San Diego – Magical Seaport Village

Kona Kai Marina San Diego California

Kona Kai Marina

Shelter Island San Diego California

Pelican resting

Bird sculpture Old Town San Diego CA

Bird sculpture

Bike sculpture Old Town San Diego CA

Bike sculpture

Bottlenose Dolphin sculpture Old Town San Diego CA

Bottlenose Dolphin Sculpture

Kaleidescope sculpture Old Town San Diego CA

Kaleidoscope Interactive Sculpture

Maritime Museum San Diego

Historical Maritime Museum Ship

Star of India San Diego, CA

Marlin leaps across the Star of India's bow.

Street Performer, San Diego, CA

Street performing sculpture jumps

to life as we pass.

Bicycle sculpture San Diego CA

Bikes are an important part of San

Diego culture

Pedalcab in San Diego

Pedalcabs cruise the boardwalks along the water.

World War II Memorial San Diego CA

Mark and I mimic the famous WWII

victory sculpture.

Seaport Village Street Vendors San Diego CA

Tourists learn their fortunes from a psychic.

Seaport Village San Diego CA

Another street vendor offers parrot

cuddling for donations.

Ahh... I get one of several bird fixes during my San

Diego visit.

San Diego waterfront

San Diego -- what a city!

San Diego Boat Show

Beneteaus line the entrance to the boat show.

San Diego Boat Show

Yeah, I could live here!

San Diego Boat Show

Familiar but a little different than our fifth wheel.

San Diego Boat Show

Not bad for living aboard.

Shelter Island San Diego CA

An Umbrella Cockatoo peers down at me from a

swaying palm.

Shelter Island San Diego CA

Dave takes his cockatoo out for a

fly in the late afternoon.

Shelter Island San Diego CA

She loves every minute of her freedom.

Kona Kai Marina San Diego CA

Bird of Paradise flower.

San Diego Harbor

Good night fun, vibrant city.

Seaport Village & Boat Show, San Diego, CA

January, 2009 - We snuck away from the Arizona Desert and all the

holiday parties and good cheer and took a quick trip back to San Diego

for the annual January sailboat show.  We had had such a good time

there in October (Shelter Island and Mission Bay) that we wondered

if it would still be as nice.  Sure enough, as we pulled onto Shelter

Island, all the warm vibes we had felt in this spirited town came back.

It was bright and sunny, warm enough for shorts, and we were

surprised to recognize all the RVs lined up on the waterfront.  No one

had left!

We took our place among

them and quickly hopped

on our bikes to check out

all our old favorite haunts.

Not too much had changed

-- Kona Kai Marina was as

graceful as before, the pelicans still roosted and floated, soared and dove as they had

before, and the Navy jets and cruise ships and people walking their dogs and sailboats

criss-crossing the harbor still provided a kaleidoscopic backdrop to life on the


The boat show was way down at the other end of San Diego, and for the first time we

rode our bikes over to Seaport Village.  It is a six mile ride along the bike paths and

walking trails, and it brings you all the way around the harbor through the historic Old

Town.  This is an outdoor city that comes alive in the sunshine.  There is a series of

charming sculptures along this boardwalk.  I liked the bird sculpture and Mark liked the

wild-haired cyclist.

There was a lot of whimsy in

these sculptures, and one was

called "Bottlenose Dolphins" and

featured blue glass bottles on the

noses of the dolphins.  Another

was a giant kaleidoscope that

had lots of hand cranks and

beautiful colors when you peered

through it.

There is an extensive historical

maritime museum featuring

several ships of different eras

that are tied up at the docks for

tourists to walk through.  A

glistening, iridescent statue of a

marlin appeared to leap out of the

waves across the bow of the Star

of India ship behind.

Street performers and vendors of

all kinds line the boardwalks and

grassy areas, giving the city a

friendly, funky air.  One

apparently simple silver statue of

a man in a suit suddenly came to

life and made a face at us as we

rode by.

The boardwalks and paths are ideal for biking.

To see it all would make for a very long walk,

but taken slowly on a bike you can enjoy

everything that Old Town and Seaport Village

have to offer.  Along with the cycling statue we

saw earlier, there were other sculptural

references to bikes along the boardwalk.

Many tourists opt for a ride in a pedal-cab, and

we passed lots of these energetic cabbies toting

passengers all over the place.

Around one corner we came face

to face with a sculptural

representation of the famed WWII

photo of a sailor kissing a nurse

upon the victory of the Allies.  We

couldn't resist mimicking the

smooch, and found a friendly

fellow to take our picture.  He and

his large extended family of wife,

kids, parents and others all got a

huge laugh as we tried to get

ourselves situated just right and

asked him to re-take the photo

several times.

If you have something to sell or share with tourists, it

seems that the vending space is available.  A psychic

found a lovely spot for her umbrella-shaded table under

a tree, and another man brought out his collection of

parrots for people to play with, in hopes of a donation.  I

got my bird fix!

I lived on the Boston waterfront

in a sailboat for four years, but

beautiful as that city is, there is no comparison to San Diego for

warmth of spirit and oceanside magic.  San Diego harbor is

completely accessible to everyone.  Simply stroll along the water's

edge and you are thrust into the midst of the harbor's vibrant

energy.  There are many marinas, and a boat owner can choose

to be situated right among the sky scraping posh hotels downtown,

or over in the more suburban and natural atmosphere of Shelter


We finally made it to the boat show, our hearts filled with

satisfaction already.  As usual, it was a blast.  All the boats were

beautiful, and it was easy to dream, along with all the other show-

goers, as we waltzed on and off these lovely yachts.  After living in

the confines of a trailer for a 20 months, it was amusing to stand in

each of the boats' cabins and compare the layouts.

Back on Shelter Island we heard the strangest sound coming from the trees.  I thought it must

be a young gull that was sick.  It was an insistent call, higher pitched than a gull, but with a

similar volume.  We walked around the parking lot craning our necks as we stared into the trees.

Then I spotted it -- an Umbrella Cockatoo!  She was

clinging to the branches of a palm tree, swinging up and

down, calling out in sheer glee.

I would have been totally stunned to see her there if I

hadn't heard earlier about "The Bird Man" who lived in a

motorhome along the street.  We were told he would

sometimes free fly his cockatoo in the late afternoons.

At last we would have a chance to meet him!  Dave

showed up on his bike, and after a few minutes his

cockatoo "Bubbi" flew down and landed on his shoulder.

She clucked in his ear and walked down his arm, beak-

by-toe as parrots do, until she was settled on his bike


I was entranced.  I owned two lesser sulphur crested

cockatoos at one time and would have loved to have

given them the freedom of outdoor flight, but I was too

afraid.  Dave had no such fear, and his cockatoo

showed off for us for an hour.  She swooped from tree

to tree, making impossible landings on swaying

branches that gave her quite a ride as she hung on

with beak and claw, pumping the branches up and

down with powerful flaps of her wings while she

shrieked at the top of the her lungs.  A seagull flew by

her at one point and gave her a disapproving stare, but

she didn't care, she was free.  Shouldn't we all live that


Our three-day visit for the boat show turned into a 10-day stay.  Yet

again, we couldn't tear ourselves away from this enchanting place.

Finally our grey and black water tanks told us it was time to leave, and

we ventured back through Phoenix and on to a cross-country trip to the

Florida Panhandle.

It was only after we had been in Florida for a month that we discovered

San DIego had passed a law prohibiting RVs from parking overnight on

Shelter Island.  I understand their point -- we met RVers who had lived on

those streets for as much as nine years, and that's not right -- but it is a

shame that such a beautiful city has turned its back on budget RV

travelers who would like to experience its uplifting spirit for a few days or

weeks.  It wouldn't have been that hard or that costly to implement a system to monitor and limit RV stays.