Morning at the International Dragon Boat Race!

Today is the second and final day of the 11th Annual San Diego International Dragon Boat Race. Lots of action can be seen out on Mission Bay!

Enthusiastic teams from across the nation (including Southern and Northern California, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota and New York) plus international teams (I noted Vancouver, Canada) have come together on this sunny San Diego weekend to race in traditional dragon boats.

I arrived at the event in the early morning just as things were getting started. Team members were stretching and warming up, the boat captains were having their meeting, and then the action began!

As the first boats paddled out to the starting line, just beyond the dock of the San Diego Mission Bay Resort, a group of Scouts presented the colors for the National Anthem.

Then here came the dragon boats, each team furiously paddling to the beat of a big drum!

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World’s largest single-masted yacht returns!

The world’s largest single-masted yacht has returned to San Diego!

The M5, originally called the Mirabella V, is now docked on the Embarcadero near the Maritime Museum of San Diego. You can find it directly across from the County Administration Building.

I spotted the towering mast while walking nearby, so I had to go take a look. That mind-blowing mast, over 290 feet high, is visible from many streets downtown!

I first saw the M5 in San Diego eight years ago behind the convention center and blogged about it here. Read that old blog post (including its comments) to learn more about this incredible sailboat.

It took these photographs this morning. It’s hard to depict the staggering size of this sloop-rigged super yacht. Suffice it to say, the mast rises higher than many downtown San Diego buildings!

You can see the mast from the other side of the County Administration Building in the next photo. (The exterior of the historic building is being painted.)

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Oldest locally built yacht in San Diego is restored.

The old 1902 yacht Butcher Boy has returned to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. And the historically important boat is in perfectly restored condition!

Butcher Boy is our city’s oldest locally built yacht and workboat.

For many years, as it was being restored, Butcher Boy was located at Spanish Landing under the North Harbor Drive Bridge. I posted a blog with some early stage photographs of it being worked on almost four years ago here.

Now that Butcher Boy is back in perfect sailing condition, the handsome sloop has been visiting local yacht clubs and participating in races.

Butcher Boy was built to be very fast on the water. A hundred years ago it would fly across San Diego Bay to meet incoming ships and offer them fresh provisions. Speed gave the boat a winning advantage over all would-be competitors!

I took a few photographs of the restored yacht this weekend as I walked along the Embarcadero.

You can find detailed descriptions and many photographs concerning Butcher Boy’s restoration on the Maritime Museum website here. Then read about its return to life here!

I took the following photo of a stripped down Butcher Boy at Spanish Landing back in 2018…

Here is Butcher Boy now docked at the Maritime Museum of San Diego…

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!

Fourth of July afternoon on the Embarcadero.

Today is the Fourth of July. Our nation’s Independence Day.

This afternoon I walked along San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Families from neighborhoods throughout the city were streaming into downtown’s waterfront, setting up tents and canopies and lawn chairs, preparing barbeque, throwing footballs, getting ready to view the Big Bay Boom fireworks show this evening.

Flags were everywhere: flying from shops, restaurants, pedicabs, boats on the water…

As I walked along, I tried to capture a little bit of the color.

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!

Endless bright sailboats on San Diego Bay!

This beautiful Sunday afternoon, there seemed to be an endless procession of bright, colorful sailboats down San Diego Bay!

I took photographs from the Embarcadero as a crowd of small dreamlike sails approached from distant Shelter Island. The billowing, many-colored sails grew larger and larger as the boats filed past North Island.

I believe most of these sailboats were participating in the San Diego Yacht Club’s CR914 WINTER SERIES II. Correct me if I’m mistaken!

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!

Sparks, scrapes and chisels at the Maritime Museum!

Lots of fascinating activity today at the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

As I walked about, I noticed volunteers and sail crew members were working on several very different vessels in the museum’s world-famous collection.

Sparks were flying from the black sail of the B-39 Soviet-era Russian submarine. Its life, sadly, has come to an end. Preparations are underway to tow the badly rusted Foxtrot-class diesel electric submarine to Mexico where it will be scrapped.

After watching guys using a torch on the sub’s outer hull, I walked to the far end of the Maritime Museum’s barge where the Robert Sharp’s stern was being restored. A friendly worker with a heat gun was crackling old varnish, which was then scraped off.

When I stepped onto the deck of the historic steam yacht Medea, I noticed a woodworker carefully repairing the boat’s wooden rail where it had split.

The elegant Medea has a fascinating history.

Did you know that, in addition to Medea being a pleasure yacht that cruised the isles and lochs of Scotland, it was used by France during World War I, and by the British Royal Navy and Norwegian Navy during World War II?

Learn much more 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!

Bayfair racing action viewed from a bridge!

One of the best places to watch super high speed boats racing in Mission Bay during San Diego Bayfair is from a bridge!

The Ingraham Street bridge on the south side of Vacation Isle provides a view of the race “docks” located south of Ski Beach, the tower near the Bill Muncey Memorial, and the entire oval race course. The farthest end of the course is in the distance, but the height provides a great panorama of all the action! And it’s free!

Today during a walk around Mission Bay I paused for a good hour on the Ingraham Street bridge to watch several classes of boats compete, including the H1 Unlimited hydroplanes, which are the fastest racing boats in the world. Mission Bay, which was originally designed for thunderboat racing, is said to be the fastest such course in the world.

As the super fast boats turned corners, huge plumes of white spray would rise up behind them!

I and a small crowd of pedestrians and bicyclists who were watching from on high gave a conciliatory shout out to one racer below who had to be towed in to the docks when his engine conked out. He must’ve heard us, because with good humor he threw up an arm in acknowledgement.

It was fascinating to see how boats would be placed into the docks with three large cranes, then removed from the water and hosed off at the end of each race. During the racing, other boats would be prepared, testing their engines. Everywhere I looked there was interesting activity.

I guess next year I’ll have to get a ticket and check out the action up close!

Here are my photos from various spots on the bridge…

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!

Mural of diverse women in a canoe.

A beautiful, thought-provoking mural was painted earlier this year on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. I saw it last weekend on the parking lot wall of Little Lion Cafe. The mural, I learned, was painted by Aaron Glasson, an artist who lives in Ocean Beach just a few blocks away.

Next to the mural I found an article printed in the Point Loma-OB Monthly concerning the artwork and its creation. You can read the article online here. The four women in the canoe form a racially diverse group. If there’s a basic message in the mural it’s that Ocean Beach is a diverse and welcoming community.

The mural is located just north of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Should you visit this scenic coastal stretch of Point Loma, keep your eyes peeled for the Little Lion Cafe!

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!

Mystery art at the County Administration Building!

I’m sure somebody out there knows the story behind the above art. Even after extensive searches on the internet, it’s a mystery to me!

Two identical artworks are mounted on the north and south side of San Diego’s 1938 County Administration Building. Whenever I walk near the building, I look up at these medallion-like discs and try to figure out what is depicted.

This morning I finally took zoom photos. Now that I can scrutinize the design up close, I’m still baffled. The anchor suggests the design has a maritime theme.

If I had to guess, the art combines a 1930’s era flying boat splashing down on nearby San Diego Bay with the sail of a Chinese junk. The latter type of fishing boat was commonly seen on the bay in the early days of San Diego.

Or I might be completely wrong!

The best source I can find that describes the County Administration Building’s external ornamentation is a San Diego County government publication titled Bridging the Centuries: The Jewel on the Bay. Read it here. Check out page 20. Everything on the building’s exterior is described . . . all except this mystery artwork!

It appears to me this colorful disc might have some sort of mechanical action. Why is there a lever of some type projecting from the sun? Does the plane tilt upward as if taking off?

Please leave a comment if you are knowledgeable. I’m sure many are curious!

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!