Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Mesmerizing View

One of the first places in San Diego that we visited with my second-cousin Karen and her husband Richard was Point Loma.

Point Loma was first discovered by Europeans on September 28, 1542 when Portuguese navigator Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo departed from Mexico and led an expedition for the Spanish crown to explore the west coast of what is now the United States. Cabrillo described San Diego Bay as “a very good enclosed port,” and historians believe he probably docked his flagship on Point Loma’s east shore. This was the first landing by a European in present-day California, so that Point Loma has been described as “where California began”.

This is a view of the north end of Coronado Peninsula. (It wasn't until the Second World War that the space between North Island and South Coronado, called the Spanish Bight, was filled in.)

Only seven years after the Wright Brother's first flight, a Curtis airplane landed on North Island. That same year, 1910, North Island became the "Birthplace of Naval Aviation" (officially designated as such by resolution of the House Armed Services Committee in 1963) when Navy Lieutenant Theodore Ellyson transferred here to receive flight instruction from the Curtis Aviation Camp. At that time, North Island was an uninhabited sand flat. It had been used in the late 19th century for horseback riding and hunting by guests of J. D. Spreckles' resort hotel, the now famous del Coronado built in 1888. (shown in the center of the photo, below). Seven years later (1917), the Naval Air Station, North Island, was established.

South Coronado became famous as the city of Coronado with some of the most expensive and exclusive residential and resort property in the nation. Fortunately for the Navy, North Coronado was never developed. Instead, Glen Curtiss opened a flying school and held a lease to the property until the beginning of World War I.

One of history's most famous aviation feats was the flight of Charles A. Lindbergh from New York to Paris in May, 1927. That flight originated at North Island on May 9, 1927, when Lindbergh began the first leg of his journey.

As we watched sailboats and motorboats travel from the Pacific around North Coronado into San Diego Bay, Kate caught this "formation" of three sailboats.

We thought that it would be possible to spend hours just watching sailboats moving slowly through the waters.

We tried to imagine an aircraft carrier moving through these same waters. That would be quite an impressive sight.

Looking closely at the motorboat racing through this scene, you can see a flock of birds following closely behind. We thought this scene indicated the day of fishing had been very successful.

As we headed back to the RV Park, we passed through a portion of the Fort Rosecrans cemetery. Fort Rosecrans became a National Cemetery on Oct. 5, 1934. The decision to make the post cemetery part of the national system came, in part, due to changes in legislation that greatly increased the number of persons eligible for burial in a national cemetery.

Over 96,000 men and women of the United States Armed Services and their families are buried here.

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