San Diego SEAL tour is a two-hour narrated tour which takes you from land at Seaport Village into the water at Shelter Island. This was a first for all of us, on this tour and in an amphibious vehicle (which really feels more like a bus on water than a boat). Based on the tour name I thought we would just be looking at seals but it was so much more, focusing not only on ecology but on the history of San Diego, including the naval history. First of all, we learned that the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel at Seaport Village is tallest building on the waterfront in the West Coast. (When I double checked this fact later I learned that it is also Southern California’s largest hotel.) The highlight of the tour was learning about the Navy’s relationship with sea lions and dolphins, and seeing it first hand. The Navy US Marine Mammal Program has been based in Point Loma since the 1960s. They train these animals to attach recovery lines to objects dropped on the ocean floor, detect mines, and apprehend unauthorized swimmers and divers. Not only did we see dolphins being trained at the facility, we also saw a dolphin jump into a boat to be taken out into the harbor for further training. (They have to be covered with a tent while on the boat since they sunburn so easily.) It was all so intriguing. Upon further research I discovered that you can actually tour the Navy training facility. I have already sent them email inquiring about this process.
What a great day in San Diego celebrating my niece’s big 1-8!