Shelter Island isn’t really an island since it is connected to the mainland by a causeway. The “Island” was created as a result of dredging from San Diego Bay and as such it offers protection to the yachts and boats at the yacht clubs. It is a popular weekend spot for picnickers, fishermen and boaters.
The lack of traffic on the island makes it perfect for getting in a nice walking tour. The hike is about two miles long and is flat and easy for anyone. Parking on the island is free so we decided to park near the Shelter Island Boat Launching ramp. From here there is a fantastic view across the bay of the skyline of the city of San Diego. We imagine it is an even nicer view at night…
As we left the boat ramp we passed the Shelter Island Gazebo, one of many exhibits found on Shelter Island designed by a local artist named James Hubbell. Looking toward San Diego one can see the area known as the America's Cup Harbor. It was given this name in honor of the America's Cup yacht races held there in 1988, 1992, and 1995. Then we noticed a cool bronze sculpture of three fishermen working to bring in a catch called the Tunaman's Memorial overlooking San Diego bay and the nice beach on Shelter Island. Across the bay we saw the Naval Air Station and a large group of planes on its grounds.
The walk continued along a nicely laid out trail along the bayside and we watched sailboats meandering peacefully along the blue Pacific waters. Along the walkway there are several well placed and inviting sitting areas with Bougainvilleas draping over frames in such a way as to provide both shade and vivid splashes of color. Nearing the end of Shelter Island there is another art feature, the Bell of Friendship. The Bell faces a beautiful view of the bay as it empties out into the Pacific Ocean. It weighs two and a half tons and hangs in an open wooden façade. There is a definite Buddhist feel when you are near the bell as the design is very zennish (if that is a word). It was presented to San Diego in 1960 by her "sister city," Yokohama, Japan and is on display at Shelter Island. Near the Bell is the another of Hubbell’s works, a beautiful mosaic tile fountain.
Rounding the tip of the island just across the way from the fountain is the Harbor Police building situated across the bay from the palatial homes of the La Playa district in Point Loma. From there we started heading back along the opposite shoreline beginning behind the Kona Kai Resort and looking out over the harbor. There were hundreds if not thousands of small boats and yachts, some with very interesting names.
We thought the Kona Kai Resort was beautiful, well appointed and meticulously landscaped. We also really appreciated there was access to such a nice walkway all the way around the island along the shoreline for visitors to enjoy. Once we got past the resort area we went back across the street and returned to our car. A great walk, one I am sure we will do again before leaving here.
We still haven’t decided what we will do next. We are scheduled to leave here on Oct.15th but haven’t entirely ruled out staying in this area longer. We are thinking we would like to spend a month or more in Southern Arizona in either Yuma, Mesa or in the Parker area. Anyone out there with any suggestions for parks in these areas or any other parks in Southern Arizona?