Cabrillo’s galleon San Salvador returns from past!

01 Cabrillo's flagship San Salvador being built on Spanish Landing.
Cabrillo’s flagship San Salvador being built on Spanish Landing.

Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay on behalf of Spain in 1542.  His flagship was a galleon named San Salvador.  Today, almost 500 years later, a replica of the historic ship is being built on Spanish Landing, across from San Diego’s Lindbergh Field.  The ship is coming alive with the help of hard work from San Diego Maritime Museum volunteers, and it’s scheduled to be launched next year!  It will soon be another cool sight on the Embarcadero!

As you can see from this first photo, a great deal of progress has been made on the hull.  The detailed San Salvador recreation will be seaworthy and will sail out onto the broad ocean!  As it passes Point Loma, it will look like the ghost of Cabrillo has returned!  I remember seeing the hull about a year ago when there were only four or five “ribs” visible.

The public can visit the San Salvador build site.  You’ll see not only the ship, but various items of related interest, including the tools used centuries ago to construct a large galleon.

02 Another view of San Salvador ship replica build site.
Another view of San Salvador ship replica build site.

The walkway you see on the left runs the length of Spanish Landing, behind Harbor Island.

03 Maritime Museum volunteer works on San Salvador ship.
Maritime Museum volunteer works on San Salvador ship.

Several volunteers were working on the galleon.  Colorful banners were flying in the gentle sea breeze.

04 Blacksmith tools are some of the sights near the San Salvador.
Blacksmith tools are some of the sights near the San Salvador.

Lots of interesting stuff can be found about the build site.  Nobody was visiting at the moment, so this pic looks kind of empty.  I was told buses full of school kids often come by on educational field trips.

05 Volunteers work on the wooden hull of Maritime Museum's San Salvador ship.
Volunteers work on the wooden hull of Maritime Museum’s San Salvador ship.
06 Recreation of Kumeyaay village at San Salvador build site.
Recreation of Kumeyaay village at San Salvador build site.

This is the kind of primitive structure native San Diegans lived in at the time of Cabrillo’s “discovery” of the bay.

07 Working on the spars under Harbor Drive's boat channel bridge.
Working on the spars under Harbor Drive’s boat channel bridge.

This friendly lady greeted me as I walked under the Harbor Drive bridge.  She smiled for a photo.  She told me she was working on the ship’s spars for the sails.  I didn’t hear her words precisely, but I believe she’s coating them with linseed oil.

She asked if I wanted to volunteer.  A guy I met later asked the same thing!  They’d appreciate any help they can get!

08 Scraps of wood used to build replica of Cabrillo's historic ship.
Scraps of wood used to build replica of Cabrillo’s historic ship.

All this wood is being used in various ways by the shipbuilders.  It looks like a big lumber yard on the other side of Harbor Drive!

09 View of replica San Salvador from opposite side of Harbor Drive.
View of replica San Salvador from opposite side of Harbor Drive.

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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