Friday, April 11, 2014

Spanish explorer sailed into San Diego Bay 50 years after Columbus met the New World

Cabrillo Monument is a lovely day trip.


Cabrillo National Monument and its dramatic sandstone cliffs and tide pools offer natural wonders and fine views.

IMAGINE HIS JOY and wonder as he sailed into the bay. Surely he admired the curves and lushness of the coastline, the Mediterranean-like foliage so similar to what he left behind in Spain and the Canary Islands. The bird life, the whales....
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first known European to "discover" this picturesque and beautiful corner of southern California now known as San Diego.
Tide pools and caves attract hikers and nature lovers.
TODAY, HE is remembered here in southern San Diego, 20 miles north of Mexico.
Cabrillo National Monument is located at the tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California. It commemorates the landing of Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28,
Juan Cabrillo.

1542. He was to die less than a year later on January of 1543; controversy shrouds his death, which could have been from a fight with native Chumash people, or from an infection following a broken shoulder -- or both. Cabrillo's end remains as mysterious as the waters he explored
A beautiful coastline welcomed Cabrillo as it does visitors.
DESPITE the possible turbulence of his death, Cabrillo National Monument is a calming sanctuary , protected by federal law and a haven for hummingbirds, Indian paintbrush, buckwheat and other flora, and during migration the magnificent 50-feet long gray whales. Sea anemones can be observed in the tidepools, curling in their tentacles and shrinking to a ball if startled.
WE VISITED this calming sanctuary recently with friends, to enjoy the tide pools, lighthouse and national surveillance boats.
A sailboat meets the sunset off Point Loma and Cabrillo.
From Cabrillo, on the southern tip of historic Point Loma, one can see military bunkers from World War II and the stunning whales going north or south depending on the season.
One of the country's most successful national park bookstores is also on the property, and in the visitors' center, videos run at various times.  There's parking with a view, and a pleasant hike to take. The view is stunning on a clear day when one can see down to Mexico, across to Coronado, and up towards the city. Follow the trail to the top of the cliff, and you'll find a well maintained historic Point Loma Lighthouse with its original furniture.  Taken out of service in 1891, it was a landmark for many years, welcoming sailors to San Diego harbor and equipped with the best technology of the day.
IF YOU TIME it right, you'll even see volunteers dressed up in period costumes, talking about the lighthouse and its importance.
A nappy sea lion takes in the sun and waters.
You can hike the easy walk to the tide pools, or if you're more ambitious, consider taking the Bayside Trail, a three-mile round trip for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.
THE TRAIL and park open at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. A national park entrance fee of a reasonable $5 helps maintain the place, and senior park passes are recognized.

Besides diverse living things, come
see Cabrillo's beautiful lighthouse.

IT'S A PLEASANT day trip for visiting guests, standing on the southern tip of the U.S., with a view of Mexico, the Pacific and fabulous scenery. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail to the tide pools only.
Oregon blue cheese stars
in the blog next time!
If you want a genuine, novel place to show off San Diego and this beautiful and historic corner of Southern California, Cabrillo's it!
You'll learn that he was looking for the mythic Strait of Anian when he departed western Mexico and sailed northward.
COMING NEXT: Cheese has been around for thousands of years -- in cultures worldwide.  It's hard to beat the Oregon blue cheese we tasted recently, on a trip to that corner of the U.S.  What a friend we have in cheeses -- next, at  Visit us weekends and Wednesdays and please share our link with friends.


  1. Just discovered this fun post, looking for places to take our guests to San Diego. They delayed their trip by nearly 3 months from Boston but are braving Covid next week! Thanks for this fun idea.