Dock Lines

Dock Lines: Rain, interrupting: Activities for rainy or sultry days

Whatever the weather, let’s acknowledge life is better aboard a boat … even when rain disrupts boating plans. While it’s no fun getting wet taking the boat out, it’s easy just to linger on board and savor the simple pleasures of a rainy day, listening to the rat-a-tat-tat of raindrops hitting the overhead and the soft splash of water running down the gunwales, while enjoying a book or planning a cruising adventure.

In the midst of a prolonged drought I feel ungrateful begrudging a rainy day. Yet there are so many interesting things to do despite rain, both on board and ashore. With forecasts of continued unpredictable weather patterns thanks to climate change we SoCal weather wimps are likely to need a stockpile of ideas of alternate activities, no matter the unaccustomed precipitation. And remember — last year we experienced improbable July rains and sweltering summer days that begged for indoor relief.

So, what can we do when weather interrupts prior plans, aside from dining out?

The obvious choices for boaters include cleaning out lockers and undertaking delayed repair projects, but these aren’t much fun. Many of those tasks require advance planning, whether reorganizing storage or buying needed parts for repairs.

During recent storms Arv opted to complete a long-delayed rebuild of our master head, while I chose a favorite gloomy day pursuit: making a pot of chili for one day and soup for the next. 

For onshore activities, if you’re carless or want to avoid parking challenges, use a taxi or car-share option. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the port district operates a low-cost shuttle from Sheraton Harbor Island to the convention center.

For an indoor (and mostly dry) adventure for the curious, why not investigate Southern California’s great museums, especially a maritime museum? San Diego’s, located on the embarcadero, is among the nation’s finest with its broad collection of 10 historic vessels, many with indoor exhibits ( for details). Nearby on the waterfront is the complementary USS Midway aircraft carrier museum (

Balboa Park hosts more than 30 arts and cultural organizations, including about 20 museums and San Diego Zoo. The park’s website,, and the Balboa Park app list events, performances, exhibitions, tours, attractions, dining and family activities.

Chula Vista’s Living Coast Discovery Center (, located within the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, houses an interactive nature center complete with San Diego Bay-native animals, perfect for a day’s outing, particularly for kids.

Live theater and concerts are plentiful in San Diego, but usually require more than spur-of-the-moment planning. Yet movies are always a drop-in option.

Few people beyond those who live or keep their boats in Coronado know about a recently restored movie house gem, a delightful 1943 period piece well suited to the island. 

Coronado’s Village Theatre, located at Orange Avenue at Eighth Street and now our favorite theatre, reopened in 2011 after a $3 million renovation. From its debut the theatre operated with a single screen through its gradual deterioration and final closure in 2000, a victim of changing times and multiplex mania. 

Its painstaking restoration proceeded fitfully over 10 years, with its reopening deservedly celebrated. The Art Deco theatre ( retains its original exterior and marquee, while its period interior was split into three auditoria filled with plush seating. The largest seats about 100, while two intimate theatres seat about 35 each. Hand-painted murals representing vintage San Diego landscapes, lit with rotating colored lights, adorn all three. Did I mention the theatre serves some of the best popcorn around San Diego?

May these suggestions help you replace your weather-disrupted plans!

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Capt. Nicole Sours Larson

Capt. Nicole Sours Larson has spent more than 25 years boating in Southern California and Mexican waters as well as throughout the East Coast's Chesapeake Bay. A freelance writer, she holds a USCG captain's license and has been writing about boating since 2009. Previously she lobbied on boating safety and education issues for boating organizations at the federal, state and local levels.


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