Imperial Beach water mural depicts sea life.

People driving west down Palm Avenue through Imperial Beach will probably spot several murals depicting local sea life. One fantastic mural painted this year can be found on the side of the California American Water building.

This beautiful public art features a sea turtle, several rays, leopard sharks and a sea lion swimming inside a watery kelp forest. It was painted by San Diego artist Carly Ealey.

Does that leopard shark coming straight toward you seem familiar? It’s on the San Diego Zoo kids website here!

You can enjoy photographs of a similar mural in Imperial Beach by the same artist here.

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Irritable crabs face off at Ocean Beach arena.

Some irritable crabs were facing off all around a watery square arena at the Ocean Beach tide pools yesterday.

Crabs small and smaller, feeling agitated, would lift their claws threateningly, scamper right up to a rival, show ’em who’s boss, then, seeming to forget everything, would bumble off in a different direction.

I can’t say there was too much actual grappling. Just a lot of showboating.

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!

Bottlenose dolphins off San Diego!

Today I headed out into the wide Pacific Ocean aboard the Adventure Hornblower. We were going to look for whales!

Sometimes you can find blue whales–the planet’s largest animal–feeding at the Nine Mile Bank, which is an underwater mountain range deep in the ocean west of San Diego.

You might recall I went summer whale watching last year. I blogged a good description of what the experience is like here.

We didn’t spot any whales on this unusually foggy, hazy summer’s day, but we observed two pods of dolphins.

The first was a small pod of common dolphins not far from the harbor’s entrance.

About four miles out of San Diego Bay we slowed down to enjoy the view of a large pod of very active bottlenose dolphins! The captain said they appeared to be travelling south together, not feeding. There were some baby dolphins, too, but I failed to capture any good photos of them.

It’s hard to photograph suddenly surfacing or leaping dolphins–at least it is for me and my little camera. I’m usually much too late reacting.

But here come several photos you might enjoy!

The cool thing about whale watching in San Diego, you’re almost guaranteed to see lots of dolphins. And if you don’t see any whales, Hornblower Cruises gives you a voucher to enjoy another free trip!

For me, heading out into the wild, beautiful ocean is an amazing experience every single time.

I got my voucher! Maybe I’ll try again this winter, when numerous gray whales are migrating along our coast!

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!

Underwater mural in Silver Strand tunnel!

Three pedestrian tunnels pass underneath California State Route 75, connecting the west and east sides of Silver Strand State Beach. If you choose to use the south tunnel, you might want to put on some scuba gear!

That tunnel is home of a long, very cool mural that depicts life above the water and beneath it.

Silver Strand State Beach occupies a section of the peninsula between Coronado and Imperial Beach. Much of the life painted in the mural can be observed from the park’s two shores.

Walking along coastal habitat by either the Pacific Ocean or San Diego Bay, you will observe many birds, including snowy plovers, great blue herons, least sandpipers, black skimmers, marbled godwits, long-billed curlews, snowy egrets, endangered California least terns, brown pelicans, seagulls and a variety of ducks.

Out in the water you might also spot surfacing seals and dolphins! But if you want to see a whale up close, you’ll need to dive into the tunnel!

This very cool environmental mural was painted in 2009 by Imperial Beach artist Jaime Rayon, with some help from young members of The Art Kids, in partnership with the nearby Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

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!

The miracle of the Surfing Madonna.

The Surfing Madonna in Encinitas, California. A mosaic by artist Mark Patterson.
The Surfing Madonna in Encinitas, California. A mosaic by artist Mark Patterson.

Have you heard of the miracle of the Surfing Madonna? Many in San Diego have witnessed the miracle. Indeed, the miracle is known around the world.

Next to the Encinitas Boulevard sidewalk, just east of Coast Highway 101, there’s a tiny open courtyard with a beautiful ocean mural and a shrine-like mosaic titled Surfing Madonna. The 10 by 10 feet mosaic depicts the Virgin of Guadalupe on a white surfboard, praying.

When it was first installed anonymously in a public place the artwork was considered illegal. Permission had not been granted by the city of Encinitas. The artist, Mark Patterson, was discovered and fined and the mosaic removed.

But a miracle happened.

After much controversy and legal uncertainty, and after having been moved from place to place, the unusual but beautiful mosaic, beloved by many in the beach community, finally found a home in Surfing Madonna Park, which you can see in my photographs.

To learn more about the miracle of the Surfing Madonna, read the words on the plaque beneath it.

The small Surfing Madonna Park, in a nook beside busy Encinitas Boulevard.
The small Surfing Madonna Park in a nook beside busy Encinitas Boulevard. The park is just a short walk east of Moonlight State Beach.

A plaque details the history of the Surfing Madonna.
A plaque details the history of the Surfing Madonna.

The plaque reads:

On Good Friday, April 22nd, 2011, the community of Encinitas was gifted with the Surfing Madonna mosaic, Our Lady, Star of the Sea.

Local artist, Mark Patterson and his good friend Bob Nichols, dressed up as constructions workers and hung the beautiful Surfing Madonna mosaic with its “Save the Ocean” theme. The mosaic was originally mounted underneath the train bridge, across the street from its current home.

The mosaic received international attention while the artist remained anonymous for months until discovered.

Although beloved by the community, she could not stay there and eventually found her way here, to her permanent home.

Mark Patterson sought to raise awareness of the value of the world’s Oceans. Through his vision he created the Surfing Madonna mosaic to spread a message of environmental awareness of Mother Ocean.

The mosaic gave birth to the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project which has continued to serve the Ocean and community through funding of local arts, environmental awareness, and by introducing special needs youth and their families to the joy of surfing and living with the Ocean.

Join us in celebrating the beauty of our world’s Oceans.

A beautiful environmental mural shows fish and other sea life, by Encinitas artist Kevin Anderson.
A beautiful environmental mural shows Garibaldi fish and other local sea life, by Encinitas artist Kevin Anderson.

Brick pavers in the small courtyard raised money for programs that help the Earth's oceans.
Brick pavers, some with religious themes, in the small courtyard. The pavers have raised money for programs that help the Earth’s oceans.

The Surfing Madonna and a prayerful message. Save the Ocean.
The unique Surfing Madonna and a prayerful message: Save the Ocean.

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The fun, very fishy Positivitree!

Look what I spotted this evening as I walked through Seaport Village!

A cool sculpture titled Positivitree!

The tree-like thing appeared very peculiar from the distance–almost like fish bones–but as I got nearer I saw all sorts of objects including trashy plastic items had been recycled by the artist to create happy, colorful fish and other marine life! This super creative art features a positive environmental message!

According to a nearby sign, Positivitree was created by Rodney McCoubrey with the Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter.

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!

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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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 Sea Walls mural in Encinitas.

During my visit to Encinitas on Sunday I took photos of a very cool mural that was painted in 2016 by Amanda Lynn and Carly Ealey. You can find it on Coast Highway 101 just south of E Street, on the north wall of 1st Street Bar.

Like other Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans murals around San Diego, this eye-catching work of ARTivism is the result of the PangeaSeed Foundation’s public art program. The underlying environmental message is the importance of Earth’s oceans, and how it’s our responsibility to keep them healthy.

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!

I AM EELCO’s colorful Sea Walls mural!

I AM EELCO's colorful mural painted in San Diego for PangeaSeed 2016 Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project.
A mural painted in San Diego by I AM EELCO for the 2016 PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project.

In 2016 a variety of murals were painted around San Diego for the PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project. They all concern protecting marine wildlife and caring for the ocean environment. I’ve photographed quite a few of these impressive murals during my walks about town.

Check out this very cool one that was painted by Netherlands artist Eelco van den Berg, who signs his work I AM EELCO. His playful, abstract mural, which depicts people interacting with colorful sea life, can be found on a parking lot wall directly west of Wal-Mart, near 21st and Commercial Street.

It’s on the opposite side of the same building that is painted with another large Sea Walls mural. You can see that one by clicking 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!

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!

Giant seashell sculpture is a Growing Home!

A child of San Diego sits in an enormous sculpture of a living seashell, a Growing Home.
A child of San Diego sits in an enormous sculpture of a living seashell, a Growing Home.

Some amazing public art was installed in East Village about a week ago!

Growing Home is an enormous stainless steel sculpture of a sea snail’s living shell. Laser-cut into the upward coiling shell are notable events from San Diego’s history. The sculpture can be found on the east side of Park Boulevard near Petco Park and the downtown Central Library. It stands at the new Park 12 – The Collection luxury apartments.

Growing Home was created by Joe O’Connell and Creative Machines and is made of stainless steel with LED lighting. Creative Machines produces interactive and monumental art for clients around the world. They are based in Tucson, Arizona.

The shell represents the ever-growing city in which we live. As history has progressed, the shell has grown and grown.

I took these photos after a rain shower, so the large wet stones arranged next to the seashell seem to lie glistening on a beach!

Growing Home rises as public art at Park 12 - The Collection, new luxury apartments in San Diego's East Village.
Growing Home rises as public art at Park 12 – The Collection, new luxury apartments in San Diego’s East Village.

Growing Home, 2018, Joe O'Connell and Creative Machines, stainless steel and LED lighting. A city's history grows like the shell of a marine mollusk.
Growing Home, 2018, Joe O’Connell and Creative Machines, stainless steel and LED lighting. A city’s history grows like the shell of a marine mollusk.

History becomes an essential part of an ever-growing city--a city that is home to many.
History becomes an essential part of an ever-growing city–a city that is home to many.

Growing Home features headlines of events that have shaped San Diego history.
Growing Home features headlines of events that have shaped San Diego history.

The lattice dome of the San Diego Central Library rises beyond Park Boulevard.
The lattice dome of the San Diego Central Library rises beyond Park Boulevard.

Moments in history are preserved as words written in the growing shell.
Moments in history are preserved as words written in the growing shell.

Moments in San Diego history become part of our lives. The city is our home.
San Diego history become part of our lives. The city is our home.

The coiled, elongated shell of a sea snail is a Growing Home. Sit inside on a small bench for a fun photo!
The coiled, elongated shell of a sea snail. Sit inside on a small bench for a fun photo!

Growing Home rises at Park 12 - The Collection, in San Diego's East Village near Petco Park.
Growing Home rises at Park 12 – The Collection, in San Diego’s East Village.

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!