The Way Of The Bay: Cruising On A Triton Catamaran Charter

Locals and tourists can enjoy a day on the water and get a new perspective on the layout of downtown San Diego
Cruising San Diego Bay on a Triton charter.

Waiting to board the Triton, I hear seemingly in-the-know passengers spiritedly discussing the best reason to be first in line. 

The conversation centers on bean bag chairs. 

Consensus: You gotta get to the front of the vessel and claim a bean bag for this two-and-a-half-hour bay cruise. 

Thinking it wise to heed advice from apparent semi-regulars, my party of four boards and heads straight to the bow to stake a claim. It’s a good call.  

We’ve signed on for a public cruise on San Diego Bay aboard the Triton. The 75-foot catamaran yacht is one of the newest and the largest charters in town. It’s got a passenger capacity of 85-100.

Full steam ahead. On a cloudless day, we’ve pushed away from the dock on Shelter Island. The catamaran is equipped with a 13-seat bar. Once the vessel’s sails are launched the lounge area around the bar becomes shaded. For musical ambiance, a guitar player stands astride a middle deck playing Zac Brown Band and Morgan Waller tunes, along with other popular ditties.

I ask the guitarist how difficult it is to play a gig aboard a moving boat.

“You get used to it,” says Timmy Ford, who goes by Timmy Shenanigans and has been performing on the Triton for two years. “I’m a surfer so that helps with balance.”

Ford’s learned to keep his balance even after larger vessels pass by and create a bouncy wake.

“I dropped my guitar once,” he says, showing off the dent in the body of the instrument. “Luckily, it didn’t go overboard.”  

Ford loves performing on the bay and says every crowd is different.

“We have the public cruises as well as private, corporate events,” he says. “Every group has a little different character. Some want to dance. Some want to hear me play the oldies. I can do whatever the crowd wants.”

On this particular cruise, Ford’s best reaction comes when the crowd sings along with his jaunty version of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”

“Good times never seemed so good…”

“So good, so good, so good!”

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Timmy Shenanigans plays aboard the Triton, with the Coronado Bay Bridge in the background. (Photo by Steve Jahn)

The Triton departs from Shelter Island for public cruises Wednesday through Sunday three times a day, at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 6 p.m. 

The catamaran sails/motors down to the Coronado Bay Bridge, turns around and then sweeps into the eastern part of the bay (where the Star of India moors) before returning to its dock on Shelter Island.

It’s pleasantly surprising to see how much traffic usage the bay gets. An endless variety of sailboats glide atop the water. We were passed by a smallish Navy battleship. The Coronado ferry, a cornucopia of small boats and zippy personal water crafts (jet skis) are never out of the field of vision.

“One of my favorite things is getting an inside look into the military action at Naval Air Station North Island,” Triton media director Isaiah Lundell says. “It’s cool to see tugboats at work. Or when battleships come in and all the sailors are standing along the side of the deck.”

There’s interesting action in the skies over the bay corridor, too. We look up at a pair of helicopter flights, as well as a biplane that flies pretty low over the water, and a formation of military jets that soars in sync out past Coronado toward the Pacific Ocean.

As a local, I’m familiar with all the buildings that line the bay–but getting to see them from the water aboard the catamaran lends a new perspective.     

After we turn around under the Coronado Bridge, the Triton navigates a little closer to the San Diego city-side of the bay. You can view Petco Park, the San Diego Convention Center and the world-class outdoor music venue Rady Shell at Jacobs Field.

Banking east in the bay just before Tuna Harbor and the USS Midway Museum, we sail close enough to The Fish Market to see what patio restaurant diners have on their plates. Same for when we come up on the collection of eateries at Portside Pier. (Timmy Shenanigans playfully quips for any diners at the Brigantine to toss him a beer.)

No beers are offered. Just a lot of friendly waves.

The San Diego Sun team poses on the Triton in front of the USS Midway.

To get information on public or corporate charters, go to Triton Catamaran. Tickets are $55/person for public cruises–but check for occasional discounts. The address is 2700 Shelter Island Drive. There’s free parking across the street. You can bring snacks aboard, but no beverages. The onboard bar serves water, non-alcoholic and adult beverages.  SDSUN

This reporting was made possible through the financial support of Triton Charters. The article was produced with full editorial independence; Triton Charters was not involved in the story selection, reporting and editing process.


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