"Quit hanging on to the handrails... Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it everyday"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wanderlust Wednesday - Cabrillo National Monument

Today's Wanderlust Wednesday brings you back to the Pacific coastline and one of my favorite things to do.  Visit National Parks!!  I love our National Park system which is way more then just the National Parks that you know of.  They also handle our National Monuments, Seashores, and Lakeshores.  Cabrillo is one of those monuments.  Set high on the Pacific coastline at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula, it commemorates the landing of Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo in 1542.  Cabrillo was the first European to set foot on the west coast.
monument
 This monument sits on the top of a hill and you can look out over the Pacific Ocean.  From various vantage points you can see San Diego city and the San Diego Harbor.  On the day that we were there it was cloudy and hazy, so the city was shrouded in haze and not super clear.  What we could see though was the very busy harbor area.  We saw several ships moving through the ocean and one of the top things for C to watch was a submarine come up out of the ocean!!  It was so coool!  Apparently the navy was doing some sea exercises the day that we were there.  My son was just in awe watching that submarine surface, because it was....  "A real sub with real navy guys, not a fake one like in the movies :)"  We tried waving at the guys who came out of the hatch, but I don't think they saw us.  We needed binoculars - note to self to bring binoculars everywhere I go.

battleship alley
 
You can see the cloudiness and haze we had that day.  We took a trip to the Visitor's Center where they had some fun things for the kids to play with.  C had a fun time trying on all the old armour and being amazed at how heavy it was to wear.  The rangers were super friendly.  C could have spent quite awhile in the Visitor's Center, but I wanted to find out about tide pooling.  Unfortunately for me the day we went was not a good day for tide pooling.  Helpful Tip 1 - When going to Cabrillo for tide pooling, make sure you find out ahead of time whether there even is any tide pooling.  Call ahead.  I had no idea that tide pooling was not a everyday daily activity, that sometimes you have to tide pool in the middle of the night.  I was bummed out, but couldn't wait to feast my eyes on the coastline, so we made the trek to the tide pooling area anyway.
I was so glad that we made the hike down to the tidepooling area because both of us could have spent HOURS investigating this area.  The waves just crashed up onto the rocks and you could get so close to the edge.  You need to be careful walking along the rocks because of how slippery they can get, but definately do it.  I could have spent hours just watching and photographing the waves!
wave action
 This coastline though calls to me more then any other coastline I have yet to see.  I love the wildness of it, the untamed, rough waters.  I know crystal clear calm water and beautiful beaches has its own beauty, but it doesn't feed my soul like the Pacific coast does.  I feel like I could just write poetry out there, constantly.  I don't know if I would ever get tired of it, even if I lived close by.  Unfortunately for me, I'm 3000 miles away from it.  After this trip though I do know that I have got to return to this coastline again.


me by coastline
Me - right where I belong
We were able to find some fun wildlife as we meandered around the rocks.  The day was chilly and the water even colder but that didn't stop me from rolling up my pants and taking off my shoes.  My barefeet helped to pick around the rocky shoreline where I searched out small aquatic animals.  They also stopped me from falling more then once, when I would get caught by a wave.  I tried to get a picture of a cute little hermit crab and some sort of octopus-like looking thing, but both moved too fast for me to capture with my camera and I had to be careful about where I stepped.  I did get a chance to photograph this guy though..

Flying pelican
He was fun to photograph and even more fun to watch fish.  While I wandered among the rocks, soul searching, my son found his own way of having some fun while at Cabrillo.  Check it out.

before getting soaked
Remember how I was talking about those fabulous waves.  Yeah well did I mention that they can shoot up quite high onto the coast?  Look at where the ocean is in the picture above and then watch...


after getting soaked
Yeah is that not like the coolest thing ever!!  Look at how high those suckers got!!  What kid can resist playing in that???  Certainly not my child!  Who needs electronic gadgets, video games, TV and movies when you have Pacific Ocean waves to play with haha!  I would have been frozen, but not my boy.  The cold didn't even faze him.  He kept playing catch me if you can with the waves for quite some time.  My job was to keep his shoes dry so he had something to walk in when he was done.  We were so not prepared for getting wet.  It didn't matter, we had a great time anyway!!
c by coastline
We never made it to the lighthouse.  I'm sure it's very cool.  Too many steps though I think and nothing compared to hiking on rocks alongside the ocean, in our personal opinion :).  We did make it to the various museums that are at the park.  Very interesting and informative if you are a history or military history buff.  The day we were there the park had a costumed military guy who showed C how a WWII radio worked and hold a rifle.  We also got to see a huge 16in. gun. 
 
The Basics
1.  Plan for a good, full day to explore it all, possibly 2 if you are slow
2.  Bring your camera in a waterproof backpack or be prepared to keep a very close eye on it
3.  Extra shoes, socks, and clothes (just in case your kids are like mine)
4.  Bring a sweatshirt - it was quite windy
5.  Bring binoculars - to watch the ships in the harbor
6.  $5 entrance fee that lasts for the week
7.  CALL ahead to find out about tide-pooling times
8.  Look around you and enjoy the wildness that is the Pacific Coast :)

This post is linked to Photo Thursday on Budget Travelers Sandbox, Photo Friday on R We There Yet Mom and Delicious Baby.  Please stop on by to see some more awesome travel posts!


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27 comments:

  1. We loved our visit to Cabrillo National Monument, but we didn't see any submarines -- with our without REAL navy guys. I had the tide charts for our entire visit to San Diego so I could pick the best time to visit this park. That's a really cool shot of the waves leaping up to your boy. The lighthouse is quaint, cozy and one of my favorites, but we never made it to any of the museums.

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    1. I wish I could have been able to pick. According to the park rangers the time I went was a bad time for tide pooling in general :(. Thank you I had as much capturing his fun as I did anything else. Hopefully I will make it back for both tide pooling AND the lighthouse. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Thank you for the interesting article! I enjoyed viewing the pictures...

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the article and the pictures :).

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  3. So glad you two made it to the tide pools and Cabrillo. I love the way you captured Cabrillo and the coastline. We love coming down to visit and the Visitor's Center has such cool stuff for the kids. Lucky for you to have seen the subs.

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    1. You and yours are lucky to live in an area with so many beautiful things to see and do. I'm glad we made it too and maybe someday I can actually tide pool here. The subs were one of the many highlights of our trip here and yes the Visitor Center is a lot of fun for kids and adults as well. Thanks for reading.

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  4. I too love visiting the National Parks! Cabrillo and the area are amazing. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

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    1. National Parks are one of my absolute favorite places to visit when I travel, although some of our state parks are equally fun too. I could have spent several more days in Cabrillo and the surrounding area. So much to see! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I love the Cabrillo National Monument. My grandpa is buried up there at Fort Rosecrans -- such a beautiful place.

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    1. What a neat place to be buried and yes it is very beautiful! Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. I love national parks too and this one is actually on my list of places to visit when we finally make it to the West Coast. I flew out years ago with friends when my kids were little and we explored some area beaches with tide pools. It was amazing to find the sea anemones and starfish! I really want my kids to have that experience.

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    1. I highly recommend it! I know I would really enjoy tide pooling, when I get a chance to do it. Just make sure to check the times to tide pool before you go. I can't tell you how disappointing it was for me to find out it was like at 2am and nothing close was going to work either. Lesson learned I guess. Thanks for reading!

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  7. This looks like a lot of fun. I grew up in Nova Scotia, and never tire of watching the waves.

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    1. It was lots of fun! I'm so with you on the wave action. I was going through my pictures and realized that I have a bit of an obsession with waves haha. Thanks for reading.

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  8. What a dramatic seascape! Amazing how the water shoots high up on the cliff. Really cool. I hope to make it to Cabrillo National Park one day.

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  9. It is very dramatic. I love that about this coastline! I took tons of wave pictures! I hope you get a chance to make it out there too. Beautiful! Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. That looks like such a great place to explore - didn't even know it existed! Thanks so much for lining up on Friday - sorry it took me so long to get over - I had a crazy busy weekend!!! Please continue to link up - have been enjoying your posts!

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    1. No problem. I know how that goes. I have a sick child, so much fun :(. Hope the rest of your week calms down.

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  11. That looks like a lot of fun. The San Diego area is definitely on our list of places to visit, so I'll add this to the list!

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    1. You definately need to! We could have easily spent two days wandering around. Thanks for reading.

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  12. Never heard of Cabrillo - or his monument. Love learning something new :)

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    1. Glad to have helped you learn something new :)
      Thanks for stopping by.

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