A summer whale watching trip in San Diego!

Wow! Talk about a fun summer adventure! Today, thanks to Hornblower Cruises and Events, I enjoyed a summer whale watching trip out in the beautiful Pacific Ocean off San Diego!

I and other passengers aboard the Adventure Hornblower cruised out of San Diego Bay and continued many miles west of Point Loma in search of blue whales, the largest animal on planet Earth.

Spotting these enormous mammals, which move through the oceans in a constant pursuit of food, can be a hit or miss proposition, but it was such a sunny, perfect day and the wide ocean was so calm and blue, I didn’t really care what we might happen to discover!

We did see numerous pods of dolphins almost everywhere we turned. They fed and played in the gentle swells nearby, and didn’t seem to mind the big ship full of pointing humans passing overhead.

I took lots of photos, but dolphins break the surface unexpectedly then quickly melt back into the water, so my small camera just managed to get a few decent pics. You have to be there to feel the excitement, not to mention the fresh wind and bright sunshine. It’s an incredible, magical experience!

Had this been a winter whale watching trip, we would likely have seen gray whales as they migrate along the California coast to and from Mexico. During the summer it’s possible to spot a variety of other whales, including blue whales and humpback whales, but these species don’t follow a predictable route of migration.

Our captain took us a good distance out into the open ocean. All hands searched the horizon when we reached the Nine Mile Bank–an underwater mountain range teeming with sea life where blue whales often feed. On our way out we spotted the distant spout of a Fin Whale–the second-largest species on Earth–but were unable to successfully see it up close.

On our way back to San Diego we approached another boat that might have sighted a whale. We turned off our motor and silently drifted in, watching carefully, but we saw only dolphins and a group of feeding gulls and pelicans. The other boat had a drone hovering over the water, but it didn’t seem to find what it was looking for.

As we neared the channel into San Diego Bay, friendly people from the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park gave a short educational presentation, complete with close up photos of blue whales, an example of the filter-like baleen that these huge whales use to collect four tons of tiny krill per day, and a toothy dolphin skull. Kids enjoyed learning about all the cool marine life and had many questions!

I should mention, the summer whale watching trip included a narrated tour of the north part of San Diego Bay, where you always see something new. Including sea lions! It’s just as fun and interesting as a regular harbor cruise.

Because we didn’t spot a whale today, every passenger got a voucher for another free whale watching trip, or a harbor cruise on San Diego Bay. You can bet I’ll use mine!

Find out more about this awesome four hour summer whale watching adventure by visiting Hornblower’s San Diego website here!

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Art by Canyon Crest Academy seniors in Balboa Park!

Today I enjoyed looking at lots of art created by students who attend Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley. The “Red” EVA (Envision Visual Arts) Conservatory Senior Show was held this afternoon on the patio of the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park!

I was stunned by the high artistic talent on display. It’s clear these young people will enjoy great success as they move forward into the future!

Please enjoy some photos!

(You might recall I blogged about how students at Canyon Crest Academy also created a graphic novel called Spirit Skies as part of their Hummingbird Project. That was four years ago. Check that out 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!

Turning Wheel Project brings culture, history to life.

During my walk around the Chula Vista Library early this afternoon I stumbled upon The Turning Wheel Project. A very colorful bus was parked behind the library, and a group of youth was learning about the culture and history of Chicano Park, Logan Heights and other nearby communities!

The Turning Wheel Project, I learned, is a partnership between the Chicano Park Steering Committee, the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, and the University of San Diego. The bus serves as a mobile classroom where students can learn about the unique culture and history of their own community. Curious minds learn about the power of art, science and engineering, and contemplate the past, present and future.

I stepped into the bus and saw many interesting photographs depicting activism and the historic struggle to create Chicano Park. Representations of Chicano Park’s world-famous murals were also on display. As I poked my nose about, professors from USD were speaking to some students.

If you’d like to learn more about The Turning Wheel Project: El Pueblo En Movimiento – A Community In Movement, check out their website 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!

Student Art Gallery comes to Seaport Village!

Jeryn Young, Pop Art Portraits, 2019. Tempera paint on paper. Grade 11, Mission Bay High School.
Jeryn Young, Pop Art Portraits, 2019. Tempera paint on paper. Grade 11, Mission Bay High School.

Something new and very cool has recently opened in Seaport Village.

In partnership with the San Diego Unified School District, Seaport Village is now home to the Student Art Gallery!

I visited the gallery today and was blown away by some truly amazing student artwork. The pieces are selected by classroom teachers all around San Diego. Artists attend grades from Kindergarten through High School.

I learned the exhibition will rotate every few weeks, continuously introducing new artwork produced by San Diego’s talented youth. I also learned the gallery will move to a different, larger location inside Seaport Village in a couple of weeks.

If you want to check it out for yourself, visit the Seaport Village website here.

Please enjoy photos representing some of the art currently on display…

The Student Art Gallery at Seaport Village, in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District's Visual and Performing Arts Department.
The Student Art Gallery at Seaport Village was created in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District’s Visual and Performing Arts Department.
Trinity Covarrubias-Burns, Bees and Bloom, 2019. Construction paper, marker and tempera on paper. Kindergarten, Vista Grande Elementary School.
Trinity Covarrubias-Burns, Bees and Bloom, 2019. Construction paper, marker and tempera on paper. Kindergarten, Vista Grande Elementary School.
Valeria Romero Padilla, Mas Que Una Voz, 2019. Graphite pencil on paper. Grade 9, Crawford High School.
Valeria Romero Padilla, Mas Que Una Voz, 2019. Graphite pencil on paper. Grade 9, Crawford High School.
Amalia Martinez-Oviedo, Anime, 2019. Colored crayon and marker on paper. Grade 4, Toler Elementary School.
Amalia Martinez-Oviedo, Anime, 2019. Colored crayon and marker on paper. Grade 4, Toler Elementary School.
Isaac Benitez, Tree Frog, 2019. Tempera on paper. Grade 10, Lincoln High School.
Isaac Benitez, Tree Frog, 2019. Tempera on paper. Grade 10, Lincoln High School.
Jessie Hsu, Abstract Face in Glitter, 2019. Pastel and glitter glue on paper. Grade 2, E. B. Scripps Elementary School.
Jessie Hsu, Abstract Face in Glitter, 2019. Pastel and glitter glue on paper. Grade 2, E. B. Scripps Elementary School.
Jaime Barrozo, The Steeple, 2019. Black ink Pointillism on paper. Grade 8, Correia Middle School.
Jaime Barrozo, The Steeple, 2019. Black ink Pointillism on paper. Grade 8, Correia Middle School.
Leigh Archibald, Orange, 2019. Multiple mediums on paper. Grade 12, La Jolla High School.
Leigh Archibald, Orange, 2019. Multiple mediums on paper. Grade 12, La Jolla High School.
Jade Someda, The Fruits in Four, 2019. Wax crayon and watercolor on paper. Grade 9, Mission Bay High School.
Jade Someda, The Fruits in Four, 2019. Wax crayon and watercolor on paper. Grade 9, Mission Bay High School.
Daniel Perez, Blind Contour Self-Portrait, 2019. Black marker on paper. Grade 5, Edison Elementary School.
Daniel Perez, Blind Contour Self-Portrait, 2019. Black marker on paper. Grade 5, Edison Elementary School.
Lillian Robinson, Silence of the Lilies, 2019. Colored pencil on textured paper. Grade 11, Mission Bay High School.
Lillian Robinson, Silence of the Lilies, 2019. Colored pencil on textured paper. Grade 11, Mission Bay High School.
Tiernan Nauton, Cezanne Apples, 2019. Tempera on paper. Grade 3, Kumeyaay Elementary School.
Tiernan Nauton, Cezanne Apples, 2019. Tempera on paper. Grade 3, Kumeyaay Elementary School.
Kelsey Amann, Censored, 2019. Graphite pencil on paper. Grade 11, Mission Bay High School.
Kelsey Amann, Censored, 2019. Graphite pencil on paper. Grade 11, Mission Bay High School.
Riley Fritzenkotter, Love Thyself, 2019. Oil pastel and black marker on paper. Grade 4, Alcott Elementary School.
Riley Fritzenkotter, Love Thyself, 2019. Oil pastel and black marker on paper. Grade 4, Alcott Elementary School.

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!

Student art recognized by the Congressional Institute.

Lady of the Garden, Veronica McFarland, acrylic. San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.
Lady of the Garden, Veronica McFarland, acrylic. San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.

High school students from the San Diego area have been recognized for outstanding achievement. Their artwork has been displayed inside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC!

Some of that excellent art can now be seen at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

The exhibition is titled An Artistic Discovery. These expressive pieces were created by students who attend schools throughout the 53rd Congressional District, which is represented by Congresswoman Susan Davis.

Check out a few examples that caught my eye during my visit yesterday to the San Diego History Center!

A wall inside the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park features art created by students in local high schools.
A wall inside the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park features art created by students in local high schools.
An Artistic Discovery is an exhibition that showcases the artwork of students in the 53rd Congressional District. Winning works are displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building.
An Artistic Discovery is an exhibition that showcases the artwork of students in the 53rd Congressional District. Winning works are displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building.
Our Future, Chivone Brittney-Dawn Cervantes, oil paint. Diego Hills Central Charter School.
Our Future, Chivone Brittney-Dawn Cervantes, oil paint. Diego Hills Central Charter School.
Deliberate Red, Maryann Lee, watercolor and colored pencils. Bonita Vista High School.
Deliberate Red, Maryann Lee, watercolor and colored pencils. Bonita Vista High School.
Black Woman, Danielle Simone Grimes, acrylic. Morse High School.
Black Woman, Danielle Simone Grimes, acrylic. Morse High School.
Pure Joy, Julianna Pantoja, colored pencil. Otay Ranch High School.
Pure Joy, Julianna Pantoja, colored pencil. Otay Ranch High School.

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!

Students create art for North Park festival!

Fourth and fifth grade students at Jefferson IB STEAM Magnet School created a bunch of cool art for the SDCCU Festival of Arts in North Park!

I spotted their artwork in the windows of the Target store on University Avenue. The theme is love of music…

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!

An amazing cube, like real Space: full of stars!

One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen made its very first appearance this evening in San Diego. Mitchell Walker, who plays didgeridoo in Balboa Park and Seaport Village, has completed an epic project that began as a dream almost 40 years ago. He has officially completed The Great Stellarium Project!

Mitchell’s 30-inch Plexiglas cube which contains a three-dimensional star map–his amazing Stellarium–made its debut in Balboa Park near the Fleet Science Center. The Stellarium was admired by curious passersby, and by astronomy lovers who’d gathered for the monthly stargazing “Stars In The Park” event of the San Diego Astronomy Association.

Mitchell has an irrepressible smile and a great sense of humor. One of his biggest passions is science fiction–Star Trek in particular. For much of his life he’s had a strong fascination with astronomy.

Years ago, Mitchell’s dream to recreate a part of our galaxy was inspired by the star map that figures in the film The UFO Incident. His idea was to design a transparent cube that holds an accurate portrayal of the stars nearest to our sun. His first attempt to invent such a marvel resulted in a cube that was 15 inches square. He still uses that smaller cube as a night light.

The impressive 30-inch Stellarium that debuted today displays our “stellar neighborhood” within 50 light years of Sol, the sun. Our tiny corner of the galaxy took Mitchell a little over a year to build. The 166 stars are obviously not to scale, but the distances between them and their relative positions around Sol are accurate. Each tiny star, attached to a filament that is almost invisible, shines with fluorescent paint in the color that matches its spectral classification. In darkness, under the cube’s black light, the effect is extraordinary.

After the sun set this evening, I sat on a nearby park bench and watched as people stopped to peer into the dreamlike Stellarium. Some pressed a button at the cube’s base to listen to Mitchell’s recorded audio narration.

Clouds unfortunately concealed the night sky. For a magical moment or two, members of the San Diego Astronomy Association abandoned their nearby telescopes and joined their friend Mitchell Walker, to gaze into a wondrous cube full of stars.

Please visit Mitchell’s web page that describes his Stellarium 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!