Meet the Californian

She is swift, she is sleek, and she is built after the revenue cutter C.W. Lawrence.  Meet the Californian.

california pic

Official Tallship Ambassador of the State of California, she was built right here in our own backyard in Spanish Landing Park in San Diego.  Today the San Salvador is following in her footsteps with viewing of her progress open to public observation.

A multinational approach was used in her construction–making Californian a truly unique vessel.  Her wood came from Belize, among other places, Master Shipwright Jayford Hazell arrived from Jamaica to work on Californian, and Mexican pesos were even used in lieu of regular metal slugs.

The day of her launch quickly approached and on May 28th, 1984 a crowd gathered to see her set sail for the first time.  Unfortunately the beach was too shallow and the wheels of the launching cradle sank in the silt, preventing her launch #oops.  Californian was towed down Harbor Drive to the Coast Guard Air Station and launched the next day from one of the seaplane ramps instead.

One of her more memorable achievements is leading the 4th of July boat parade celebrating the opening of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.

Californian has visited many ports representing the state, made a Millennium Goodwill Voyage through the Panama Canal for the OP-Sail 2000, took eight tons of medial relief supplies to Acapulco to aid victims of the 1985 Mexico City Earthquake, and has make many other goodwill voyages.  She has also been featured in Hollywood.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego acquired Californian from the Nautical Heritage Society in 20o2.  Since then she has been restored, embarked on another goodwill tour, used as an educational vessel, and used for public and private sailing adventures.

I have personally had the pleasure of sailing aboard the Californian and loved every minute of it.  I learned many fun facts about sailing and even got to haul the lines and steer!  It is definitely one of my favorite San Diego memories.  If you’re interested in sailing, Adventure Sails are available to the public through our website:

Come by and meet her!

Fair winds,

Erica Geary

Contiental Catering Food Tasting

Yesterday I visited Continental Catering, one of our preferred caterers here at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.  They prepared a special tasting for our Event Venues team and totally wowed us!

Event Venues Team

The facility was bright and welcoming and it was fun mingling with our friends at Continental Catering.

They offer special tastings to help you select the perfect menu for your event be it a wedding reception, meeting, or party.

The Continental team is great at helping each client design a custom menu.  Just ask them if there is something special you have in mind!

My taste buds were jumping with joy at each of the delicious concoctions they served us.  For starters we enjoyed an Antipasto Plate of Olives, Mozzarella, Roasted Bell Hummus, and Baguette.  It was the perfect start to a decadent meal and a great idea for any catered event since it can be served as guests are seated and give them something to snack on.

Then came the interactive Apple Salad.  It was served in a mason jar and was definitely the most fun part of the meal because we got to shake them before we ate them.  It sounds simple–but it’s a lot of fun–so make sure to remind your guests to tighten the lids before shaking.  It included Mixed Baby Greens, Avocado, Bacon, Apple Toasted Pecans, Raisins, Blue Cheese, and Apple Vinaigrette.  Rolls and butter fit nicely on the plate as well since we ate the salad right out of the jar.  It was fun, easy to eat, and kept me (usually very anti-vegetable) interested and eating as I uncovered all of the goodies.

Next we sampled Grilled Cheese Triangles with Fig and Brie with Truffle and Curry Cauliflower Soup Shots for Appetizers.  The grilled cheese was to die for.  The flavors blended together in a perfect sweet and savory combination.

After all of that we were served three Small Tasting Plates.  First we tried the Waguy Beef & Black Truffle Ravioli & Pea Shoot Ravioli with Date & Poblano Sauce.  The sauce was sweet and tangy, once again creating an extraordinary flavor.

Golden Chicken

Tangerine Grilled Salmon with Seasoned Couscous Topped with Tangerine Sauce followed, accompanied by Golden Chicken which included Chicken Roulades sliced and served on Rosemary-Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Vegetables.

To top it all off, we sampled the Fruit Tart drizzled in Caramel Sauce for dessert.  I was so full by the time dessert arrived, but I had to eat most of it.  It was too good to leave alone.

After finishing our delicious meal, we took a tour of their enormous kitchen.  It was very impressive.

On our way out they even sent us home with a chocolate milk and cookies party favor–which is a great idea for weddings or corporate events.  It’s always nice to take a little something home and who doesn’t love cookies?

Thanks Continental Catering for an awesome meal!  It was wonderful.  Want to see more photos?  Check out our Facebook and Flickr account for the rest!

Fair winds,

Erica Geary

Maritime Ghost Conference 2012


Did I scare you?  I may not have, but I know some stories that will!

We have some ghoulish guests coming to town for the Maritime Ghost Conference this Fall 2012.  The conference will be hosted right here at the museum on the Berkeley and is open to the public.  Tickets will be available soon on:  Mark September 15th on your calendars and get ready for ghosts!

This year the Maritime Ghost Conference, hosted by the San Diego Ghost and Paranormal Group, will delight guests with experts on maritime ghosts and presentations on various haunted ships, including the Star of India.  There will be guest speakers, loads of information on paranormal activity aboard ships, and the proceeds of the event will go to the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

Paranormal Investigations on the Star of IndiaStar of India – © Ken Westermann

Want to be a part of a special paranormal investigation aboard the Star of India and the Berkeley ferryboat?  Click here to find out how:

Berkeley Paranormal Investigations Steam Ferry Berkeley – © Jim Feeler

Do you believe in ghosts?

Hope to see you there!

Fair winds,

Erica Geary

Meet The Medea

Allow me to introduce you to the often overlooked, yet impressive Medea.

The steam yacht Medea is one of three remaining Edwardian yachts in existence today.

She was built in Scotland in 1904 as a private yacht for William Macalister Hall.  His family used her for hunting trips to remote islands and to take friends on excursions.

William Macalister Hall

During her lifetime, Medea changed ownership multiple times and was sold to the French Navy in 1917 to be used for anti-submarine patrol.  Her name was briefly changed to Corneille during her service in WWI.  Later she was sold back into private ownership.

In WWII Medea served in both the British Royal Navy and the Norwegian Navy before being sold again.  She became a floating art gallery in 1969.  Her last owner, Paul Whittier, presented Medea to the Maritime Museum of San Diego in July of 1973.

Her galley had a wood-burning stove and a wooden icebox.

Medea is sleek and powerful, with her many aesthetic embellishments and double reciprocating steam engine.

She boasts luxurious sleeping cabins below the main deck and has two heads, one with a bathtub.

Today she is used as part of the museum’s exhibits and sometimes sails as a special “Thank you” to museum donors and guests.

Come take a look for yourself.  She is a gem.

Fair winds,

Erica Geary

Meet the “HMS” Surprise

One of my favorite vessels here at the museum has to be the “HMS” Surprise.  She is a replica of the mid-eighteenth century British Royal Navy frigate, HMS Rose.

The Rose fought along the coast of France and in the Caribbean in the mid-1700s and was later sent to patrol the New England coast to put an end to the smuggling trade of molasses and rum in Rhode Island.  She may have even been the stimulus for the formation of the US Navy, as colonists petitioned Congress to defend against the Rose.

The replica vessel, built in 1970, was originally called the “HMS” Rose, created as part of a fleet of replica ships significant to the American Revolution.  She then served as a dockside attraction in Rhode Island, was restored to sailing condition, and became a sailing school vessel from 1991-2000.

Her name was not changed to “HMS” Surprise until 2001 when 20th Century Fox purchased her and she became famous.

She was showcased as “HMS” Surprise in academy award winning film, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.  Later, she was also used in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

With such star quality, I would have to describe the Surprise as a diva.  She is also a bit of a control freak, a rule-enforcer, and at times overbearing, though all of her flaws are forgiven once you meet her, and are charmed by her impressive strength and elegance.

Today in San Diego, California her decks host an assortment of events and conceal treasure only the bravest of buccaneers dare to uncover during Pirate Parties.  As a full rigged ship, her sails create an adventurous backdrop for weddings and corporate events alike.  The Surprise is available for rent and to be explored here at the museum.  Hope you can stop by to admire the diva of our fleet.

Fair winds,

Erica Geary

Breaking Routine

Who is tired of the same daily routine?  What do you do when your days get all too predictable and start sucking the life out of you?

I know when I get stuck in the rigid hold of routine I start getting restless and agitated.  That is when I start looking for ways to shake things up and do something different.  Sometimes the perfect solution to “Restless Routine Syndrome” is a vacation from your day-to-day.


There are lots of ways to go on vacation–and not all require taking a lot of time off work.  Try a new activity, get outside, walk or bike without having any set destination in mind.  These are good ways to start if you don’t have the time to go anywhere.

Planning a getaway is another great way to refresh and revitalize your life.  For me, these adventures can range anywhere from a day to over a month and usually involve:

  • Leaving the city I live in to get a change of scenery (even if it is for another city)
  • Exploring–nature, art, culture, language, foods, or a new place
  • Spending time with friends or making new friends along the way
  • Being active
  • And having fun of course!

Here are a few examples of my getaways from 2011:

  • Venice Beach “Pretend to Be a Tourist Day”
  • LA Redbull Soapbox Races Day
  • Newport Beach Weekend
  • San Luis Obispo Boating Weekend
  • India for a Month

Need some ideas to start some adventures of your own?  Let us help!  With the Maritime Museum of San Diego you can:

The best part is–it’s all about you–so enjoy what makes you come alive.

What sounds like a fun getaway to you?

Fair winds,

Erica Geary

Pirate Party Planning 101

Pirate Party

Birthdays are the best–especially if you have a fun way to celebrate with friends.  I recommend the Pirate Party for kids and adults.  So how is it done?

Here are 7 key steps to Pirate Party success:

1. Find a huge ship

2. Hire pirates

3. Decorate the ship

4. Engage is swashbuckling activities

5. Eat, drink (juice or something for kids of course), and be merry

6. Search for treasure

7. Divide the loot among the crew

That’s pretty simple right?


Pirate Birthday

You can give us a call and we will do all of the planning for you.  Conveniently enough, we can do all of those things!  Just dress up, and focus on the fun.

Email for more info.

Fair winds,

Erica Geary