Not sure who all these Santas are, but they were strolling down the Embarcadero and turning heads. Perhaps it’s a new fashion craze.
You can find this colorful artwork on the side of a building on Tenth Avenue as you enter downtown San Diego from Highway 163.
Looks to me like the artist has inserted architectural elements from the California missions into a Mediterranean scene.
I really like the above photo. That’s the rooftop of the relatively new Port Pavilion at San Diego’s Broadway Pier. I got this colorful pic while standing to the south on nearby Navy Pier.
Until recently the Broadway Pier was a bit barren. Years ago I remember a small two-level observation structure in the middle, with some potted trees arranged about it.
The pier itself was built in 1919. It has been used by the Navy, the local fishing fleet, and even the royal yacht Britannia during a visit in 1983 by Queen Elizabeth. Today the pavilion accommodates special events and cruise ships.
This second photo puts that rooftop in context. What a gorgeous December day!
Here comes a third pic taken on a summer day. The silvery stainless steel artwork on the building’s facade was created by internationally renowned artist and lighting designer Leni Schwendinger. It’s called Tidal Radiance.
The shining public art appears like sunlight reflected from rippling water. It also lights up at night.
Here’s another pic taken on a later day just for fun…
And, finally, two more! The last photo, taken in early October 2014, shows colorful umbrellas and tables recently added near the foot of the Broadway Pier.
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Here are some pics I took Sunday during the second day of Cabrillo National Monument’s centennial celebration.
Cabrillo National Monument is located at the tip of the Point Loma peninsula. The hilly peninsula helps to enclose San Diego Bay and is a perfect lookout over both the ocean and harbor. The park includes most notably the historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse and a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo that was commissioned by the Portuguese government in 1939. It also includes military bunkers that were used to protect the bay during World War II, and a very popular whale-watching lookout.
The park this year turned one hundred years old. In 1913 Woodrow Wilson reserved a portion of Fort Rosecrans on the Point Loma peninsula for a statue of Cabrillo. Unfortunately, a statue was not immediately forthcoming, and the park’s development became the work of many decades.
The work in progress continues today. My last visit was a few years ago, and this time I noticed many big changes and improvements!
The first photo shows a bunch of people near the Visitor Center, on the walkway that leads out to the Cabrillo statue.
For the centennial event, many community and government organizations had exhibits near the entrance to the Visitor Center. This pic shows what appeared to be the most popular table. The friendly lady had numerous snakes that fascinated young and old alike.
Everybody enjoyed a small slice of birthday cake!
Here’s the iconic statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the Portuguese explorer who sailed into San Diego Bay on behalf of Spain nearly five hundred years ago. It stands not far from the Visitor Center overlooking both the bay and Pacific Ocean.
As I walked up the hill to observe a reenacted air raid drill from World War II, I looked back at this beautiful view. Great views can be had at Cabrillo National Monument looking in almost any direction!
These tents and some nearby vehicles were on display for the centennial. During World War II, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, many feared an attack on San Diego. So defenses were quickly erected. In addition to a number of observation bunkers, a few gun emplacements were situated along the end of Point Loma to defend the mainland and bay.
A small museum nearby includes many photographs, recordings and artifacts from that period in San Diego’s history.
At eleven o’clock, a mock air raid was staged! An aircraft from nearby Naval Air Station North Island swept over the bluffs as World War II veterans and enthusiasts looked on from the hilltop near some old bunkers.
After the air raid, we all took turns going down into Battery E.
We were surprised at what we found! The flash of my camera illuminated the small semi-dark bunker, capturing this instrument used to scan the horizon for Japanese warships during World War II.
Down a nearby ladder was a second small room containing beds for those who stood watch at all hours.
A short distance from Battery E is the historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse. From 1855 to 1891 it stood as a beacon for those entering San Diego Bay, before being replaced by an automated lighthouse down near the water. This old lighthouse is one of San Diego’s most well-known sights!
A small museum near the lighthouse’s entrance is worth a quick look. It includes an amazing Fresnel lens that magnified light to help sailors out at sea.
A large flat area in front of the lighthouse was used by the keeper and his family to capture rainwater. Back then this lighthouse stood isolated, far from the small town across the water that grew into metropolitan San Diego.
Several furnished rooms in the lighthouse are on display behind glass. Very little space was available to accommodate the keeper and his family. In addition to this main room, there’s a kitchen area, closet, and two bedrooms up the winding stairs.
Speaking of the stairs, I couldn’t resist taking this pic!
Another great look.
Interesting sculptures, artwork and signs can be found at the Pacific Ocean overlook. During the winter months, you can see gray whales spouting as they travel between the Arctic and Baja California.
You can see where the tidepools are below. I didn’t go down to the water on this trip, but it’s a fun place to see all sorts of sea creatures!
At noon there was a guided hike down the Bayside Trail. We walked down a short road to the trailhead, where an old military truck waited with some folks dressed in historic uniforms. They would show us some interesting stuff down the trail.
Here we go down the Bayside Trail. The lady park ranger showed us a large number of native plants, including Coastal Sage, Lemonade Berry, Prickly Pear and more. The flora you see here is what is natural to the area. San Diego is located in a semi-arid zone, with very little precipitation. Most of the trees and other plants you see around town are not native.
We’ve come to a small structure built into the hillside that houses an old electric spotlight. The huge lamp was used to watch the San Diego Bay’s entrance during World War II. It rolled out on a pair of tracks and plugged into an outlet that you can see by the trail.
My camera’s flash brightly illuminated the old spotlight inside.
Now we’ve walked down to the electrical generator building–really just two small empty rooms. Usually these structures are closed to the public.
The group turned back, but I walked on…
And I was rewarded with this view. Having lived in San Diego a good many years, I recognized the large sailboat leaving San Diego Bay. It’s the Abracadabra, a boat used in a past America’s Cup. I also spotted the Stars and Stripes, just out of this picture.
Beyond downtown San Diego I could see numerous mountains, from Cuyamaca on down to Otay. When it snows in the mountains, San Diego has a snow-capped backdrop viewed from here!
One last look!
Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay on behalf of Spain in 1542. His flagship was a galleon named San Salvador. Today, almost 500 years later, a replica of the historic ship is being built on Spanish Landing, across from San Diego’s Lindbergh Field. The ship is coming alive with the help of hard work from San Diego Maritime Museum volunteers, and it’s scheduled to be launched next year! It will soon be another cool sight on the Embarcadero!
As you can see from this first photo, a great deal of progress has been made on the hull. The detailed San Salvador recreation will be seaworthy and will sail out onto the broad ocean! As it passes Point Loma, it will look like the ghost of Cabrillo has returned! I remember seeing the hull about a year ago when there were only four or five “ribs” visible.
The public can visit the San Salvador build site. You’ll see not only the ship, but various items of related interest, including the tools used centuries ago to construct a large galleon.
The walkway you see on the left runs the length of Spanish Landing, behind Harbor Island.
Several volunteers were working on the galleon. Colorful banners were flying in the gentle sea breeze.
Lots of interesting stuff can be found about the build site. Nobody was visiting at the moment, so this pic looks kind of empty. I was told buses full of school kids often come by on educational field trips.
This is the kind of primitive structure native San Diegans lived in at the time of Cabrillo’s “discovery” of the bay.
This friendly lady greeted me as I walked under the Harbor Drive bridge. She smiled for a photo. She told me she was working on the ship’s spars for the sails. I didn’t hear her words precisely, but I believe she’s coating them with linseed oil.
She asked if I wanted to volunteer. A guy I met later asked the same thing! They’d appreciate any help they can get!
All this wood is being used in various ways by the shipbuilders. It looks like a big lumber yard on the other side of Harbor Drive!
Here comes a batch of photos taken Friday afternoon and early evening at 2013 December Nights. If you haven’t been to Balboa Park’s massive holiday festival, you’re really missing out. Hundreds of thousands of people turn out during the two day event, enjoying colorful lights, decorations, music, Christmas carols, food, entertainment, and just a whole bunch of fun. Every corner of the park is crammed with stuff to see and do. And it seems half of San Diego comes out to experience it all!
Some might recall that December Nights was once called Christmas on the Prado. Fortunately, the event is as joyful, bright, inspirational and heart-warming as ever. And the crowds seem bigger than ever!
How did this guided missile frigate end up sitting on the ground? Why does it have a tinsel sign that spells out Seasons Greetings? Did Santa drop it like an oversized toy from the sky?
This unusual sight is often glimpsed by San Diegans motoring along Harbor Drive between downtown and Point Loma. Built right there on the ground in 1949 to train Navy recruits, today this two-thirds model of a real warship is situated at the southwest end of the redeveloped NTC Liberty Station. The landlocked “non-ship” is officially named the USS Recruit and was originally modeled after a destroyer, and commissioned as a regular Navy ship!
Nicknamed by sailors the USS Neversail, she’s become something of a San Diego landmark. And every year around Christmas she wishes passersby a happy holiday!
Here are a few pics taken during a walk in late September of 2014. The USS Recruit appears to be awaiting a new coat of paint!
I walked past the USS Recruit in early March, 2015. The ship has a new paint job! Of course, I had to take more photos…