Lots of activity on San Diego’s waterfront!

Right now there is a whole lot of construction activity along downtown San Diego’s waterfront.

Today, during a walk along the Embarcadero, anyone could observe new buildings rising, an aircraft carrier’s hull being inspected, a cruise ship pier being reinforced, and an iconic San Diego landmark being painted!

First up, check out how quickly the buildings of the Research and Development District (RaDD) are rising!

The five new bayfront buildings will be grouped around the U.S. Navy Region Southwest Headquarters building, which itself was completed two years ago.

I learned from a USS Midway Museum volunteer that the Midway’s hull is inspected and cleaned every year.

The extensive operation consumes a substantial part of the aircraft carrier museum’s budget.

There are numerous sealed inlets in the enormous ship’s hull where saltwater from San Diego Bay might invade. There is also algae and other marine growth to be removed below the waterline. It’s part of a vital hull preservation program.

As I approached the B Street Pier today, home of the Cruise Ship Terminal, I observed a huge drill and other ponderous machinery.

I’ve learned the structural stability of the pier is being improved.

The Port of San Diego project is technically described as curtain wall repairs and backfilling. Don’t ask me exactly what that means!

Lastly, the landmark 1938 County Administration Building’s new paint job continues.

The sections that have been finished look great!

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Top Gun fans vs. reality on USS Midway!

Yesterday a large group of dedicated Top Gun movie fans from a Facebook group visited the USS Midway Museum.

They all were having a blast, some wearing movie-inspired flight suits, checking out exhibits at San Diego’s popular aircraft carrier museum, taking photos near an F-14 Tomcat fighter jet, before heading off to dine at Kansas City Barbeque, where the bar scenes in Top Gun were filmed.

It was interesting to watch their enthusiasm for the classic movie, whose sequel Top Gun: Maverick will be debuting in one week on May 24. I loved the original Top Gun when it came out in 1986, myself!

As I toured the USS Midway yesterday, I noticed a variety of connections the historic aircraft carrier and its present-day museum have to the actual TOPGUN aviator school and its pilots depicted in both the original and upcoming movie.

An F-14 Tomcat on the flight deck of USS Midway. These fighter jets co-starred in the original Top Gun movie, providing exciting, incredible visuals.
A fan group is photographed during their Top Gun Days event aboard USS Midway in San Diego. Three actual Navy pilots pose in front.
Nearby on the flight deck is an F/A-18 Hornet. This fighter jet was used as an adversary during the original Top Gun. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be flown by the characters of Top Gun: Maverick.
One of the pilot ready rooms inside the USS Midway aircraft carrier. VFA-151 Ready Room One is where F-18 pilots gathered for briefing before and after flights.
A look inside USS Midway’s F-18 ready room. During Operation Desert Storm, F-18 Hornets were launched from this long-lived aircraft carrier, which was built at the end of World War II.
What it would have been like sitting in the F-18 ready room. The characters in Top Gun: Maverick are F/A-18E/F Super Hornet pilots, part of a special detachment aboard an aircraft carrier.
White board at front of the ready room, with mission and aircraft details.
An exhibit aboard the USS Midway Museum details the history of TOPGUN, originally the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School located at NAS Miramar, aka Fightertown USA.
Exhibit concerns TOPGUN – The Early Years.
The Navy Fighter Weapons School was established on March 3, 1969 at NAS Miramar in San Diego, California. TOPGUN’s objective was to develop, refine and teach air combat maneuvering tactics and techniques to selected fleet air crews…
Museum exhibit video shows the Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System TACTS in operation.
Visitors to the USS Midway Museum can climb into an F-14 Tomcat cockpit, located on the Hangar Deck.
Maverick call sign painted by the cockpit of the F-14 Tomcat.
The two-seated cockpit’s front seat, where an F-14 pilot sits facing his flight controls. The bubble canopy gives the pilot all-round visibility.
The rear seat of the F-14 cockpit, where Goose in the original Top Gun movie flew. This is where the fighter jet’s Radar Intercept Officer sat.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Uncle Sam wants your Grandpa!

I spotted these attention-grabbing recruitment ads pasted to a wall while walking in downtown San Diego. It appears that Uncle Sam Wants Your Grandpa!

I then read the fine print. Actually, the USS Midway Museum is looking for volunteers. And I don’t think you even need to be a grandpa, or a veteran!

Want to make the past come alive on a historic aircraft carrier? Want to be part of a team that includes tutors, docents, storytellers and ambassadors?

Funny that I spotted these during San Diego Fleet Week.

Check out the details here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Afternoon light and life at Tuna Harbor.

At the Embarcadero’s picturesque Tuna Harbor, photography is easy. Aim your camera in almost any direction and you’ll capture light, life and fascinating complexity.

I walked around Tuna Harbor late this afternoon and pointed my camera at workers loading equipment onto Gutsy Lady 4 (near a cool vintage truck), the usual crowd of commercial fishing boats docked side-by-side, and youth fishing on the pier by Seaport Village.

(In the final photograph you can glimpse three active aircraft carriers in the distance. Docked across San Diego Bay at North Island are the USS Carl Vinson, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt.)

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

October sunset over San Diego Bay.

This beautiful October evening I walked along the Embarcadero as the sun slowly neared the horizon. Golden light was cast over San Diego Bay when the sun slipped behind a few clouds.

Many others were out walking by Seaport Village. Some lingered on the nearby pier. Those aircraft carriers you see across the bay are docked at Naval Air Station North Island, at the north end of Coronado. The rock band I passed while walking along the water at Embarcadero Marina Park North is called Thundermaier. They sounded really good.

It was a nice cool evening. Perfect for an easy stroll.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Sunset above USS Theodore Roosevelt.

This evening after work I walked to the end of Broadway Pier.

As sunset approached, slanting rays of light seemed to crown the USS Theodore Roosevelt, now docked across San Diego Bay at North Island.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Bright sailboats race across San Diego Bay.

This evening, just before sunset, I stood on the Embarcadero and watched more than one hundred sunlit sailboats race across the north part of San Diego Bay.

From May 21 through August 1, the Cortez Racing Association, in partnership with the Silver Gate Yacht Club (which is based on Shelter Island), puts on Wednesday races called the San Diego Bay Beer Can Series.

As the sailboats began across the water, and late sunlight slanted over Point Loma, the colorful sails were so bright they seemed like a dream. The race was too distant for my camera to take sharp photos–so I have increased the contrast to make the images even more dreamy!

In case you’re curious, those two active aircraft carriers you see in my photos are docked at Naval Air Station North Island. They are the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of aircraft restoration aboard USS Midway.

A tour of the USS Midway Museum often includes aircraft that are undergoing maintenance or restoration. Three helicopter rotors are being reconstructed here.
A self-guided tour of the USS Midway Museum often includes aircraft that are undergoing maintenance or restoration. Three helicopter rotors are being reconstructed here.

I love visiting the USS Midway Museum because there’s always something new to see. During my visit today I was intrigued by some of the aircraft restoration work that I observed.

The many different airplane and helicopter exhibits, representing different eras of naval aviation history, are already in pretty good condition when they are lifted aboard the aircraft carrier museum, but there’s always work to do. Time and the elements take their toll.

The USS Midway Museum is fortunate to have a small army (or should I say fleet) of skilled and knowledgeable volunteers. Many are retired Navy, with first-hand experience of the history and technical aspects of these aircraft. All are very friendly and welcome questions from museum visitors!

Sign on hangar deck of USS Midway describes the HO3S-1 Dragonfly's original rotor blade restoration, which is in progress.
Sign on hangar deck of USS Midway describes the HO3S-1 Dragonfly’s original rotor blade restoration, which is in progress.

A closer look at the spruce plywood ribs, which are spaced on the tubular steel spar.
A closer look at the spruce plywood ribs, which are spaced on the tubular steel spar.

This rotor is a bit further along. It appears part of the rotor's new surface is being cemented in place.
This rotor is a bit further along. It appears part of the rotor’s new surface is being cemented in place.

Here's the HO3S-1 Dragonfly helicopter up on the flight deck of USS Midway. Notice three of four rotors are missing.
Here’s the HO3S-1 Dragonfly helicopter up on the flight deck of USS Midway. Notice three of four rotors are missing.

The aptly named Dragonfly began service in 1946. You might recognize the design if you've seen the film The Bridges at Toko-Ri.
The aptly named Dragonfly began service in 1946. You might recognize the design if you’ve seen the film The Bridges at Toko-Ri.

Part of the Dragonfly's engine is exposed beneath the rotors.
Part of the Dragonfly’s engine is exposed beneath the rotors.

This USS Midway volunteer is grinding away rust from the museum's A-6 Intruder bomber. He said it's the type of work that is done between larger projects.
This USS Midway volunteer is grinding away rust from the museum’s A-6 Intruder bomber. He said it’s the type of work that is done between larger projects.

The tail of the A-6 Intruder is being refurbished and repainted, too.
The tail of the A-6 Intruder is being restored to look like new, too.

Many skilled volunteers at the USS Midway Museum work continuously to keep the many aircraft exhibits in great condition!
Many skilled volunteers at the USS Midway Museum work continuously to keep the many aircraft exhibits in great condition!

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A view of the bay from the horns of USS Midway.

A kid visiting the USS Midway Museum with family checks out the view from the end of one of the aircraft carrier's projecting horns.
A kid visiting the USS Midway Museum with family checks out the dizzying view from the end of one of the aircraft carrier’s projecting horns.

This morning I paid a visit to San Diego’s amazing USS Midway Museum.

During my short visit I ascended to the flight deck and walked around a bit. I couldn’t resist walking out to the end of one of the aircraft carrier’s bridle-arrest horns. The two downward sloping projections at the bow of the USS Midway allow visitors to stand high over San Diego Bay, with wide views across the water.

I took some photos!

Sign at bow of USS Midway aircraft carrier explains the function of bridle-arrest horns. They were used until the 1980's. They are a vestige of an earlier era in carrier aviation.
Sign at bow of USS Midway aircraft carrier explains the function of bridle-arrest horns. They were used until the 1980’s. They are a vestige of an earlier era in carrier aviation.

People walk down one horn for an amazing view of San Diego Bay.
People walk down one horn for an amazing view of San Diego Bay.

The Admiral Hornblower, beyond the second bridle-arrest horn, is heading in toward the Embarcadero after completing a harbor tour.
The Admiral Hornblower, beyond the second bridle-arrest horn, is heading in toward the Embarcadero after completing a harbor tour.

And here comes the Spirit of San Diego right behind! Now I'm standing at the end of one horn, which hangs high over the blue water below!
And here comes the Spirit of San Diego right behind! Now I’m standing at the end of one horn, which hangs high over the blue water below!

Five people were jetting around the bay on some fun personal watercraft.
Five people were jetting around the bay on some fun personal watercraft.

Photo aiming south from the end of the horn shows the Fish Market Restaurant, Tuna Harbor, a bit of Seaport Village and the San Diego–Coronado Bridge.
Photo aiming south from the end of the horn shows the Fish Market Restaurant, Tuna Harbor, a bit of Seaport Village and the San Diego–Coronado Bridge.

A helicopter passes overhead. A frequent sight near three large Navy bases on San Diego Bay: Naval Base San Diego, Naval Air Station North Island and Naval Base Point Loma.
A helicopter passes overhead. Active aircraft are a frequent sight near the four large Navy bases on San Diego Bay: Naval Base San Diego, Naval Air Station North Island, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado and Naval Base Point Loma.

Looking back up toward the flight deck of the USS Midway. Some visitors are reading signs which describe the history of naval aviation, which originated at North Island across the bay.
Looking back up toward the flight deck of the USS Midway. Some visitors are reading signs which describe the history of naval aviation–a history that originated at North Island across San Diego Bay.

Looking down through safety nets fringing the carrier at sparkling water below.
Looking down through safety nets fringing the carrier at sparkling water far below.

After drinking in the views, I headed back onto the flight deck.
After drinking in the incredible views, I headed back onto the flight deck.

I noticed some school kids learning about the Midway from a docent.
I noticed some school kids learning about the Midway from a docent.

A look from the bow of the USS Midway back toward the carrier's Island superstructure and downtown San Diego skyscrapers.
A look from the bow of the USS Midway back toward the aircraft carrier’s Island superstructure and downtown San Diego skyscrapers.

Someone else walks out to the end of one horn. At North Island across the water I see the active aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).
Someone else walks out to the end of one horn. Across the water at North Island I see the active aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Beautiful morning photos at Broadway Pier.

Someone gazes from the Broadway Pier across the water toward Coast Guard Air Station San Diego, whose buildings shine, reflecting the early morning sun.
Someone gazes from the Broadway Pier across the water toward Coast Guard Air Station San Diego, whose buildings shine, reflecting early morning sunlight.

I was surprised at the number of beautiful photos I was able to capture this morning during my leisurely walk out on the Broadway Pier. All was quiet. The sun was rising…

The sun is about to rise above a part of the San Diego skyline.
The sun is about to rise above a part of the San Diego skyline.

A gull glides over still water.
A gull glides over still water.

Early morning light turns aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) golden. It is docked at Naval Air Station North Island.
Early morning light turns active aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) golden. It is docked at Naval Air Station North Island.

Colorful reflection on San Diego Bay of the USS Midway Museum, seen from the Broadway Pier.
Colorful reflection on San Diego Bay of the USS Midway Museum, seen from the Broadway Pier.

Bronze plaques create an historical timeline as one walks toward the pier's end. The construction of the Broadway Pier took place in 1913.
Bronze plaques create an historical timeline as one walks toward the pier’s end. The construction of the Broadway Pier took place in 1913.

An exquisitely beautiful seagull feather on the wet concrete at my feet.
An exquisitely beautiful seagull feather on the wet concrete at my feet.

Someone rides out to the end of the Broadway Pier early one Friday morning. Few people are about.
Someone rides out to the end of the Broadway Pier early one Friday morning. Few people are about.

Water droplets cling to the metal seats and tables at the end of the Broadway Pier.
Water droplets cling to the metal seats and tables at the end of the Broadway Pier.

Three large maps on the Broadway Pier show the shape of San Diego Bay in different eras. This outline of the modern bay shows where I now stand on the Embarcadero!
Three large maps on the Broadway Pier show the shape of San Diego Bay in different eras. This outline of the modern bay shows where I now stand on the Embarcadero!

Beautiful clouds and morning light frame a United States Coast Guard Cutter in the middle of San Diego Bay.
Beautiful clouds and morning light on blue water frame a United States Coast Guard Cutter in the middle of San Diego Bay.

A dreamlike vision one morning at San Diego's magical Broadway Pier.
A dreamlike vision one morning at San Diego’s magical Broadway Pier.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!