Big yachts docked behind Convention Center.

yachts behind san diego convention center

These private yachts are docked directly behind the San Diego Convention Center. Some can be really huge. Most are gorgeous. Over the years, I’ve seen a few that have helicopters or small airplanes!

I took the above photo while riding the ferry to Coronado island. The building jutting up in the background is the Omni Hotel, which stands in the Gaslamp adjacent to Petco Park.

The following pics were taken at various different times:

Large yachts docked behind convention center.
Large yachts docked behind convention center.
Luxury yachts with Coronado Bay Bridge in background.
Luxury yachts with Coronado Bay Bridge in background.
Crew member polishes Vibrant Curiosity.
Crew member polishes Vibrant Curiosity.
Rear of huge superyacht docked by convention center.
Rear of huge multi-level superyacht Majestic docked by convention center.
Oberon docked behind the San Diego Convention Center.
Oberon, a fast yacht support vessel, docked behind the San Diego Convention Center.
A row of private yachts docked in downtown San Diego.
A row of private yachts docked in downtown San Diego.
Looking south toward Hilton hotel behind San Diego Convention Center.
Looking south toward Hilton hotel behind San Diego Convention Center.
Two super yachts with small aircraft seen in April 2015. On the left, the enormous single-masted yacht M5 boasts a seaplane, while the Pacific carries a helicopter.
Two super yachts with small aircraft seen in April 2015. On the left, the enormous single-masted yacht M5 boasts a seaplane, while the Pacific carries a helicopter.
In October 2017 I saw Vava II, a 97-meter superyacht docked behind the San Diego Convention Center!
In October 2017 I saw Vava II, a 97-meter superyacht docked behind the San Diego Convention Center!
The Vava II, built by billionaire Swiss pharmaceutical tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli, is equipped with its own helicopter.
The Vava II, built by billionaire Swiss pharmaceutical tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli, is equipped with its own helicopter.
The brand new, blue-hulled luxury superyacht Chirundos among other impressive ships docked in San Diego in late 2017.
The brand new, blue-hulled luxury superyacht Chirundos among other impressive ships docked in San Diego in late 2017.
Beautiful yachts in a row behind the San Diego Convention Center.
Beautiful yachts in a row behind the San Diego Convention Center.
The beautiful Attessa, with helicopter, docked in San Diego in early January, 2018.
The sleek Attessa, with helicopter, docked in San Diego in early January, 2018.
People walk and jog along the south Embarcadero.
People walk and jog along the south Embarcadero.

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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.

Flagship’s Silvergate ferry on San Diego Bay.

flagship's silvergate ferry on san diego bay

You see all sorts of boats and ships on San Diego Bay. The Silvergate might be my favorite.

Operated by Flagship (the new name of San Diego Harbor Excursion), the small ship is often used as a Coronado ferry.

A varnished wooden bench runs around the outside perimeter of the little ship, where you can just sit and enjoy the fresh air and amazing views. I love it!

The Silvergate ferry has discharged passengers behind the San Diego Convention Center.
Silvergate ferry has discharged passengers behind San Diego Convention Center.
San Diego ferry Silvergate departs behind convention center.
San Diego ferry Silvergate departs behind convention center.
A favorite little ship, the Silvergate sets out across San Diego Bay for Coronado.
A favorite little ship, the Silvergate begins across San Diego Bay for Coronado.
Silvergate ferry leaves for Coronado with bay bridge in background.
Silvergate ferry heading across the water with Coronado Bay Bridge in background.

Here are some more photos that I took in late 2017…

Photo of downtown San Diego from the Silvergate ferry.
Photo of downtown San Diego from the Silvergate ferry.
Flagship employee ties up the Silvergate at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
Flagship employee ties up the Silvergate at the Coronado Ferry Landing’s floating dock.
People arriving at Coronado Island ready to disembark the small ferry.
People arriving at Coronado Island ready to disembark the small ferry.
The Silvergate awaits passengers at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
The Silvergate awaits passengers at the Coronado Ferry Landing.

 …

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Amazing views from Coronado Ferry Landing.

Lounging and enjoying a stunning view of San Diego.
Lounging and enjoying a stunning view of San Diego.

People gravitate toward water. Water sparkles, soothes, delights, attracts the eye and invites reflection. I love the opening to Moby Dick, where Melville says: “Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries–stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water . . . ”

Look at these folks just gazing at the water!

The Ferry Landing in Coronado offers amazing views of San Diego Bay. Stand out on the pier, splash on the small beach, sit on the grass or on the patio of a restaurant, and just gaze in a quiet reverie at the passing boats and the gleaming San Diego skyline. Call me crazy, but I could linger here for hours.

That’s one reason why I love to take the ferry to Coronado!

people gaze toward downtown from ferry landing

The second pic shows people on the Coronado Ferry Landing pier.  During the day, San Diego’s downtown skyline is a beautiful sight. At night, all lit up, it’s like a glowing dream. If you were turn to the left, you’d see a whole bunch of people fishing.

Fishing from the small Coronado Ferry Landing pier.
Fishing from the small Coronado Ferry Landing pier.
People board the Silvergate ferry for downtown San Diego.
People board the Silvergate ferry for downtown San Diego.

Next we see people filing from the pier down to the float where the ferry ties up. During the tourist season, the Silvergate ferry takes people to the Convention Center; a larger ship takes people to the Broadway Pier. You can bring your bicycle on board (or rent one at the Ferry Landing) and bike across the island to the ocean side, where you’ll find the Hotel del Coronado.

The Coronado ferry is great short cruise on the bay.
The Coronado ferry is great short cruise on the bay.
Silvergate docked at Coronado with San Diego skyline.
Silvergate docked at Coronado with San Diego skyline.
Visitors to the island of Coronado arrive and depart.
Visitors to the island of Coronado arrive and depart.
People stroll down a path near the ferry landing.
People stroll down a path near the ferry landing.
Kids play on the beach next to the ferry landing pier.
Kids play on the beach next to the ferry landing pier.
Paddleboarding just off the Coronado Ferry Landing.
Paddleboarding just off the Coronado Ferry Landing.
Amazing view of a beautiful sunlit city.
Amazing view of a beautiful sunlit city.

Cruise ship and harbor tour boats at dock.

cruise ship and harbor tour boats at dock

This photo was taken from Navy Pier just south of the Broadway Pier. It shows a cluster of Hornblower and Flagship harbor excursion boats, plus the big Celebrity Solstice cruise ship at the San Diego cruise ship terminal. If you were to turn to the right, you’d see the historic Santa Fe train depot and shining downtown skyline closeby.

The red, white and blue Patriot speed boat is a new addition to the growing fleet of tour and charter boats seen daily on our beautiful Big Bay!

The following pics were taken on another day:

Harbor cruise ships and a Water Taxi next to Broadway Pier.
Harbor tour ships and a Water Taxi next to Broadway Pier.
Harbor cruise photographer get photographed!
Harbor tour photographer gets photographed!
People linger on dock near water taxis.
People linger on dock near water taxis.
Harbor cruise ships with Navy Broadway Complex in the background.
Harbor cruise ships with Navy Broadway Complex in the background.
A view of downtown and harbor cruise ships from approaching ferry.
A view of downtown and harbor cruise ships from approaching ferry.
The Lord Hornblower approaches as people disembark from Coronado ferry.
The Lord Hornblower approaches as people disembark from Coronado ferry.
Patriot speed boat leaves dock, passing USS Midway.
Patriot speed boat leaves dock, passing USS Midway.

Cool car carrier ship in San Diego Bay.

cool car carrier cargo ship in san diego bay

Check out the Lyra Leader, a massive box-like car-carrying ship as it heads down San Diego Bay toward the National City Marine Terminal. These cool, very unusual type of roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships are often seen passing close to downtown. They’re bringing in thousands of new cars from Asia–Japan and South Korea–which are driven off a ramp into a massive parking lot. Many of the vehicles are then loaded into car-carrying freight trains and sent off toward their final destinations.

In this photograph, note the active aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson docked at the North Island naval base on the left.

UPDATE–I finally got a couple more pics of another ship while I was crossing San Diego Bay on the ferry. All the passengers were excited to be so close to the massive thing!

Sailboats, skyscrapers and one super enormous ship!
Sailboats, skyscrapers and one super enormous ship!
Swift Ace car transport ship leaves San Diego Bay.
Swift Ace car transport ship leaves San Diego Bay.

ANOTHER UPDATE–Here are more photos that I took at later times…

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Sailboats, fishing boats and sparkling water!

Sailboats pass live bait fishing boat docked at Tuna Harbor Pier.
Sailboats pass live bait fishing boat docked at Tuna Harbor pier.

Venture anywhere along San Diego Bay and you’re in for a show!

Look at these pics of huge blue fishing boats, colorful sailboats, and the big gray Navy ships glimpsed in the distance!

Of course, sailboats are easily recognized, and everyone loves watching them dance on the big bay. On any given day you’ll see many white sails. Often you’ll see a group of sailboats racing together, tacking, tilting, running on the sea breeze.

The big blue fishing boats with the square wells that we seem to be standing beside are commercial live bait boats docked at Tuna Harbor’s G Street Pier. Seine nets are utilized to gather schools of small fish, which are then dumped into the deep wells. The live bait is then used by fishermen who depart from several sportfishing locations around San Diego. Pelicans, egrets, black-crowned night herons and gulls often perch on the sides of idle live bait boats. Perhaps they think something tasty will magically appear!

The distant Navy ships are an oiler and two active aircraft carriers docked at Naval Air Station North Island, situated on the northern half of Coronado Island. The two homeported carriers that you can glimpse are the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Ronald Reagan.

Sailboats pass a commercial live bait fishing boat.
Sailboats pass a commercial live bait fishing boat.
Fishing boat nets stretched on Tuna Harbor Pier.
Seine net with floats stretches along edge of Tuna Harbor pier.
Sailboats and a Navy oiler docked at North Island in the background.
Sailboats and a Navy oiler docked at North Island in the background.
Pelican and gulls on the edge of Tuna Harbor Pier.
Pelican and gulls on the edge of the Tuna Harbor pier.
Small sailboat passes live bait boat on San Diego Bay.
Small sailboat passes live bait boat on San Diego Bay.
The rusted bridge of a large live bait fishing boat.
The rusted bridge of a live bait catching fishing boat.
Dangling ropes and the fishing net coiled on a huge cylinder.
Dangling ropes and the seine net coiled on a huge cylinder-like winch drum.
Live bait boat docked at Tuna Harbor Pier on San Diego Bay.
Live bait boat Cougar docked at the picturesque Tuna Harbor pier on San Diego Bay.
White egret perched on square well perhaps hopes to find a fish.
Snowy egret perched on square well perhaps hopes to find a fish.
One live bait boat is named Rival.
One live bait boat is named Rival.
Cougar tied to pier between hunts for small fish.
Cougar tied to G Street Pier between watery hunts for small fish.
San Diego Bay and many colorful boats!
San Diego Bay and many colorful boats!

Masts of tall ships docked on San Diego Bay.

festival of sail early morning 02

Here’s another pic taken in downtown San Diego this morning while I strolled along the Embarcadero. The intricate masts, yards and rigging projecting into the early morning sky belong to tall ships that will be participating in the 2013 Festival of Sail. I like how mysterious these ships can appear just after sunrise, as if they’re nautical ghosts visiting from the past! I wouldn’t have been surprised to glimpse Captain Ahab or The Ancient Mariner striding toward me along the bayside sidewalk!

UPDATE!

It’s a year later, and visiting tall ships have begun to arrive a couple days before the 2014 Festival of Sail. Here’s a pic I took early in the morning! This year I’ll make it a point to attend the big Labor Day weekend event and take loads of photos!

Two tall ships have arrived a couple days early for the 2014 Festival of Sail.
Two tall ships have arrived a couple days early for the 2014 Festival of Sail.

Early morning at San Diego Festival of Sail.

festival of sail early morning 01

This photograph was taken early this morning when I walked through downtown to catch the trolley for work. I strolled a short distance along the Embarcadero near the County Administration Building and was pleased to see many tall ships had already arrived to take part in the 2013 Festival of Sail this Labor Day weekend.

In addition to the San Diego Maritime Museum’s venerable Star of India, HMS Surprise and Californian, numerous high-masted sailing vessels will participate in the historic event. And simulated cannon battles will take place on San Diego Bay! Lots of excited people will be touring these beautiful ships!

Here’s a bonus pic from the following morning:

dark masts in a colorful sky
Masts of many tall ships in a colorful morning sky.

UPDATE!

It’s a year later! I checked out the 2014 Festival of Sail early Friday morning before the event began and took a few pics from behind the fence! Here they are! (I will be attending the event on Sunday, so look for many more detailed ship photos on the Cool San Diego Sights blog!)

HMS Surprise of San Diego Maritime Museum and masts of visiting tall ships beyond.
HMS Surprise of San Diego Maritime Museum and masts of visiting tall ships beyond.
Navy sailors run along Harbor Drive before the Labor Day weekend event begins.
Navy sailors run along Harbor Drive before the Labor Day weekend event begins.

The runner with the flag led a bunch of lustily singing Navy personnel on a run right next to the festival venue!

A view of tall ships participating in 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.
A view of tall ships participating in 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.