We made our way into the pretty and busy San Diego Bay and had to figure out where to set up camp. There are a few anchorages in the bay that you can stay at for a maximum of 72 hours at time. But there is one that you can stay at for an extended period of time- A9, the cruisers’ anchorage. Here you can get a 30 day permit and then extend twice for a total of 90 days in a year. To get the permit you stop at the cop dock upon arrival, call to request an inspection, and then show a police officer that you have a holding tank, an oil-free bilge, fire extinguishers, and life jackets. The catch is you can’t be a San Diego resident to get a permit. They city really tries to deter people from living on anchor, as I guess there were problems in the past of derelict boats clogging up the lower bay. If you’re a non-resident the process is easy and as a bonus the cop dock has a pump out station, and hot showers to poach. We got our permit, cleaned up, and moved over to A9… our home for the next week. Right? Wrong….
This anchorage is protected, comfortable, nestled between Harbor Island and downtown, with a sweet view of the skyline and of all the insane activity of the bay. All day long there are warships, cruise ships, containers ships, ferryboats, fishing boats, and an array of smaller vessels cruising by. Apparently there are submarines too, though they are easy to miss for obvious reasons. The airport is right next-door and those planes are sharing air space with naval and coast guard helicopters and jets (Top Gun style). The navy seal training facility is right across the way and periodically we see them out actually training dolphins to find divers! Our view also includes a couple aircraft carriers, tall ships from the 1800s, some WWII submarines, and various other historical boats. There are a series of packed dinghy docks to tie up to that put you right downtown (people lock up everything- the dinghy, the motor, even the oars!). This harbor is serious business! And yet somehow our anchorage is surprisingly peaceful as we bob around with the birds and the occasional sea lion.