National Geographic : 1942 Jan
San Diego Can't Believe It ired ll asters Salt-water Baths Cure Jaded Race Horses of That Tired Feeling At Imperial Beach Farm. near San Diego, a trainer runs his equine sanitarium. He believes soft beach sand rests horses' feet and eases their tendons. Surf splashing gives mild exercise. You think, always, when you sit alone and ponder these historic sites of early California, that this land was Spain's when Virginia and New England were still fighting Indians. Captain George Vancouver, British ex plorer, sailed his Discovery to San Diego in 1793. Though Vancouver came "for scienti fic research and exploration," the Spaniards worried. They wanted California for them selves. Trade with foreign ships was for bidden. Otter Skins for China Yet after 1800 "Boston ships" came to San Diego in increasing numbers. Some loaded otter skins, which they traded to the fur-loving Chinese in Canton for silk and tea. On Point Loma, so well known to Dana of Two Years Before the Mast, Yankee skip pers built crude "hide houses," where cow skins were soaked in salt water, scraped, and then shipped to shoe and leather firms in New England. For hides the Boston ships traded tea, coffee, sugar, cutlery, clothing, boots, and shoes from Lynn, calicoes and cotton from Lowell, jewelry and combs for the ladies .. . everything from Chinese fireworks to English cartwheels . . . "A jack-knife for a cowhide, a string of beads for an otter skin." Long thought almost extinct, a colony of these big sea otters is gathering again now under game warden protection-up the coast north of Santa Barbara. From the new San Simeon coastal highway you can look out and see them through a telescope rented by a thrifty native at ten cents a look. They float dozing, feet up, in the excellent camou flage of the kelp beds. Nantucket and New Bedford whalers anchored off Point Loma. In those days when Lieut. Matthew Fontaine Maury of the U. S. Navy drew his now famous "Whale Chart," these sea monsters moved south past Point Loma kelp beds in December, and back north in the spring.