Century seaport village. Hours are 9 AM to 8 PM (Main Site) and 11 AM to 4 PM (San Salvador Village), Admission is $16 for adults, $13 for senior, military and kids 13 to 17 and $8 for kids 4 to 12 (as of November 2012) and covers both sites.
The Maritime Museum consists of the following ships:
San Salvador, Star of India, HMS Surprise, Californian, Steam Ferry Berkeley, Steam Yacht Medea, B-39 Submarine, USS Dolphin Submarine, SD Harbor Pilot Boat and the America.
On my Parade of Sail Travelogue Also in Local Customs tip titled, Festival of Sail there are more photos of the Tallships that spark the imagination.
These ships are open for tours and the cost of admission is quite reasonable.
Admission:(Includes all ships and exhibits, but not sailing options.)
Adults - $14.00
Senior (62 yrs +) and Active Military(w/ID) - $11.00
Students (17 yrs to 13 yrs) - $11.00
Children (12 yrs to 6 yrs) - $8.00
Children (5 and under) - Free
While taking a walk along the Harbor it is impossible to miss the Star of India and a tour of it alone is worth the price. It is fun for young children to explore and especially to get behind the big wheel and pretend to sail away! (A great photo opt.)
On most weekends, the, "Adventure Sail aboard Californian" is offered for an added fee and it is really quite an exciting thing to participate in sailing this schooner, which is the Official Tall Ship of the State of California.
On special occasions the Star Of India is taken out for a sail on the bay.
Check their website for details on "Battle Days:" A day of sailing which includes a cannon fight between the Lynx and the Californian. I've been on the bay while these battle rage. It is loud and looks exciting and fun.
If you are visting San Diego, you must see the H.M.S. Suprise.
This ship was in the Master and Commander movie.
She is a very beautiful ship, and is a replica of the H.M.S. Rose.
You are able to board the ship and walk around on the deck, quater deck, and down below to the cannons, galley/sleeping quaters, Surgens Quaters, and the Captians Cabin.
They have restored this ship as accurate as possible, with some extras that Fox studios wanted to add. They have on board, clothes and props from the movie that you can view.
When down below deck, you can hear the people walking around on top and it makes you feel like you are on a working ship.
Please check out my H.M.S. Suprise page in my Album to see pictures and descripitions of this ship.
The Museum has 2 other historic tall ships which are the, Star of India and the Californian.
If you like to sail on the Californian, you can for 30.00 dollars each person. The price gets you into all of the museum exhibts and is worth it. But call first or vist there website for days of the half day sails.
The Star of India is a another ship that the museum has.
This ship is the biggest tall ship that they have. She is has been very well preserved and is worth it to board this ship.
It is something to see when the shipsmen go to the top of the masts to drop the sails.
You start to think, that these men, in the past, had to this out on the ocean and at sometimes with ruff seas.
When on the ship, you need to go down to the storgae area just to see how big this ship is. You will also see below deck, sleeping quaters, Captians, and Surgeons, along with all kinds of displays.
Up on the top deck and Quarter deck you can walk around and just take in the history of this ship.
The Californian is a working tall ship. You can for 30.00 dollars go on a half day sail on the bay. The ship leaves at 1pm and returns at 4 pm.
This is a good way to just relax and enjoy the views.
They will ask you if you would like to participate in hoisting the sails. This is fun and so worth it.
Just pay attention to the instructions they give you, because it is very important. If you get tired quickly, don't particpate in this. You are hoisting a sail that wieghs a few thousand pounds, and just because there are 8 or 10 people in your group, it stills gets real heavy. You don't want to slack off, because you could put people in danger.
If you want to, the Captian will aslo let you sail the ship. He will tell what to do and how to it, so don't be afraid to just ask to sail.
On your back to the dock they will fire off the two "guns" not cannons. Don't call them cannons while on the ship.
They are very loud, but exciting. These "guns" I believe, are 6 or 9 pounders so they are not as big as you might think, but they weigh 800 hundred pounds.
So if you want to go sailing on a historic tall ship, visit the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Constructed at the Spanish landing in San Diego, she is a replica of the 1848 Revenue Cuter C.W. Lawrence that patrolled the coast of California during the gold rush in 1851. The revenue Marines along with other federal vessels were consolidated into the US Coast Guard in 1915. She has 7,000 square feet of canvas for speed and armed with four six pound deck guns. Launched in 1984 for the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, she was official made in 2003 the designated tall ship of the State Of California. Now she serves as a sea educational program for young and old alike that sails out almost everyday. She is a real gem to the San Diego and to the state of California.
Built by Manuel Goularte, Pilot served for 82 years as San Diego’s official pilot boat, what that is when Harbor Pilots are used to help steer very large vessels in and out of ports safely. During WWII she was put into service as patrol boat and still carrying passengers to and from other ships. Secretary of War authorized the display of six chevrons on her stack for every six months of service. She was docked in 1996 due to her deteriorating condition and donated to the Maritime Museum where volunteers lovingly restored her to her former glory.
This vessel was gone at the time, but is part of the Maritime Museum and have they give harbor tours. Check out their web line for more information Pilot Harbor Tours
This was an actual Russian Soviet era “Foxtrot” class NATO designation or “Project 641” Soviet Navy designation submarine. She was constructed in the Sudomekh shipyards near Leningrad and commissioned in 1974. This was one of largest diesel electric submarines ever built in its class. She shadowed much of the US navy ships during the cold war. B-39 carried a crew of 78 and could dive to a depth of 985 feet before threatening the integrity of her nickel steel pressure hull. These ships played a big part of the cold war during the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam War.
I will admit I was very reluctant to board her, but my family was pretty excited to get to explore in it. As we enter her, you need to be careful because there are hazards everywhere. Steep medal stair, valves, knobs, pipes, panels and many other things you could potentially hit your head on. Yet, the one thing of course is the close quarters. One family came in just behind us, but before you know it they went around us except for the dad. He kind of turned around and said, hey were did my wife go. I said, I think she headed out as soon as she could. We practically had the whole sub to ourselves and explored all it had to offer. We were all impressed and enjoyed it very much. You have to admire the individuals who served on vessels like these. It was not an easy task.
Named after a figure in Greek mythology, she was originally owned by William Macalister Hall of Torrisdale Castle, Scotland. She was built of imported teak and quarter-sawn oak, which would explain her elegance to this day. She was built to use as a hunting vessel for around the waterways around Scotland. She eventually ended up back in hand of the very individual who built her, John Stephen. When WWI broke out, she was purchased from the French Navy, renamed the Corneille and put into service as a gun boat complete with a 75mm gun, depth charges, and an observation balloon and escorted the French sailing ships. She returned to her original British colors and name. When WWII she was put into service again for the Royal Navy as barrage balloon vessel. In the 50-60’s she served as a charter yacht. Then in 1971 she was brought by Paul Whittier from a Swedish owner and was restored and donated to the Maritime Museum in 1973. She still sails occasionally during special events.
From 1898 to 1958 Berkley operated as a ferryboat in the San Francisco Bay. She is a California State Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. She is still very stately and elegant. She nows serve as a museum, library, workshop, model shop, museum gift shop, and you can rent her for special events. Really take your time because she has so much to offer. There are lots to see aboard her. If you go on top is where the passengers use to sit and this is where the special events are held. It is where the restrooms are located at. There are numerous historic photographs and you can see the Californian Vessel passenger’s board and unload from her.
Historical Marker NO. 1031 FERRYBOAT BERKELEY
In 1906 when San Francisco had deadly earthquake, the Berkley carried thousands of survivors to safety since the much of the city was engulfed in fire. She went in extensive restoration in 2003 and in hopes that it will last another 50 years. She is truly a treasure!
18th Century Royal Navy Frigate (replica)
She was recreated as a Great Britain’s Nelson era Royal Navy and was originally known as the H.M.S. Rose in 1970. She served as a training vessel for over 30 years. She was purchased by the Maritime Museum in 2004 as the H.M.S. Surprise from 20th Century Fox and was modified for the production film Master and Commander: Far Side of the World. Director Peter Weir and Russell Crowe join forces to create an epic, emotional adventure. Based on author Patrick O'Brian's series of Aubrey/Maturin novels, the movie is set during the Napoleonic Wars. She cannot sail as a training vessel till she is modified back to being a passenger or training vessel.
What is really neat about this vessel is she is like a museum. The exhibits have lots of information about Pirates and the sailor life during the 18th century. Plus they educated school children by having field trips here with some hands on and crafts.
I will admit I was a little startled when a speed boat spun by and caused lots of waves. Wow, this ship started was bobbing up and down really good. In fact, when we got top side the sidewalk railing were banging up and down and did not look safe. One of the attendants ran up it to ensure that we didn't attempt walking on it at the time. I looked at him and said, Ah no problem we'll wait till it calms down. We had three more vessels to explore. When we were in the submarine, we didn't feel the waves hardly at all.