Boating and the Barefoot Bar

We were blessed with another fine weekend in San Diego. We’d made plans to meet up with friends and go out on a pontoon boat that Gary Stemple had reserved at Freedom Boat Club. Gary is a club member and has taken us out on a variety of boats.

Donna prepared for the boat ride by taking the Spyder over to Pacific Beach where she bought bagels and cream cheese and Bloody Mary fixings. We planned to meet Gary here in De Anza Cove at the boat dock near the RV park overflow parking lot. Donna and I carried our gear to the dock and saw Gary approaching around 10am. We found a gate on the dock which was locked – we hadn’t noticed this before – we’ve used the dock in the past. It appears the city decided to block access rather than maintain the dock.

Gary beached the boat next to the dock and we boarded. We expected to have seven or eight people, but a couple of people bailed out due to other activities. The three of us crossed Mission Bay and went back to Dana Landing where the boat club is located. We picked up Howard and Johnna Brutschy there. Along the way we cruised past a small island that we always referred to as Horsehoe Island back when we were growing up here – I see on Google maps the official name is West Ski Island. We reminisced about keg parties on the island back in the day. I saw a group with traditional Hawaiian style outrigger canoes beached there.

Horseshoe Island – look closely for a group with canoes (click to enlarge)

We picked up Howard and Johnna and began a leisurely cruise around the bay. The day was warming up nicely. As you can see from the photos, the ski was clear and the slight haze cleared by afternoon. The temperature reached the mid-70s – warmer than expected.

We cruised past Perez Cove to the southeast part of the bay, on the south side of Fiesta Island. There’s an area there called Hidden Anchorage. This inlet is restricted for use by the San Diego Ski Team members. To enter the inlet you need to obtain a permit from the San Diego Lifeguard Station. The permits are free, but you need to prove you’re a member of the club. The club practices for slalom competitions and ski jumping there. We drifted outside of the restricted area and since it was nearly noon, we made Bloody Marys.

Ski Club area at Hidden Anchorage

We slowly cruised past Sea World. Gary commented how his dad used to bring the family down there on his boat when he was young. They could watch the Shamu and dolphin shows from the bay near the water stadium.

Sea World

From there we picked up speed and circled around Fiesta Island and made our way to the dock behind the Hilton Hotel on East Mission Bay.

Gary, Howard, Johnna and Donna cruising the bay

We docked briefly for a comfort break there, then headed back out. We were just cruising and seeing the sights while we enjoyed the weather. We cruised out the Entrance Channel along the jetty and into the Pacific Ocean. We didn’t venture far from the Entrance Channel – the pontoon boat wasn’t really an ocean-going vessel. We spun around in lazy circles and took in the sights.

View to the north from the Entrance Channel. The jetty on the right is the north side of the channel and the boundary of Mission Beach. That’s La Jolla to the north in the distance.

Looking east toward the bay and Quivera Basin. The Hyatt Hotel can be seen on the left

We came back through the channel – the San Diego River and Dog Beach (Ocean Beach) were on the other side of the jetty on our right. We cruised past Quivera Basin, under the West Mission Bay bridge, then docked across from Ventura Cove at the Barefoot Bar and Grill. We ordered appetizers for lunch there and enjoyed the ambiance and view.

View from our table at the Barefoot Bar and Grill

There’s a pond – actually more like a moat – surrounding the seating area at the Barefoot Bar. They pump bay water into it and local fish swim around in it – including leopard sharks. The sharks we saw in the water were only about three feet long, but the average length of an adult leopard shark is close to five feet long and yes, they are found in Mission Bay.

Gary and Donna at our table – waterfall into the pond in the background.

That sums up an enjoyable, relaxing day on the bay. We returned the boat to Dana Landing around 3pm and Gary dropped us off back at Mission Bay RV Resort.

Sunday was overcast and cooler – the temperature only reached the high 60s. Hans Kohls had invited us to join him and Lisa at an event near Balboa Park – it was the SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-Off. We didn’t go though. Donna wanted to pick up some groceries and take a bike ride and I wanted to watch the Chargers game and see if their playoff hopes were real. They are at this point!

It was a great day for chili though. So Donna made her white chicken chili recipe – it’s delicious.

White chicken chili topped with crumbled tortilla chips, shredded Monterey jack cheese, avocado cubes and cilantro

The forecast for today is partly cloudy with a high in the upper 60s. We should have sunny weather and temperatures in the 70s for the week ahead. Donna hit her boot camp workout early this morning. I’ll head over to Ocean Beach Recreation Center to play pickleball and work off some of the beer and chili.



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