The Golden Circle Doughnut Shop: A Primer and Introduction — Part 1
According to popular history, it was during a violent South Easter in the winter of 1742 that the captain of the Spanish frigate, Aguila, discovered California’s Los Besos Bay. The Aguila had rounded the horn some 4 months previous on its way to Point Loma (present day San Diego–then the northernmost Spanish outpost along the western coast of America). The Captain, Ephrem Manuel Cardoza, had long guessed that they were disastrously north of their destination, but with little cordage, sail, and fresh water, and with a typhus-ravaged, half-starved, half-mutinous crew on his hands, all his efforts were focused on keeping the Aguila afloat. To Cardoza, the sudden, unpredictable storm that brewed up from the west seemed like it would be the final and fatal challenge for him and his ship.
As Cardoza stared into the thickening mist, a string of massive rock formations sprang up along the starboard bow. The crew began wailing; the wind and currents seemed destined to pull the ship right onto the jagged rocks. As Cardoza gauged the situation, a lone pelican took flight from the rocks. Cardoza was a man given to poetics, and something about the creature’s graceful flight in the midst of such a heavy storm caught the Captain’s attention. Despite the urgency of the moment, he took pause and followed the pelican’s trajectory. Suddenly, as the pelican wheeled to the east, a shaft of pure, golden sunlight poured through the storm clouds. The sunlight illuminated both the bird’s sea-grey plumage–and much to the captain’s delight–the narrow, but unmistakable entrance to a bay that had been overlooked in their earlier survey of the coast. Following the shaft of light, Cardoza sailed the Aguila into the bay, and thus saved his crew from the ravages of the storm.
Speaking of the rock formations which had brought the harbor to their attention, Cardoza is quoted as saying, “Those glorious pinnacles, like the kisses of a saint, heralded us to safety.” And so Cardoza called their winter refuge Los Besos del Santa.