Beautiful white sails on San Diego Bay.

Please enjoy these photos of beautiful sails out on San Diego Bay.

During my busy weekend I went on a harbor cruise aboard the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic Pilot boat. (Become a member of the museum and you get all sorts of complimentary tickets!)

I saw dozens of white-winged sailboats soaring across blue water.

It seemed like a dream.

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos from Port of San Diego’s harbor tour.

We pull away from the Embarcadero aboard the Admiral Hornblower, on a special harbor tour provided by the Port of San Diego.
We pull away from the Embarcadero aboard the Admiral Hornblower, on a special harbor tour provided by the Port of San Diego.

Last Saturday I enjoyed a special boat tour of San Diego’s harbor. The free tour was created by the Port of San Diego for Maritime Month, which was actually May. (The earlier tours were so popular, an additional June date was added.) The main intention of these tours was to educate the public about the importance of San Diego Bay, and the waterfront’s many contribution’s to our local economy.

We set out on the Admiral Hornblower and checked out a number of fascinating facilities that are overseen by the Port of San Diego. The Port of San Diego manages San Diego Bay and a strip of surrounding waterfront land. Its five member cities are San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Coronado.

According to their website “The port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 20 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of hundreds of tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.”

Well, what exactly did we see and what did we learn?

I took a few notes, which I’ve placed in my photo captions. Let’s head out onto the water on an overcast day and see some fascinating sights!

Looking back toward the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. This facility can host special events or welcome cruise ships. Every cruise ship adds 2 million dollars to the San Diego economy.
Looking back toward the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. This facility can host special events or welcome cruise ships. Every visiting cruise ship adds 2 million dollars to the San Diego economy.
Someone enjoys recreating on San Diego Bay as we pass Tuna Harbor. Tourism and commercial fishing rely on San Diego's harbor.
Someone enjoys recreating on San Diego Bay as we pass Tuna Harbor. Tourism and commercial fishing rely on San Diego’s versatile harbor.
It's Saturday morning, so the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is open on the I Street Pier near Seaport Village. It's the place to go if you like fresh fish.
It’s Saturday morning, so the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is open on the I Street Pier near Seaport Village. It’s the place to go if you like fresh fish.
Now we are approaching the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Most people associate it with Dole ships that bring in about 185 million bananas and other fruit each month!
Now we are approaching the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Most people associate it with those big yellow Dole ships that bring in about 185 million bananas and other fruit each month!
The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is to undergo modernization. Some transit sheds will be removed, to create more flexible laydown space.
The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is to undergo modernization. Some transit sheds will be removed, to create more flexible laydown space.
These are windmill tower components.
These are windmill tower components.
This part of the facility is used for transferring cement between ship and shore.
This part of the facility is used for transferring cement between ship and shore.
This 1,800-ton-per-hour bulk loader handles soda ash, bauxite and fertilizer exports.
This 1,800-ton-per-hour bulk loader handles soda ash, bauxite and fertilizer exports.
Docked south of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, beside the Cesar Chavez Park pier, are the vessels of Pacific Tugboat Service.
Docked south of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, beside the Cesar Chavez Park pier, are the vessels of Pacific Tugboat Service.
Near the east end of the San Diego–Coronado Bridge is the first of three big shipyards--Continental Maritime of San Diego.
Near the east end of the San Diego–Coronado Bridge is the first of three big shipyards–Continental Maritime of San Diego.
Navy ships are undergoing repairs and modernization. The white plastic wrap prevents paint particles from entering the environment.
Navy ships are undergoing repairs and modernization. The white plastic wrap prevents paint particles from entering the environment.
The next shipyard as we head south is BAE Systems. They also provide repair and modernization services. This huge ship in one of two dry docks is completely concealed!
The next shipyard as we head south is BAE Systems. They also provide repair and modernization services. This huge ship in one of two dry docks is completely concealed!
This is a new type of stealth Navy ship--a guided missile Zumwalt-class destroyer. DDG-1000 is the first of its class. Its radar image is similar to that of a fishing boat.
This is a new type of stealth Navy ship–a guided missile Zumwalt-class destroyer. DDG-1000 is the first of its class. Its radar image is similar to that of a fishing boat.
Another vessel is being worked on at the BAE Systems San Diego shipyard. You can see floating oil spill containment booms in many of these photos.
Another vessel is being worked on at the BAE Systems San Diego shipyard. You can see floating oil spill containment booms in many of these photos.
Finally we are nearing the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. Ships are built here. It is the largest full service shipyard on the West Coast.
Finally we are nearing the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. New ships are built here. It is the largest full service shipyard on the West Coast.
It's an overcast "June Gloom" late morning on San Diego Bay.
It’s an overcast “June Gloom” late morning on San Diego Bay.
As we continue into the South Bay, we see a large ship is being moved away from the shore by tugboat.
As we continue into the South Bay, we see a large ship is being moved away from the shore by tugboat.
It's the Palmetto State, a fuel-efficient ECO Class tanker that was built at the NASSCO shipyard.
It’s the Palmetto State, a fuel-efficient ECO Class tanker that was built at the NASSCO shipyard.
Now we are beginning to pass Naval Base San Diego--what some refer to as 32nd Street Naval Station. It is the principal homeport of the U. S. Navy's Pacific Fleet.
Now we are beginning to pass Naval Base San Diego–what some refer to as 32nd Street Naval Station. It is the principal homeport of the U. S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
This is the USS Essex (LHD-2), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
This is the USS Essex (LHD-2), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
San Diego is home to these three Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships.
San Diego is home to these three Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships.
The unusual white vessel is a barracks barge--where a crew lives while their Navy ship is undergoing major repairs.
The unusual white vessel is a barracks barge–where a crew lives while their Navy ship is undergoing major repairs.
The USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returned from deployment recently. The gold anchors indicate this ship has earned the Navy's Retention Excellence Award.
The USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returned from deployment recently. The gold anchors indicate this ship has earned the Navy’s Retention Excellence Award.
Now we are past the Naval base and approaching the National City Marine Terminal.
Now we are past the Naval base and approaching the National City Marine Terminal.
I see lots of cars. If you own an automobile imported from Japan or South Korea, there a good chance it arrived here.
I see lots of cars. If you own an automobile imported from Japan or South Korea, there a good chance it arrived here.
Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
Longshoremen drive hundreds of new vehicles off the ships. Warehouses nearby are used to install accessories. White wraps on cars protect them from stuff like seagull poop!
Longshoremen drive hundreds of new vehicles off the ships. Warehouses nearby are used to install accessories. White wraps on cars protect them from dirty stuff like seagull poop! Some ospreys have nests atop those high lampposts.
These totaled cars arrived from Hawaii! They're headed to San Diego salvage yards.
These totaled cars arrived from Hawaii! They’re headed to San Diego salvage yards.
Half of the new cars are then sent to their destination by train, the other half by truck. This facility accommodates super long freight trains--120 cars long!
Half of the new cars are sent to their final destination by train, the other half by truck. This facility accommodates super long freight trains–120 cars long!
We've turned about and have headed back to the North Embarcadero. Before we dock, we check out a superyacht moored in the middle of San Diego Bay.
We’ve turned about and have headed back to the North Embarcadero. Before we dock, we check out a superyacht temporarily moored in the middle of San Diego Bay.
This is the Attessa IV, owned by Dennis R. Washington, 76th wealthiest person in the United States! The Port of San Diego accommodates all sorts of ships!
This is the Attessa IV, owned by Dennis R. Washington, 76th wealthiest person in the United States! The Port of San Diego accommodates all sorts of ships!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

A short tour of San Diego Bay on the Pilot boat.

Ready to board the small Pilot boat, one of many historic vessels at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. We're going to enjoy a short harbor cruise!
Ready to board the small Pilot boat, one of many historic vessels at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. We’re going to enjoy a short harbor cruise!

A couple months ago I went on a short tour of San Diego Bay on the Pilot, a historic vessel owned by the Maritime Museum of San Diego. When you buy a ticket for the museum, you can pay a little extra and enjoy a fun look at San Diego’s harbor in the open air aboard the Pilot. I recommend it!

Come with me and get a small taste of what you’ll experience. Obviously, these few photographs are no substitute for the ocean breeze, sunshine and sparkling blue water.

A plaque indicates the 1914 Pilot Boat has 82 years of service and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A plaque indicates the 1914 Pilot Boat has 82 years of service and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  For decades it helped thousands of ships safely enter and exit San Diego Bay.
Captain of the Pilot is getting ready to pull away from the floating museum.
Captain of the Pilot is getting ready to pull away from the floating museum.
Here we go out onto San Diego Bay! I see Californian, the official tall ship of the state of California, to our left.
Here we go out onto San Diego Bay! I see Californian, the official tall ship of the state of California, to our left.
It's a pleasant day out on the water. We head initially in the direction of Shelter Island and Point Loma.
It’s a pleasant day out on the water. We head initially in the direction of Shelter Island and Point Loma.
We've turned southward and pass the ships of the Maritime Museum. Some of San Diego's skyline is visible in this photo.
We’ve turned southward and pass the ships of the Maritime Museum. Part of San Diego’s skyline is visible in this photo.
There are two big cruise ships in port today. Some of these ships are larger than downtown buildings!
There are two big cruise ships in port today. Some of these ships are larger than downtown buildings!
Out toward Point Loma many sailboats are participating in a regatta.
Out toward Point Loma many sailboats are participating in a regatta.
We're continuing south and now I see the second cruise ship by the Port Pavilion.
We’re continuing south and now I see the second cruise ship by the Port Pavilion.
We've passed the USS Midway. Just enjoying the blue water and sunshine.
We’ve passed the USS Midway. Just enjoying the blue water and sunshine.
Yay! We get to slow down to photograph sea lions sleeping on a harbor buoy.
Yay! We get to slow down to photograph sea lions sleeping on a harbor buoy.
Beautiful sailboats were tilting in the breeze and many passed so close we could hear the canvas flapping.
Beautiful sailboats were tilting in the breeze and many passed so close we could hear the canvas flapping.
Looking south as we approach the Coronado Bay Bridge. Way off in the distance I see Mexico. Nearer, to the right, is a part of Coronado--the Naval Amphibious Base where Navy Seals train.
Looking south as we approach the Coronado Bay Bridge. Way off in the distance I see Mexico. Nearer, to the right, is a part of Coronado–the Naval Amphibious Base where Navy Seals train.
Under the bridge we go, looking east at two Navy ships.
Under the bridge we go, while looking east at two Navy ships.
Shortly after passing under the bridge, we turn around and head back north near the shipyards. I see BAE Systems Ship Repair's huge dry dock. These two folks were visiting San Diego.
Shortly after passing under the bridge, we turn around and head back north near the shipyards. I see BAE Systems Ship Repair’s huge dry dock. These two friendly passengers were visiting San Diego.
Back north of the Coronado Bay Bridge, now passing the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal.
Back north of the Coronado Bay Bridge, now passing the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal.
A magical look west toward sails, clouds and the descending sun.
A magical look west toward sails, clouds and the descending sun.
Here comes a speedy sailboat behind us!
Here comes a speedy sailboat behind us!
The handsome Manchester Grand Hyatt buildings. One can observe San Diego from special windows on the 40th floor. They are in the tower on the right. This Hyatt is the tallest waterfront hotel on the West Coast.
The handsome Manchester Grand Hyatt buildings. One can observe San Diego from two large windows on the 40th floor. They are in the tower on the right. This Hyatt is the tallest waterfront hotel on the West Coast.
Our tour guide points toward Seaport Village. I see the silvery Marriott Marquis to the right.
Our tour guide points toward Seaport Village. I see the silvery Marriott Marquis to the right.
I love the G Street Pier and the fishing vessels that dock by it. Just beyond is Tuna Harbor. Sometime I post photos of lobster traps and other cool stuff piled on this working pier.
I love the G Street Pier and the fishing vessels that dock by it. Just beyond is Tuna Harbor. Sometimes I post photos of lobster traps and other cool stuff piled on this working pier.
This harbor tour is going fast! We're already passing under the immense bow of the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum.
This harbor tour is going fast! We’re already passing under the immense bow of the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum.
Some guys watch us from the end of Navy Pier near the USS Midway Museum.
Some guys watch us from the end of Navy Pier near the USS Midway Museum.
We've returned to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. There's the beautiful Star of India, oldest active sailing ship in the world, one of our city's prized gems.
We’ve returned to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. There’s the beautiful Star of India, oldest active sailing ship in the world, one of our city’s prized gems.
And here's HMS Surprise. If this replica Royal Navy frigate looks familiar, you might have seen Russell Crowe walking her decks in Master and Commander.
And here’s HMS Surprise. If this replica Royal Navy frigate looks familiar, you might have seen Russell Crowe walking her decks in the great movie Master and Commander.
It's the distinctive County Administration Building.
It’s the distinctive County Administration Building.
About to tie up near the museum's restored Swift Boat. I went on a ride aboard her some time ago. We went further south in the bay on that tour and got a good look at many active Navy ships.
About to tie up near the museum’s restored Swift Boat. I went on a ride aboard the Swift Boat some time ago. We went further south in the bay on that tour and got a good look at many active Navy ships.
While I linger at the museum and check out lots of cool nautical stuff, the Pilot takes off on another fun tour. Should you visit San Diego, I recommend buying a ticket!
While I linger at the museum and check out lots of cool nautical stuff, the Pilot takes off on another fun tour. Should you visit San Diego, I recommend buying a ticket!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Bay Cafe makes way for new observation platform.

The Bay Cafe is making way for an observation platform on San Diego Bay.
The Bay Cafe is making way for an observation platform on San Diego Bay.

The Bay Cafe is almost gone.

Many years ago, I loved to grab some food in the small waterfront cafe and bring it up onto the rooftop. From a table beneath an umbrella, I’d gaze out at the sparkling water.  I’d observe passing sailboats, people on the Broadway Pier, and cruise ships docked at the nearby terminal. When two or more huge cruise ships were in port, I’d watch with interest as the departing Coronado ferry and harbor tour boats navigated the narrow space between them. In those days, the Bay Cafe also served as an embarkation hub for San Diego Harbor Excursion, now called Flagship. A ramp from inside the deli plunged down to a floating dock, where a gift shop was housed in a special boat. On this small dock a harbor cruise photographer asked guests to pose by a life preserver.

Up on the roof, if I wanted a change of view, I’d grab another table where I could gaze back toward downtown and watch tourists flow along Harbor Drive. There were almost always several empty tables. Few people seemed to realize the rooftop was open.

The Bay Cafe’s roof was also used for many years by broadcasters covering parades down Harbor Drive. From up there you could see everything.

My walk this morning brought back those memories. And a bit of sadness. The Bay Cafe is being demolished as I type these very words. The structure will be removed, but the concrete pad and pilings will remain, as part of an observation platform jutting over the water. It’s just one small part of the Embarcadero’s recent renovation. I’m sure the change will be great. I believe there are supposed to be benches where folks can just sit and enjoy the views. If there are, I’ll surely enjoy them. But time and progress march on. The Bay Cafe is almost just a memory.

Demolition of the old waterfront cafe and harbor tour embarkation hub is underway.
Demolition of the old waterfront cafe and harbor tour embarkation hub is underway.
Many years ago dining could be enjoyed on the sunny roof, with views of the water, sailboats and downtown skyscrapers.
Many years ago dining could be enjoyed on the sunny roof, with views of the water, sailboats and downtown skyscrapers.
Improvements on the Embarcadero consign this wonderful place to memory.
Improvements on the Embarcadero consign this wonderful place to memory.

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San Diego Maritime Museum’s Pilot Boat.

San Diego Maritime Museum's historic pilot boat.
San Diego Maritime Museum’s historic pilot boat.

Another really cool boat on San Diego Bay is the Maritime Museum’s 1914 wooden pilot boat. Appropriately named Pilot, she served as San Diego’s main pilot boat for 82 years! Over the decades, thousands of commercial ships entered and departed the bay with her navigational assistance.

During World War II, she was used as a patrol boat by the Coast Guard. She was (and remains) decorated with 6 six-month service chevrons.

When you purchase admission to the Maritime Museum (home of the Star of India and other historic ships), you can pay a little extra and ride the Pilot for a short harbor tour. It’s a lot of fun and definitely well worth it!

Pilot boat cruises near USS Midway on Memorial Day weekend.
Pilot boat cruises near USS Midway on Memorial Day weekend.
The Pilot with sightseeing tourists cruises past a pier on San Diego Bay.
The Pilot with sightseeing tourists cruises past a pier on San Diego Bay.

Here are three more photos I took in 2016!

The first few shots were taken when this blog was relatively new.  I had no idea my blog would grow to the extent is has.  You might notice I now spend a little more time and effort with my photographs!

The 1914 Pilot Boat, with 82 years of service, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The 1914 Pilot Boat, with 82 years of service, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Pilot docked at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Pilot docked at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
The small Pilot sets out across San Diego Bay on a tour of the harbor.
The small Pilot sets out across San Diego Bay on a tour of the harbor.

This blog has grown tremendously over three years and now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.