Sail Adventure aboard the Californian from the Maritime Museum of San Diego

 It was a perfect day for sailing.  We arrived at the Maritime Museum of San Diego about an hour early.  We explored the H.M.S. Surprise, a replica of a 1700 British Frigate.  It is a lovely ship, but the display inside makes it obvious that the life of a seaman wasn't easy.  The vessel was used in the filming of "Master and Commander" starring Russell Crowe.  We looked over a Soviet submarine, but it seemed too claustrophobia-inducing to enter.  We had time to look at the museum in the Berkeley, which is a glamorous steam boat.

At 11:45 AM, we lined up to board the Californian.  It is a replica of a 1848 Revenue Cutter, designed to hunt smugglers and duty evaders.  It is a topsail schooner.  The captain gave us a safety talk about not standing on the lines, tripping over the cleats, etc.  Then we were off.  The ship motors away from the dock and then the crew sets the sail.  We were invited to help heave the lines and learned fun terms like "avast" - stop pulling.

The weather was perfect!  Light jacket weather with a cool breeze.  It was a large crew, because the Museum is trying expand its cadre of volunteers, so there were many trainees on board.  The crew was busy, but we passengers got to enjoy the view of the downtown, transport ships, Naval Station, sail boats, sea lions and the rolling ocean.  Although there is a modest hold, we stayed on deck the entire time.  The seas were calm, except of occasional swells caused by the wake of motor boats.  At the end of the trip, two guns were fired as a salute.  It was loud and exciting!

The crew was very nice and helpful in explaining some of the aspects of traditional rigged sailboats.  One volunteer was a retiree from the Navy and told us about all the military vessels we could see, such as a submarine in dry dock, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson, the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt and also the history of seaplane aviation in San Diego.  It was all interesting and the sail through the harbor was lovely.  It was a three-hour sail and I would definitely do it or a longer one again.  The Museum also has rides on a Swift Boat and other on-the-water excursions.

The crew going aloft to reef the sails

Our main sail

A view of the swanky interior of the Berkeley

The Star of India as seen from the U.S.S. Surprise


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