The Capper Nomads North America Adventure travel blog

Rocky coast line

Watching the waves!

Another spectacular view

Surfing USA

Brown Pelican

Another view along the coast

Grashing sea

Brown Pelicans roosting

Navy ship entering San Diego Harbour

Downtown San Diego

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

Monument to Cabrillo


The first European to land on California soil was the Portuguese adventurer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who put ashore at Point Loma in 1542. Cabrillo claimed the bay for the Spanish Empire and named the site San Miguel. In 1602, Sebastián Vizcaíno was sent to map the California coast. Arriving on his flagship San Diego, Vizcaíno surveyed the harbour and named the area for the Catholic Saint Didacus, a Spaniard more commonly known as San Diego.

White settlement of the area did not start till two hundred years later when a mission and garrison was built high on a site overlooking San Diego Bay. For many years the San Diego and the surrounding areas were part of Mexico. By 1847 San Diego was part of the United States and slowly developed, many times playing second fiddle to Los Angeles. However in World War II San Diego became the Pacific Command Center for the US Navy and today the town is dominated by the navy presence.

We started our exploration of San Diego by visiting Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument. This was the location where Cabrillo and his crew became the first Europeans to land in California. We first made our way to the west coast of the peninsula and enjoyed a great walk (in the sunshine) along the Tidal Pool trail. As well as great views of the coast line we had brown pelicans souring above us in wonderful formations. We were also able to watch surfers riding the waves. Rather them then us!

From there we made our way to the highest point on the peninsula and explored the old gun batteries and search light bunkers built between 1918 and 1943. The high point also gave views of the harbour and ocean. Also at this higher level was the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built between 1854 and 1855 and for 36 years, except on foggy nights, welcomed sailers to San Diego harbour. The lighthouse had over the years eleven keepers and twenty two assistant keepers. However the location of the light had a serious flaw. Fog and low clouds often obscured the light. So in 1891 a new light station was built at the bottom of the hill!

Our final stop was to walk to the monument celebrating Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and watch navy vessels entering and leaving the San Diego harbour.



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