To start off…we probably visit the harbor several times a month and have done so ever since we built our first dory. For us it is a calm beautiful place to take the dory. No worries about the sea state or parking; simply back the boat down the ramp and go.
The harbor is always interesting and offers up surprises: from the sea slugs at the ramp to some of the prettiest well kept boats in Socal. Habor seals, pelicans, dolphins off shore, there is always some type of wildlife to see.
A typical summer outing for us involves rowing up to the restaurant area and having lunch at the Alley. Nothing better than a pulled pork sandwich and a Hoppy Poppy as the wind and fog blows off the ocean (bring your jacket). After lunch we head to the sand spit at the harbor entrance. This area offers tons of fun for the kids. Boogey boarding on the east side to perfect cannon ball episodes on the other. If the mood is right or the weather a bit chilly we head to the Maritime Museum. At this point both my boys are at least aware of what is a Fresnel lens and what saturation diving entails (maybe). Downwind from the museum toward the harbor entrance don’t miss a chance to coast underneath the Channel Cat!
Sterns Warf is also not to be missed, coasting under the pier and around the pilings can sharpen your rowing skills and if your lucky pull in a flounder or two.
Sailing..sailing what about the sailing. I have to admit this harbor has taught me the most about learning to sail the dory. Every afternoon the wind kicks up to 10-15 knots, usually from the west and boom you are off to the races. Take the boat out into the open ocean on a broad reach nothing finer! Bring her back up the main channel and most days its blood and tears to make that final tack by the bait pier. But triumph and joy when you can pull it off and ghost on to the dock in front of the revelers on the Double Dolphin.
Another wondrous outing is to go for a row or sail and then have dinner at Brophy Bros. Something very cool about hopping off the boat, maybe with wet shoes or shorts and having dinner while looking down on your boat. Of course, finish off the evening with a moonlit row back to the boat ramp.
What I have offered up in a few short words is a gem of a harbor right in our back yard. Full of all the adventure and finery as you are willing to discover. See you out there….