Photos of International Drone Day in San Diego.

Someone displays a cool-looking drone for event attendees.
Someone displays a cool-looking drone and describes its operation.

While drones might not be delivering pizzas anytime soon, they do make for an interesting hobby. I could clearly see that when I wandered into a cool event by sheer chance. International Drone Day was celebrated today at the Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego field near Mission Bay.

I was walking along the San Diego River Trail when I glimpsed something strange flying about behind a line of trees. Whatever it was didn’t behave like a bird. I had to go investigate!

What I discovered was a large gathering of electric drone hobbyists. They were flying their unique propeller aircraft, checking out different equipment, and enjoying hot dogs out in the San Diego sunshine!

In the event you pass by one day, the small field is located on the north side of Sea World Drive, just east of SeaWorld. I had visited once before, the day I blogged about birdwatching along the river estuary. On that day RC model aircraft were circling in the sky. I’ve added one pic from that visit, as you’ll see.

International Drone Day in San Diego brought out a bunch of serious hobbyists.
International Drone Day in San Diego brought out a bunch of serious hobbyists.
A quad hovers above the special flying area on a breezy day near Mission Bay.
A quad hovers above the special flying area on a breezy day near Mission Bay.
People checked out drones of every size and description.
People checked out drones of every size and description.
A smaller drone displayed on a table.
A smaller drone displayed on a table.
This larger drone was designed to be aerodynamic.
This larger drone was designed to be aerodynamic.
Drone builders and enthusiasts were in heaven in San Diego today.
Drone builders and enthusiasts were in heaven in San Diego today.
It looks like high-tech drones have replaced humans already!
It looks like high-tech drones have replaced humans already!
This field is used by the Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego, and their radio-controlled aircraft.
This field is used by Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego, and their radio-controlled aircraft.
Guy sets his drone down in preparation for a demonstration.
Guy sets his drone down in preparation for a demonstration.
A crowd was watching the action. My camera barely captures one distant craft in flight.
A crowd watches the action. My camera barely captured one distant craft in flight.
On other days, electric-powered RC model airplanes take off and glide from this field.
Other days, electric-powered RC model airplanes take off and glide from this field.
I took this photo on a prior occasion. That radio-controlled plane is huge!
I took this photo on a prior occasion. That radio-controlled plane is huge!
Drone on the ground makes for a cool pic.
Drone on the ground makes for a cool, futuristic pic.
Club members prepare their drones for the High Noon All Up!
Club members prepare their drones for the High Noon “All Up”!

At noon, all the drones took to the air at once! Unfortunately, my pics of the spectacle came out pretty lousy. So use your mind’s eye! According to the announcer, 32 drones hovered above the field at one time. The San Diego team’s High Noon “All Up” took place simultaneously with 150 other teams celebrating International Drone Day around the world.

What will I discover next?  It seems that anything is possible!

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2014 Over The Line (OTL) World Championship!

Arriving at the long-time OTL venue on Fiesta Island.
Arriving at the long-time OTL venue on Fiesta Island.

Shame on me. I’ve lived in San Diego a good chunk of my life, and I’ve never headed to Fiesta Island to experience the legendary fun of OTL. Well, I finally went early this morning!

Over The Line, commonly called OTL, is a San Diego original, a unique beach game that every year seems to gain in popularity. Played on the sand, it resembles a simple version of softball with no baserunners. You must hit the ball over “the line” and between two foul lines, and not have it be caught, which would result in an out. Three innings, three outs. While the rules are a bit more complicated, that’s the gist of it.

The OTL World Championship has become a local institution.  It’s played on Fiesta Island, which is located near the center of Mission Bay. It’s put on by OMBAC, the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club. The highly anticipated annual summer event is now 61 years old! But you might never guess this spectacle was so venerable, given its outlandish party atmosphere and the sheer raunchiness of the crowd.

Team names are often juvenile and sexually explicit, to the extent you’d probably just roll your eyes. But it’s all very good-natured and amusing. The crowd is composed largely of males in their 20’s and 30’s, and beer is chugged freely everywhere, as it’s BYOB. I suppose as the day progresses, the crowd becomes more randy–I’ll admit that’s one reason I swung by so early in the morning. That and the avoidance of a hot afternoon!

The tournament goes on for two weekends. This first weekend is for the amateurs; on the second weekend the teams and the play become more serious.

I’m glad I checked it out. Now I know what I’ve missed all these years!

Follow me as I arrive from the shuttle bus around seven in the morning. The sun hasn’t broken through the clouds yet…

Old Mission Beach Athletic Club truck and banner.
Walking past an Old Mission Beach Athletic Club truck and banner.
People stand as day begins with the national anthem.
People stand as day begins with the national anthem.
Official OTL programs for sale near the entrance.
Official OTL programs for sale near the entrance.
Miss Emerson Headquarters is on sandy Emerson Street.
Miss Emerson Headquarters is on sandy Emerson Street.

As you might guess, there’s a bikini contest, and every year the winner is titled Miss Emerson.

Scoreboard for 61st World Championship of Over The Line.
Scoreboard for 61st World Championship of Over The Line.
Players and teams check the official schedule board.
Players and teams check the official schedule board.
Early in the morning many people are arriving.
Early in the morning and many people are arriving with chairs and coolers.
The OTL tournament doesn't begin until seven thirty.
The OTL tournament doesn’t begin until seven thirty.
San Diego Parrot Head Club lounge is still empty.
San Diego Parrot Head Club lounge is still empty at this early hour.
Guy checks out some silly, raunchy posters.
Guy checks out some silly, very raunchy posters.
A player practices fielding a batted ball.
A player practices fielding a batted ball.
The huge tournament finally begins in earnest!
The huge OTL tournament finally begins in earnest!
OTL ball is to be struck into a narrow outfield.
Ball is to be struck into a narrow outfield.
Lots more people will arrive throughout the day.
Lots more people will arrive throughout the day.
Some old guys just kicking back on the sand.
Some old guys just kicking back on the sand.
Marines from color guard pass on an OMBAC cart.
Marines from opening ceremony color guard pass on an OMBAC cart.
The t-shirt gardens shack is becoming more active.
The t-shirt gardens shack is becoming more active.
Hundreds of games of OTL will be played here over two weekends.
Hundreds of games of OTL will be played here over two weekends.
San Diego's sunny Fiesta Island is the home to Over The Line.
San Diego’s sunny Fiesta Island is the home to Over The Line.

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