Sunny San Diego


I had an OUTSTANDING trip to San Diego recently.  My company has had a unique and brilliant plan for this trip for several years, and it worked perfectly again this year.  Renting space on the show floor is expensive, it’s inside, and you have to deal with lots of walk-by traffic (students, competitors, etc.).  Rather than deal with that, we save money by chartering a boat out on the bay.  Our customers come out to the dock, we meet in the boat’s salon, then if time permits, we head out for a cruise around the bay.  We keep the boat well stocked with food and drinks, so customers actually call US to schedule meetings.  Perfect!

We went out on the bay eleven times in four days.  Many were just 30-minute quickies.  But we got in a few good long rides.  We got to see the dolphin training area, sea lions hanging-out on the bait docks, a submarine in dry-dock.  Here are but a few of the photos of the week.

Heading south from the convention center you can’t miss the banana boat.

The Banana Boat - this boat brings bananas and from Costa Rica to San Diego. Notice the cranes built right into the boat. They pull a container off about once per minute and drop it onto the back of a truck to haul it away. It's an amazingly efficient operation.

After you pass under the Coronado Island bridge and the first thing you see is…

An Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in dry dock. I find it so fascinating that they can easily raise these huge boats out of the water. And I'm a little surprised at how much structure is below the surface.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Gridley (DDG-101) and USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) were in the docs.

USS Gridley (DDG-101) and USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62)

If you switch to the satellite view, it looks like we went right under the front of the USS Midway (CV-41).  That’s because we did.  :)  It was fun to get to be so close to such an amazing piece of American history.

The USS Midway (CV-41) is out of service and is now home to a Naval museum. Trust me when I say that you can get REALLY close.

USS Midway and downtown San Diego

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and USS John C. SteNnis (CVN-74) were also in town.  It was a treat to see them, too.

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). Notice the Naval Security boat, with machine gun mounted on the rear deck. They're very polite, and actually moved out of the way as we approached. Of course I was on a charter boat that's in the bay nearly every day, so I'm sure they're familiar with the captain and his habits.

Another shot of the Reagan. Notice that there are two aircraft still on the deck. I have no clue why.

USS John C. SteNnis (CVN-74) on left, and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) on right.

The USS John C. SteNnis (CVN-74). She looks pretty rough compared to the Reagan.

USS Boxer (LHD-4) was in for repairs.  This is the helo-carrier that Capt. Richard Phillips (of the Myrsk Alabama) was taken to after his rescue from the Somali pirates.

USS Boxer

The USS New Orleans (LPD-18) cruised out past us one day.  She’s a San Antonio-class  amphibious transport dock.  According to Wikipedia, it sports a crew of 28 officers and 333 enlisted, in addition to the landing force of 66 officers and 633 enlisted.

USS New Orleans

USS New Orleans (LPD-18) - I like the little boat on a crane that can come out of the port side.

USS New Orleans (LPD-18) - If you've got ill intent and see this approaching your!

The replenishment ship USS Shasta (AE-33) was seen moving up the bay, looking rather empty.

USS Shasta

The Cronus Leader is a car carrier, and unfortunately photos just can’t illustrate how MASSIVE this thing is.

The Cronus Leader is a 6,400 car carrier, built 2008. It's hard to grasp the size of this ship. She's truly MASSIVE. I bet she's a good 100' tall.

Cronus Leader

Cars lined-up after being unloaded. They'll be loaded onto the train cars in the background for delivery around the southwestern US. Check-out the Google satellite image of this area. They can offload thousands of cars here.

If you head out towards the mouth of the bay, you come by the docs where the fishing vessels buy bait each day.  There’s a community of sea lions and birds that live there, staying fat and happy off the scraps.

Sea lions sunning themselves on the bait docks.

A bit further towards the mouth is the submarine base.

Submarine in dry dock. I'm not sure which class of sub this is. Please let me know if you can identify it. My understanding is that the shape and number of the propellers is part of the secret sauce, so they keep that bit heavily shrouded.

Sub in dry dock RDM-5.

The Carnival Elation was leaving port while we were out one day.  I think the coolest thing about this ship was the wake, or lack thereof.  Notice that inside the wake there’s an area of “rough” water.  I guess I would describe it as turbulent, but it wasn’t a problem at all.  Right behind the boat was a wide swat of calm water, almost like an eddy on a river.  Spooky considering the size of the ship ahead.

Carnival Elation

Carnival Elation

We were overflown by literally dozens of Blackhawks every day.

Sunset over the marina.

I always love the Birds of Paradise.

On the way home we flew past the Yuma Proving Grounds.  This is a GM auto testing facility, deep inside a military base.  How’s that for security?  :)  You’ll notice that my photo differs from the Google Earth image, since Google is apparently 4 years behind in this location.

GM's Yuma Proving Grounds

You’ll need to zoom in on the San Diego bay to really see the detail.  I’ve plotted out the boat rides we took, and marked some of the significant locations.

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