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!

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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!

Photos of seals, scenery at Children’s Pool.

Harbor seals lie on sunny Children's Pool Beach in La Jolla. The historic Children's Pool is closed to the public during winter and early spring pupping season.
Harbor seals lie in the sun on Children’s Pool Beach. The Children’s Pool is closed to the public during pupping season.

Every so often I have to walk by the water in La Jolla. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Today I headed to The Children’s Pool to enjoy harbor seals, pelicans in flight, the mighty ocean, the rocky shoreline and blue sky. Pupping season has just begun (December 15 through May 15) and so Children’s Pool Beach is closed to the public.

The Children’s Pool was the gift of local philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1931. A concrete seawall was built to make the beach safe for public swimming.

Harbor seals began to use the beach in the 1990’s and over time sand has filled the swimming area. There has been a long running legal battle over the use of the beach.

The Children’s Pool also happens to be a popular destination of scuba divers because of nearby reefs.

Today people flock from far and wide to watch the seals from a safe distance.

Sitting on a bench overlooking The Children's Pool, observing the resident colony of harbor seals.
Sitting on a bench overlooking The Children’s Pool, observing the resident colony of harbor seals.
People look toward Children's Pool from the shady green gazebo.
People look toward Children’s Pool from the shady green gazebo.
People along the wall near the lifeguard station. Many tourists now travel to La Jolla just to see the local colony of harbor seals.
People along the wall near the lifeguard station. Many tourists now travel to La Jolla just to see the local colony of harbor seals.
The Children's Pool breakwater was built in 1931. It was a gift to La Jolla by journalist and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.
The Children’s Pool breakwater was built in 1931. It was a gift to La Jolla by journalist and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.
A colony of harbor seals suns on the sand near the seawall, which is off limits during pupping season.
A colony of harbor seals suns on the sand near the seawall, which like the beach is off limits during pupping season.
The seals move about from time to time. They turn on their sides, raise their heads and hind flippers, and inch forward on their stomachs.
The seals move about from time to time. They turn on their sides, raise their heads and hind flippers, and inch forward on their stomachs.
A lone seal heads to the water's edge by wriggling awkwardly on its belly.
A lone harbor seal heads across the sand to the water’s edge by wriggling awkwardly on its belly.
It swims out to a nearby rock.
It swims out toward a nearby rock.
With difficulty, the harbor seal inches up onto the rock that lies just off the beach. Sea lions are much better climbers.
With difficulty, a harbor seal inches up onto the large rock that lies just off the beach. (Sea lions, which sometimes share the beach, are much better climbers.)
The perfect place for a peaceful nap!
The perfect place for a peaceful nap!
Looking west from the closed Children's Pool toward the broad Pacific Ocean and gently breaking waves.
Looking west from the closed Children’s Pool toward the broad Pacific Ocean and gently breaking waves.
Pelicans fly north. Scripps Pier and the scenic cliffs just south of Torrey Pines lie in the distance.
Pelicans fly north. Scripps Pier and the scenic cliffs just south of Torrey Pines lie in the distance.
The pelicans fly toward Seal Rock and Shell Beach and the rocky shoreline west of La Jolla Cove.
The pelicans fly toward Seal Rock and Shell Beach, and distant jutting rocks west of La Jolla Cove.
Looking west. Perhaps you can see why I love this place.
Looking west. Perhaps you can see why I love this place.
Looking south toward Wipeout Beach.
Looking south toward Wipeout Beach.
Another photo of the colony of harbor seals at The Children's Pool in La Jolla.
Another photo of the colony of harbor seals at The Children’s Pool in La Jolla.
A young harbor seal enjoys a day on the beach.
A young harbor seal enjoys a fine day on the beach.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of fun stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

A visit to the Cabrillo National Monument tidepools.

Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument investigate the tidepools.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument investigate the tidepools.

Cabrillo National Monument at the end of San Diego’s Point Loma peninsula is a place of many wonders.

Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of San Diego, its big, beautiful bay, Coronado’s North Island and the Pacific Ocean. They can enter the Old Point Loma Lighthouse which was built in 1855 to guide ships into San Diego’s harbor. They can see the iconic statue dedicated to Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the explorer who discovered San Diego Bay in 1542 on behalf of Spain. They can watch the migration of gray whales, move through native flora on the Bayside Trail, and check out bunkers that were erected as a coastal defense during World War II.

And by heading a little off the beaten track, visitors can also explore amazing tidepools!

Where are they?

Shortly after passing the park’s Entrance Station, turn right on Cabrillo Road and drive down the hill to the Point Loma Tide Pools.

Make sure to arrive around the time of low tide. Wear sturdy shoes with good traction. Then carefully walk from the parking lot down a short path to the sandstone cliffs and slippery intertidal zone rocks. That’s where you’ll find abundant sea life.

It’s easy to spot all sorts of diverse marine animals, invertebrates and plants at the ocean’s edge. One can find surf grass, sea lettuce, dead man’s fingers, sea hares, lined shore crabs, bat stars, aggregating anemones, sea urchins, limpets, chitons, periwinkle snails, California mussels, lobsters and even small octopuses!

I took some photographs about two hours before low tide!

As low tide nears, people look about the rocks and shallow water for signs of sea life.
As low tide nears, people look about the rocks and shallow water for signs of sea life.
Amazing beauty awaits curious eyes.
Amazing beauty awaits curious eyes.
Starting down the path from a parking lot to the Point Loma Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument.
Starting down the path from a parking lot to the Point Loma Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument.
A sign by the path. Exploring the rocky intertidal zones is like peering through a window into the ocean's ecosystem. During low tide, marine animals in shallow pools can be closely observed.
A sign by the path. Exploring the rocky intertidal zones is like peering through a window into the ocean’s ecosystem. During low tide, marine animals in shallow pools can be closely observed.
The closer you look, the more you see. Park rangers periodically identify and count the organisms to monitor the health of each species.
The closer you look, the more you see. Park rangers periodically identify and count the organisms to monitor the health of each species.
As we head down the dirt path, the tide pool overlook comes into view.
As we head down the dirt path, the tide pool overlook comes into view.
The tide pool area is active with curious visitors. Only two hours until low tide this afternoon.
The tide pool area is active with curious visitors. Only two hours until low tide this afternoon.
A funny crab asks visitors to please leave all shells in the tidepools.
A funny crab asks visitors to please leave all shells in the tidepools.
Approaching a pair of information signs atop the overlook. The blue Pacific Ocean waves smoothly curl below.
Approaching a pair of information signs atop the overlook. Pacific Ocean waves curl smoothly below.
The old signs are very weathered, but let's take a look anyway.
These old signs are very faded, but let’s take a look anyway.
You are now standing in the upper limits of the splash zone. The waterline does not come this high, but splash and spray sometimes do. Just below is the high-tide zone.
You are now standing in the upper limits of the splash zone. The waterline does not come this high, but splash and spray sometimes do. Just below is the high-tide zone.
Some organisms pictured are limpets, chitons, sand castle worms, goose-necked barnacles and abalone.
Some organisms pictured are limpets, chitons, sand castle worms, goose-necked barnacles and abalone.
Plant life includes giant kelp, surf grass, coraline algae, rock weed, feather boa kelp and dead man's finger.
Plant life includes giant kelp, surf grass, coraline algae, rock weed, feather boa kelp and dead man’s finger.
Families enjoy the warm sunshine and smell of the ocean. This photo looks north along the sandstone cliffs of Point Loma.
Families enjoy the warm sunshine and smell of the ocean. This photo looks north along the sandstone cliffs of Point Loma.
A few rocks stick out of the surf. Fishing boats lie in the water beyond.
A few rocks stick out of the surf. Fishing boats lie in the water beyond.
A gull stands upon one of the larger rocks.
A gull stands upon one of the larger rocks.
A lone surfer has caught a good wave!
A lone surfer has caught a good wave!
As we head down a short dirt path from the overlook to the tidepool area, we take a closer look at the eroded sandstone cliffs and water-smoothed stones on the narrow beach below.
As we head down a short dirt path from the overlook to the tidepool area, we take a closer look at the eroded sandstone cliffs and water-smoothed stones on the narrow beach below.

A wide flat rock dips dips toward the ocean at one end of the tidepools, making a perfect platform for exploration when the tide goes out.
A wide flat rock dips dips toward the ocean at one end of the tidepools, making a perfect platform for exploration when the tide goes out.
In a couple hours even more tidepools will appear. Low tide is the best time to explore the rocky pools of captured water.
In a couple hours even more tidepools will appear. Low tide is the best time to explore the rocky pools of captured water.
Someone peers down into the shallow water, perhaps looking for an octopus or fish.
Someone peers down into the shallow water, perhaps looking for an octopus or fish.
Someone--a young person most likely--searched for heart-shaped stones on the rocky beach and lined them up for all to see.
Someone–a young person most likely–searched for heart-shaped stones on the rocky beach and lined them up for all to see.
People explore a smooth bowl-like pit in the eroded, layered, uptilted sandstone.
People explore a smooth bowl-like pit in the eroded, layered, tilted sandstone.
So much wild natural beauty. So much to contemplate.
So much wild natural beauty. So much to contemplate.
The rock shelf contains parallel fissures and oddly eroded patterns. Over many years the rock is weathered, strangely changes.
The rock shelf contains parallel fissures and oddly eroded patterns. Over many years the rock is weathered, strangely changes.
I see some of those whitish goose-necked barnacles. Many of the tiny pits are home to troglodyte chitons.
I see some of those whitish goose-necked barnacles. Many of the tiny pits are home to troglodyte chitons.
I found some limpets clinging to the wet rock.
I found some limpets clinging to the wet rock.
Bright green algae grows on the exposed rock's surface.
Bright green algae grows on the exposed intertidal rock’s surface.
Beauty that defies description.
Beauty that defies adequate description.
The patient sea washes against these rocks, doing its slow work over the course of countless lifetimes.
The patient sea washes against these rocks, doing its slow work over the course of countless lifetimes.
Looking south at light on the water and dark, broken rocks.
Looking south at light on the water and dark, broken rocks.
The slowly uplifted then eroded sandstone cliffs also tell a story in their book-page-layers about the passage of time.
The uplifted then eroded sandstone cliffs tell a story in their book-page-layers about the passage of time.
Little piles of sand and stone collect where the cliffs crumble.
Little piles of sand and stone collect where the cliffs crumble.
High above, atop Point Loma, I see the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, now a part of human history.
High above, atop Point Loma, I see the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, now a part of human history.
Gazing at the sublime work of nature.
Gazing at the sublime work of nature.

No human artist could possibly paint this.
No human artist could possibly paint this.

I see a small bit of sea lettuce!
I see a small leaf of sea lettuce!
An aggregating anemone has collected fragments of shell and grains of sand.
An aggregating anemone has collected fragments of shell and grains of sand.
A small boy walked up to me as I photographed this small scene and said that it looks like a volcano. On the surface of Mars, I thought to myself.
A young boy walked up to me as I photographed this small scene and said that it looks like a volcano. On the surface of Mars, I thought to myself.
Like a glittering hidden treasure.
Like a glittering hidden treasure.
A chiton between an anemone and a limpet. Another close look at nature's awesome and infinite beauty.
A chiton between an anemone and a limpet. Another close look at nature’s awesome and infinite beauty.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

An amazing Wyland mural cruises into San Diego!

An amazing, gigantic mural by the renowned artist Wyland cruised into San Diego this morning! The mural, titled Cruising with the Whales, is painted on the bow of the positively enormous cruise ship Norwegian Bliss, which was diverted into San Diego due to Hurricane Willa off Mexico.

Robert Wyland, who is based in Laguna Beach and Hawaii, has several works of marine art on display around San Diego. I’ve photographed a few of them, which can be spotted here, here and here.