Kona Kai Marina
Bottlenose Dolphin Sculpture
Kaleidoscope Interactive Sculpture
Historical Maritime Museum Ship
Marlin leaps across the Star of India's bow.
Street performing sculpture jumps
to life as we pass.
Bikes are an important part of San
Pedalcabs cruise the boardwalks along the water.
Mark and I mimic the famous WWII
Tourists learn their fortunes from a psychic.
Another street vendor offers parrot
cuddling for donations.
Ahh... I get one of several bird fixes during my San
San Diego -- what a city!
Beneteaus line the entrance to the boat show.
Yeah, I could live here!
Familiar but a little different than our fifth wheel.
Not bad for living aboard.
An Umbrella Cockatoo peers down at me from a
Dave takes his cockatoo out for a
fly in the late afternoon.
She loves every minute of her freedom.
Bird of Paradise flower.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.