Photos inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise.

The stern of HMS Surprise, the beautiful ship used in the filming of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe.
The stern of HMS Surprise, the beautiful ship used in the filming of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe.

If you’ve watched the memorable movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, you might recall the fictional British warship HMS Surprise was center stage for most of the film, which was set during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego is now home to the working ship that was used in the filming of Master and Commander. Originally built in 1970 as a replica of the HMS Rose, a British 24-gun frigate from 1757, the ship was purchased by 20th Century Fox in 2001 and modified to appear in scenes in the 2003 film. Because of its starring role in Master and Commander, the ship was subsequently re-registered as HMS Surprise.

The critically acclaimed movie, starring Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin, was based on a series of popular novels written by Patrick O’Brien. Russell Crowe has been lobbying for a sequel for over a decade now. According to what I’ve heard, there’s a possibility the sequel might finally be made.

The museum recently debuted a new exhibit aboard HMS Surprise called Man-of-War, and along with many new signs on the main deck and gun deck, the captain’s great cabin is now open to the public. (You can see other aspects of the new Man-of-War exhibit here. Clicking the link will take you to a past blog post concerning HMS Surprise, where I’ve added updated photographs.)

Several memorable scenes in the movie take place inside the great cabin. Among others, you might recall scenes of officers dining and strategizing as they pursue the French privateer Acheron around Cape Horn to the Galapagos Islands, and of Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin playing the violin and cello.

While I’ve been told much of the filming of Master and Commander was done on movie sets, the great cabin visitors see on the working ship HMS Surprise is much like the one portrayed in the movie.

The great cabin of HMS Surprise is now open to the public. Several displays provide interesting information.
The great cabin of HMS Surprise is now open to the public. Several displays provide interesting information.
Sign reads the Great Cabin in the stern of the Surprise was reserved for the captain's use. Here he slept, held council with his officers, and entertained his invited guests.
Sign reads the Great Cabin in the stern of the Surprise was reserved for the captain’s use. Here he slept, held council with his officers, and entertained his invited guests.
Photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise. In real life the space feels cramped and the table is small. The large stern windows are a familiar sight in the movie.
Photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise. In real life the space feels cramped and the table is small. The large stern windows are a familiar sight in the movie.
Unlike most of the crew, the captain enjoyed wine and ate in style.
Unlike most of the crew, the captain enjoyed wine and ate in style.
Historically, guns were deployed in the great cabin during battles at sea. To make room, furniture was removed and placed in a longboat which was then towed behind the ship!
Historically, guns were deployed in the great cabin during battles at sea. To make room for the gunners, the furniture was removed and placed in a longboat which was then towed behind the ship!
Another photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise.
Another photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise.
Photo on wall recalls a scene in Master and Commander. Captain Jack Aubrey shares a toast with ship's doctor and officers.
Photo on wall recalls a scene in Master and Commander. Captain Jack Aubrey shares a toast with ship’s doctor and officers.
A display in the great cabin concerns prize money and medals. After a victorious battle, captains and crews were rewarded by the British government.
A display in the great cabin concerns prize money and medals. After a victorious battle, captains and crews were rewarded by the British government.
Gun on the starboard side of the great cabin, next to a chest and swords hung at the ready in case the ship was boarded by the enemy, or sailors mutiny.
Gun on the starboard side of the great cabin, next to a chest and swords hung at the ready in case the ship was boarded by the enemy, or sailors mutiny.
A violin on a stand. The favorite musical instrument of the fictional Captain Jack Aubrey.
A violin on a stand. The favorite musical instrument of the fictional Captain Jack Aubrey.

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Faces of civil rights leaders on Imperial Avenue.

A street mural in San Diego that features many famous faces. Martin Luther King, Jr. is joined by others who have worked to advance civil rights.
A street mural in San Diego that features many famous faces. Martin Luther King, Jr. is joined by others who have worked to advance civil rights.

A long mural at the corner of 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue celebrates many of history’s most recognized civil rights leaders. Among them are those who have fought to empower the poor, advocates for democracy, human equality and social justice, and peacemakers.

Originally painted in 1986 to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., the mural was restored and augmented in 2002 by internationally renowned muralist and activist Mario Torero with the help of the local community. The mural now includes faces from around the world, as you can see in these photographs.

The colorful mural spans two walls near the border of two neighborhoods east of downtown San Diego: Logan Heights and Stockton. The images have again faded with time, but the idealism represented remains timeless and powerful.

The face of Cesar Chavez.
The face of Cesar Chavez.
The face of the Dalai Lama.
The face of the Dalai Lama.
The face of Óscar Romero.
The face of Óscar Romero.
The face of Corazon Aquino.
The face of Corazon Aquino.
The face of Desmond Tutu.
The face of Desmond Tutu.
The face of Nelson Mandela.
The face of Nelson Mandela.
The face of Mother Teresa.
The face of Mother Teresa.
The face of Chief Joseph.
The face of Chief Joseph.
The face of Mahatma Gandhi.
The face of Mahatma Gandhi.

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!

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Inspirational photos of Memorial Day.

I had all sorts of plans for this Memorial Day weekend. But I’ve decided to rest and write. Three uninterrupted days of writing. In a quiet place.

I’ve blogged about local Memorial Day events in past years. If you’d like to see many inspirational photographs, click the following links:

Photos of Memorial Day at Mount Hope Cemetery–remembering those who perished in the Civil War.

Memorial Day at The Veterans Museum in Balboa Park–remembering those who died in the Vietnam War.

Photos of Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Rosecrans–sloping fields of flags and roses.

World War II vets honored on USS Midway–remembering the Greatest Generation.

Cool art and history in Solana Beach.

A woodie with surfboard under palm trees and a shining sun. This mosaic greets people walking down the sidewalk in Solana Beach.
A woodie with surfboard under palm trees and a shining sun. This mosaic greets people walking down the sidewalk in Solana Beach.

During my visit to Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach last weekend, I walked around the area of Lomas Santa Fe Drive, South Cedros Avenue and Highway 101 searching for cool sights.

I found some colorful art and images of local history which I’ll now share!

Nearby Fletcher Cove was named after “Colonel” Ed Fletcher, who developed Solana Beach and contributed in the early 20th century to the history of San Diego. As businessman and politician, he was the driving force behind many important accomplishments. He created Lake Hodges and other area reservoirs; he built the plank road through the desert that connected San Diego to Yuma, Arizona; he helped save Balboa Park’s temporary buildings from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition from destruction; he raised money to purchase land for the Naval Training Station on Point Loma; he also acquired a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo that was a gift to California from Portugal–an iconic sculpture that now stands at Cabrillo National Monument overlooking San Diego Bay.

A fascinating electrical box at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Plaza Street contains photos of Solana Beach’s origin and early history.

Grill in sidewalk marks historic U.S. Route 101 (also known as Pacific Coast Highway) where it passes through Solana Beach.
Grill in sidewalk marks historic U.S. Route 101 (also known as Pacific Coast Highway) where it passes through Solana Beach.
An electrical box celebrates the origin and early history of Solana Beach in San Diego's North County.
An electrical box celebrates the origin and early history of Solana Beach in San Diego’s North County. Pictured on the right is Ed Fletcher.
Fletcher Cove opened on July 4, 1925, giving Solana Beach easy access to the shore. A celebration was held that included horse races along the sand.
Fletcher Cove opened on July 4, 1925, giving Solana Beach easy access to the ocean. A celebration was held that included horse races along the sand.
Early photo of Solana Beach, which was developed by Ed Fletcher as a commercial center for nearby Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar.
Early photo of Solana Beach, which was developed by Ed Fletcher as a commercial center for nearby Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar.
Old photos decorating the electrical box were provided by the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society.
Old photos decorating the electrical box were provided by the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society.
Horses race along the beach as the opening of Fletcher Cove is celebrated.
Horses race along the beach as the opening of Fletcher Cove is celebrated.
Cool mosaic artwork on Pacific Coast Highway shows marine life in the nearby ocean.
Cool mosaic artwork on Pacific Coast Highway shows marine life in the nearby ocean.
An octopus.
An octopus.
A graceful fish.
A graceful fish.
Another beautiful fish made of small ceramic tiles.
Another beautiful fish made of small ceramic tiles.
Nostalgic artwork on an electrical transformer on South Cedros Avenue shows people on the deck of a luxurious ship.
Nostalgic artwork on an electrical transformer on South Cedros Avenue shows people lounging on the deck of a luxurious ship.
More cool street art decorates a utility box on Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach.
More cool street art decorates a utility box on Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach.
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.

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!

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Photos of historic centennial U.S. Air Mail flight!

A vintage biplane is almost ready to embark on an historic flight.
A vintage biplane is almost ready to embark on an historic flight.

Today I witnessed a bit of history. I headed to the Allen Airways Flying Museum at Gillespie Field to watch three vintage Stearman Speedmail biplanes take off on the first leg of the old Contract Air Mail 8 (CAM 8) route.

The very special six-day event marks the centennial of United States Air Mail service, which began on May 15,1918 with a flight from Washington D.C. to New York. Today’s flight, endorsed by the U.S. Postal Service, was the beginning of a 1200 mile journey up the West Coast that will include 12 stops, finally ending at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

Many hobbyists, pilots and history enthusiasts were on hand to see the trio of vintage biplanes begin their commemorative flight. I read that only seven Stearman Speedmail airplanes survive today; 41 were originally built to transport the U.S. Mail by air.

As the planes taxied down the runway for takeoff, a friendly gentleman provided me with a little more history. I learned the original CAM 8 route up the West Coast took about two days, depending on the weather and the wind. He explained how the highly dependable Stearman Speedmail planes have a powerful 450-horsepower engine, and we observed how they took to the air very quickly. In the early days of aviation, before modern airports with lengthy runways, this was a requirement.

I also learned that many other owners of vintage aircraft flew in for today’s event, parking their colorful planes outside the Allen Airways Flying Museum. The museum itself is home to a variety of cool, historical aircraft, and welcomes visitors by appointment.

Here come some photos!

One of three Stearman Speedmail biplanes which will fly from San Diego to Seattle to commemorate the centennial of U.S. Air Mail service.
One of three Stearman Speedmail biplanes which will fly from San Diego to Seattle to commemorate the centennial of U.S. Air Mail service.
Mail collected at a USPS table is put into a canvas airmail bag. Each piece will be postmarked at the 12 stops along the 1200 mile flight.
Special mail collected at a USPS table is put into a canvas airmail bag. Each piece will be postmarked at the 12 stops along the 1200 mile flight.
The City of El Cajon issued a proclamation to mark the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail Service.
The City of El Cajon issued a proclamation to mark the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail Service.
A Ford U.S. Air Mail truck was on display during the event, courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
A vintage Ford U.S. Air Mail truck was on display during the event, courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
Loading a sack of official U.S. Mail into a cockpit of one Stearman Speedmail biplane.
Loading a sack of official U.S. Mail into the front of one Stearman Speedmail biplane.
Another plane participating in the event awaits nearby.
Another plane participating in the event waits nearby.
People roll the biplane off the grass so that it can taxi away from the Allen Airways Flying Museum.
People roll the biplane off the grass so that it can taxi away from the Allen Airways Flying Museum.
These two planes are ready to safely head out onto the Gillespie Field runway.
These two planes are ready to safely head out onto the Gillespie Field runway.
It's almost 11:45, the time the three planes will start their U.S. Air Mail centennial celebration flight.
It’s almost 11:45, the time the three planes will start their U.S. Air Mail centennial celebration flight.
The first Stearman Speedmail biplane taxis out onto the runway.
The first Stearman Speedmail biplane taxis out onto the runway.
It slowly heads down the runway to prepare for takeoff.
It slowly heads down the runway to prepare for takeoff.
The second Stearman Speedmail aircraft follows.
The second Stearman Speedmail aircraft follows.
And here comes the third. An historic flight will soon begin!
And here comes the third. An historic flight will soon begin!
The trio of vintage biplanes heads down to the end of the airport's runway.
The trio of vintage biplanes heads down to the end of the airport’s runway.
People watch as the Air Mail centennial celebration flight begins in San Diego!
People watch as the Air Mail centennial celebration flight begins in San Diego!
A vintage biplane plane flies north, beginning a 12-stop 1200-mile flight that retraces the Contract Mail 8 (CAM 8) air mail route.
A vintage biplane flies north, beginning a 12-stop 1200-mile flight that retraces the Contract Mail 8 (CAM 8) air mail route.
A wonderful day in El Cajon, and a bit of history, too!
Today many enjoyed a fun celebration of American history at Gillespie Field in El Cajon!

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!

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Tuna fishermen remembered at Piazza Pescatore.

Piazza Pescatore is a beautiful place to relax and linger at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Fir Street.
Piazza Pescatore is a beautiful place where neighbors can relax and mingle at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Fir Street.

In Little Italy, at the corner of and Kettner Boulevard and Fir Street, you’ll find Piazza Pescatore. The small community gathering place features a bronze sculpture and beautiful fountain, and plaques that remember the history of the many hard-working tuna fishermen that inhabited this San Diego neighborhood decades ago.

The artists who created this cool public artwork are sculptor Gregory Reade and mosaic artist Kim Emerson.

A bronze sculpture of a tuna fishermen holding his catch. Piazza Pescatore was donated by Bumble Bee Seafoods, which is headquartered in San Diego.
A bronze sculpture of a tuna fishermen holding his catch. Piazza Pescatore was donated by Bumble Bee Seafoods, which is headquartered in San Diego.
A plaque honors the men and women of the tuna industry who helped build San Diego's Little Italy.
A plaque honors the men and women of the tuna industry who helped build San Diego’s Little Italy.
More plaques at Piazza Pescatore honor those who helped to make San Diego the tuna capital of the world during much of the 20th century.
More plaques at Piazza Pescatore honor those who made San Diego the tuna capital of the world during much of the 20th century.
A colorful circle of artwork on the nearby sidewalk shows women with baskets and bountiful fresh fish.
A colorful circle of artwork on the nearby sidewalk shows women with baskets and bountiful fresh fish.

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!

Photos of cool aviation event at Gillespie Field!

Someone looks at a restored North American L-17 aircraft on display at Gillespie Field during a special Air Group One event.
Someone looks at a restored North American L-17 airplane on display at Gillespie Field during a special Air Group One event.

Yesterday I enjoyed a very cool event at Gillespie Field in El Cajon. Air Group One, the San Diego wing of the Commemorative Air Force, put on a unique Warbird Expo and Aviation & Military Memorabilia Swap Meet out on the airfield’s tarmac!

All sorts of restored World War II aircraft were on display, as well as jeeps, vintage automobiles and other unique vehicles–even old tractors! I noticed that a few of the historical airplanes belong to Air Group One; others are stationed at Gillespie Field or flew in for the occasion.

The swap meet portion of the event featured all sort of artwork and aviation collectibles. Occasionally a World War II airplane would take off, land or roar by. Visitors could purchase a short ride around Gillespie Field! While Air Group One often participates in airshows, I was told this was their first ever event of this type. Hopefully it becomes an annual tradition!

Read the photo captions to learn more!

Checking out a row of shiny restored aircraft from the World War II era.
Checking out a row of shiny restored aircraft from the World War II era.
People were riding vintage military planes that helped the Allies to win World War II.
People were riding vintage military planes that helped the Allies to win World War II.
A banner explains that Air Group One's restored SNJ-5 is available for warbird rides for those who love the sound and feel of vintage round engines.
A banner explains that Air Group One’s restored SNJ-5 is available for warbird rides for those who love the sound and feel of vintage round engines.
Someone leaves the cockpit of "Sassy" after a ride around "The Patch" of Gillespie Field in El Cajon.
Someone leaves the cockpit of “Sassy” after a ride “around the patch” at Gillespie Field in El Cajon.
This golf cart was modified to look like a tiny jet airplane! It even has a tailhook!
This golf cart was modified to look like a tiny jet airplane! It even has a tailhook!
Guys hang out beside a 1943 Ford GPW that was assigned to Captain Victor Lucky Moen of the 13th AAF on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, during World War II.
Guys hang out beside a 1943 Ford GPW that was assigned to Captain Victor “Lucky” Moen of the 13th AAF on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, during World War II.
I was surprised to see several old farm tractors out on display among the airplanes!
I was surprised to see several old farm tractors out on display among the aircraft!
Several restored Beechcraft T-34 Mentor aircraft were out on the Gillespie Field tarmac. These planes served as versatile military trainers after World War II.
Several restored Beechcraft T-34 Mentor aircraft were out on the Gillespie Field tarmac. These planes served as versatile military trainers after World War II.
This super nice guy was a pilot for the United States Air Force. He now flies T-34 aircraft as a member of the March Field Aero Club in Riverside.
This super nice guy was a pilot for the United States Air Force. He now flies T-34 aircraft as a member of the March Field Aero Club in Riverside.
Visitors to Air Group One's first ever Warbird Expo and Militaria Swap Meet check out more vintage airplanes at Gillespie Field.
Visitors to Air Group One’s first ever Warbird Expo and Militaria Swap Meet check out more vintage airplanes at Gillespie Field.
This Stearman (Boeing) Model 75 biplane from the World War II era was painted to honor victims of 9/11.
This Stearman (Boeing) Model 75 biplane from the World War II era was painted to honor victims of 9/11.
Victims of the September 11 attacks are remembered on either side of the historical airplane.
Victims of the September 11 attacks are remembered on either side of the historical airplane.
American Airlines Flight 11 and Flight 77.
American Airlines Flight 11 and Flight 77.
United Airlines Flight 175 and Flight 93.
United Airlines Flight 175 and Flight 93.
This particular 1945 Stearman PT-17, an Army primary trainer, was the last airplane owned and flown by legendary actor Steve McQueen. The N number N-3188 was McQueen's reform school number!
This particular 1945 Stearman PT-17, an Army primary trainer, was the last airplane owned and flown by legendary actor Steve McQueen. The N number N-3188 was McQueen’s reform school number!
Looking into the rear cockpit of Steve McQueen's old Stearman PT-17.
Looking into the rear cockpit of Steve McQueen’s old Stearman PT-17.
I saw lots of cool artwork at the Expo.
I saw lots of cool artwork at the Expo.
All sorts of miscellaneous aviation antiques, gear and parts were for sale at some swap meet tables.
All sorts of miscellaneous aviation antiques, gear and parts were for sale at some swap meet tables.
Many books could be found, including one about the history of soaring in San Diego.
Many books could be found, including one about the history of soaring in San Diego.
Aviation souvenirs and stuff for sale at the swap meet included pins and patches.
Aviation souvenirs and collectibles for sale at the swap meet included pins and patches.
Lots of vintage cars were also on display. The San Diego Model A Club was well represented.
Lots of vintage cars were also on display. The San Diego Model A Club was well represented.
Other vehicles at the event included an old San Diego Police paddy wagon and a unique patrol car and taxi combo that discourages drinking and driving.
Other vehicles at the event included an old San Diego Police paddy wagon and an eye-catching San Diego Police Museum patrol car/taxi combo that discourages drinking and driving.
Keep 'em Flying.
Keep ’em Flying.
Checking out a Ryan STM-2 manufactured in San Diego in 1940. It now belongs to the Allen Airways Flying Museum at Gillespie Field.
Checking out a Ryan STM-2 manufactured in San Diego in 1940. It now belongs to the Allen Airways Flying Museum at Gillespie Field.

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!