In 1542 from a 100-foot Spanish galleon carrying officers, crew, slaves, a priest, and the ship’s captain, explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, landed in San Diego Bay near Point Loma. They were the first Europeans to reach California.
Cabrillo was 42 years old and had become one of the richest explorers of the New World. He began working in shipping and moved on to join Cortés in New Spain (Mexico). He went to Guatemala, where his success in gold-mining sealed his fortune.
Cabrillo was commissioned to lead the expedition up the Pacific coast in search of trade opportunities, and maybe even a route to China or across the Northwest Passage. Cabrillo owned the vessels, the San Salvador, La Victoria, and the San Miguel, and would reap the profit from trade or treasure on his voyage. A year after landing in San Diego he died due to infection while wintering at Santa Catalina Island at age 43.
1492 N. Harbor Drive, Downtown San Diego
Now, some 475 years later, a full-scale replica of Cabrillo’s flagship — after four years of construction — sails in our local waters. This weekend the Maritime Museum of San Diego is offering a Valentine’s sweetheart cruise from noon until 3:00 p.m. where couples can spend an afternoon on the water and practice their loving teamwork by helping the crew sail the ship, haul halyards, and tend the sheets.