Friday, November 21, 2014

November 20, 2014 - San Diego Part 3

This past week we purchased the four day San Diego Go Pass from Costco.  We spent much of the four days out at attractions as part of the pass.  I believe the cost for two days at Sea World is close what we paid for all we did in four days, it was  definite bargain for us.  We spent hours trying to figure out our itinerary to maximize the 4-day pass.  On nomal days (without the pass) we are typically back to the boat by dark (5:00PM), but on our Go Pass days we were leaving by around 8am and returning between 6-8pm, in the dark.    All has been safe, but Zappa has been a bit lonely.  All of the below attractions were included with the pass.

Day 1, Monday's first stop was Legoland.  We had been there before but decided that this would be one stop the kids would really enjoy.  Especially since they had been talking about LegoLand for the past month.  We spent about three hours there before heading off to go kart racing at the Miramar Speed Circuit.
They had each of the main scenes from the Star Wars movies recreated in Legos.

Life size Chewbacca, entirely made out of Legos.
After three hours there we sped off to Miramar Speed circuit for a race.  This was nice as we could all race together.  Kevin is still a bit small for the adult size karts and in other facilities we could not all race together.  It was just the four of us in the race which was nice (school kids were still in school).  Following that it was off to Boomers for a few rides and miniature golf.  They had two courses (not in great condition) and we played both of them.
This is the closest our kids have been to a school-house this school year.
That was the end of day 1, three stops with lots of fun.  This was the day we traveled the furthest and got to experience San Diego traffic, which I think rivals Seattle's infamous traffic.

Day 2 was all day at SeaWorld.  We also spent half of the next day at Seaworld, as we could not get through it all in one day.  It was great, there were NO lines for the rides. We saw all the shows and on the first day received a special surprise gift of a one hour "behind the scenes" tour just by being at the right place at the right time when two employees came up behind us and presented us with our tour certificates.
Mom and a baby (will turn 2 years old on valentines day)
Steve, Cindy, and Kevin on the Manta ride - I had to hold the backpack :) 

Steve, Cindy, and Kevin on the Manta roller coaster.
During the 2 days here Cindy and Kevin rode this about 20 times and sat
in every seat in every row!

Dolphin and Pilot whale show - the Christmas special

The Shamu show!  Not many people here this time of year.

The Shamu show.  SeaWorld has 10 whales and a baby expected next month

The Shamu show.  Wow!
 The backstage tour that we won was awesome.  It was an hour-long walking tour where we got to see the animal care facility.  There were several rescued sea lion pups (no Mom could be found) so they are being cared for and will be reintroduced into the wild when they can take care of themselves.  Below is a shot of Cindy and Kevin looking at a pool where a mom and baby dolphin were swimming.  They are really curious and came right up to take a look at us.  Did you know that dolphins can have one eye looking at you and the other in another direction?
Curious dolphins come to look at us

Following the care center we got to see the Humbolt Penquins which is a threatened species and not available for public viewing.  They are working to study and breed these penguins at SeaWorld.
Humbolt penguins.  We were the only people visiting the park
to see them today.

The final part of the tour was learning and feeding a turtle species; the Green Turtle.  It is named green not for it's color but because it's blood is green!
Cindy and Kevin at the turtle pool

Tree at entrance to SeaWorld

Beluga Whale tank.

Yes, that is real snow in SeaWorld and Cindy and Kevin on the little sled run!

Day 2 we came back and prepared for getting wet.  Cindy and Kevin went a second time
but said it was too light without Dad and I for a good ride.

Cindy and I on the Bayride at sunset, it was beautiful.  This is a chairlift-like
ride that takes you high above the water and over a marina.
Day 3 included SeaWorld but the morning was spent at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.  We spent two hours in the exhibits and then went to an iMax movie about the Nile river.
A catenary - the curve that an idealized hanging chain assumes under its own weight 
when supported only at its ends.  Cindy and Kevin built this one!    
Cindy and Kevin's image in low-resolution boxes.
There were lots of interesting exhibits in the "illusion
and vision" section of the museum. 
Day 4 started with turning in our car just after 8am and walking over to the Go Car.  We had a free half hour that we could use for it but decided to pay to have it be an hour.  What a fun adventure as the car told us about buildings, architecture and some history.  Kevin and I were in back so we did inhale some fumes from the front car but overall, it was a fun and informative hour.
Steve and Cindy in front just about ready to head along the waterfront.
These are registered as motorcycles.

Kevin and I in the back.  These things go up to 30mph.
Next up we walked over to the USS Midway Museum.  It is an Aircraft carrier that we have been looking at now for a week from our boat.  It was commissioned right after World War II and was decommissioned in 1992.  There are many facts about this ship that we would love to share but too much time for us to spend now.  Steve and I were excited to go aboard.  I realize it probably was not so but it sure seemed that most of the vessel was open for viewing.  We highly recommend this for anyone coming to San Diego.  It was HUGE!  The Audio Tour was a great benefit and they had two choices, one for kids, so we could choose what to listen to.  There is a device you hang around your neck and headphones plug into that.  You simply typed in the number for the audio tour when you arrived at a particular section and inform you about that area and even offer additional commentary from someone who was on the ship and working that part of it.  It was very well done and there were perhaps 100 audio segments aboard.  They had many planes and helicopters to tour as well.  You could sit in the cockpit of some of them too.  The Docents were incredible and many were retired military with experience at the area they were stationed. We listened to two talks, one on how they brought in aircraft and another on launching from the ship.  We also got a guided tour of the bridge and Captains quarters. We saw much of the ship, everything from the hospital/medical area to several of the galleys (kitchens), berthing (sleeping areas), heads (bathrooms), engine room, brig (jail) and so much more.  Each had audio tour information as well as informational boards telling about it's history.
Cindy and Kevin in the cockpit of a plane on the Hangar Deck

Kevin and Cindy on the Flight Deck

Kathy, Cindy, and Kevin on the flight deck,
We had a nice lunch at a waterfront restaurant and then a quick stop to the Maritime Museum.  We were able to tour a Soviet Submarine and as well a tall ship.  Back when it was in service this B-39 Soviet Submarine was most likely tracking some our our US ships that now are located here in San Diego.

Following that we took a quick tour of the "Star of India" ship.  It is 150 years old! Following that we walked about a block to go on a 1 hour tour-boat ride of the south bay.  Steve and I were once again excited to do this as we knew it would include much information about all of the Navy ships that we saw on our "Adagio" cruise through the bay a week ago.  The person narrating was x-navy and told us much about the ships as we passed by as well as other landmarks and information.  We were quite tired at the end of it all.  When we exited the ship there were bicycle powered taxi people offering up a ride. We really were not wanting to spend any money but were also very tired.  The gentleman negotiated a deal after stating that he too had kids.  Kevin had already gotten on his "bike" and rode it a few feet but had to get off since we had decided not to take the taxi.  30 seconds later the taxi driver agreed to our price so we all hopped on.  He could take us to the top of the ramp where our dinghy was tied up.  I felt bad to short change him and the ride was so much fun that we ended up giving him close to what he was asking for.  He had music, lights and a disco ball.   When we got off we all commented on that it was farther than we remembered so were glad to end the day and the four day pass with some music and lights.  Getting back to the boat at 6pm, we were exhausted.  Cindy asked if she could sleep in and we said yes but it is a school day.  The kids had not had school in a week.
Our crazy bike-taxi ride.  Music, disco ball, and lights!

Today we got back to school.  Cindy did three days in one day today.  Did she sleep in?  Nope, it was probably 6:30am again.  The daylight savings time change is a contributing factor to our early rising kids, plus we moved to the anchorage area next to the airport.  At 6:20am life at the airport seems to start with jets roaring down the runway.  There is also a major construction project off the point here this is in full swing by 7:00AM with air powered tools, hammering, sawing, and construction workers yelling over the noise.  We are not complaining, the sun is out every day and we are enjoying this beautiful city.  Plus the anchorage is very calm and quiet at night.

Next up, several more days to prepare for our Mexico entrance.  We are close but not quite ready.  Our departure is now sometime next week I imagine between Tuesday and Friday depending on weather.

Oh, I have to mention that we saw a catamaran come into the cruisers anchorage here. Steve just knew he had seen this boat somewhere back in the NW and most likely from Shelter Bay.  It is called "Dueling Dragons" and has some Chinese writing on it,  Anyone remember it?  It was moored in Shelter Bay on Nootka Place, it's 48' long and looks to be just about as wide :-)  They are here and headed south as we are.  Steve just chatted with them this AM.  What a small world we live in.  1500 miles from home, on a boat, and here is one of our neighbors on their boat just 200' away.

More to come just before we leave the United States of America!

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