This morning I paid a visit to San Diego’s amazing USS Midway Museum.
During my short visit I ascended to the flight deck and walked around a bit. I couldn’t resist walking out to the end of one of the aircraft carrier’s bridle-arrest horns. The two downward sloping projections at the bow of the USS Midway allow visitors to stand high over San Diego Bay, with wide views across the water.
I took some photos!
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!
While this blog post contains a whole bunch of photos, they only represent a small fraction of today’s Independence Day parade in Coronado. This Fourth of July parade is one of the biggest and best in the nation. Coronado is about as apple pie as a town can get, as it’s home to two very important military bases: Naval Air Station North Island and the Naval Amphibious Base.
Before the parade began, I walked about checking out the sights, smells and sounds. Hopefully I captured a bit of the experience with these photographs…
In Coronado’s beautiful Centennial Park, just north of the Coronado Ferry Landing, you can find this relatively new bronze plaque. It marks the birthplace of naval aviation, Rockwell Field, which no longer exists.
The historical marker reads:
BIRTHPLACE OF NAVAL AVIATION
In 1910, on the unoccupied brushland of North Coronado Island, inventor and entrepreneur Glenn Hammond Curtiss opened his winter flying school for prospective “aeroplane pilots.” Among his first class of students was Navy Lieutenant Theodore G. “Spuds” Ellyson, who would become the first Naval Aviator. In 1917, the U.S. Congress appropriated the island to support the World War I effort and two airfields occupied its sandy flats–the Navy’s “Camp Trouble” and the Army Signal Corps’ Rockwell Field. The Army vacated Rockwell Field in 1935, at which time the Navy expanded its operations to cover the whole island. Many aviation milestones originated from North Island including the first seaplane flight in the United States in 1911.
San Diego, California was designated the “Birthplace of Naval Aviation” by the Armed Services Committee of the United States House of Representatives on 24 March 1961.
Marker Placed By
California State Society, Daughters of the American Revolution
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The above photo of the Shelter Island pier is interesting to me. I like how the angled concrete pilings, reflected on San Diego Bay, seem to project in three dimensions downward into the rippled water.
The light blue structure that you see is vacant. In the past it has been the home of a small fishing store and cafe. To its left you can see an aircraft hangar at Naval Air Station North Island.
When you stand on Shelter Island and gaze south beyond the pier, you can spy the distant Coronado Islands on a clear day.
The Coronado Islands (not to be confused with nearby Coronado) are four barren islets just west of Tijuana, Mexico. The home of numerous sea birds, sea lions and sea elephants, they are mostly uninhabited. A few Mexican caretakers live on the largest island and maintain a modest lighthouse.
Check out the Lyra Leader, a massive box-like car-carrying ship as it heads down San Diego Bay toward the National City Marine Terminal. These cool, very unusual type of roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships are often seen passing close to downtown. They’re bringing in thousands of new cars from Asia–Japan and South Korea–which are driven off a ramp into a massive parking lot. Many of the vehicles are then loaded into car-carrying freight trains and sent off toward their final destinations.
In this photograph, note the active aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson docked at the North Island naval base on the left.
UPDATE–I finally got a couple more pics of another ship while I was crossing San Diego Bay on the ferry. All the passengers were excited to be so close to the massive thing!
ANOTHER UPDATE–Here are more photos that I took at later times…
Venture anywhere along San Diego Bay and you’re in for a show!
Look at these pics of huge blue fishing boats, colorful sailboats, and the big gray Navy ships glimpsed in the distance!
Of course, sailboats are easily recognized, and everyone loves watching them dance on the big bay. On any given day you’ll see many white sails. Often you’ll see a group of sailboats racing together, tacking, tilting, running on the sea breeze.
The big blue fishing boats with the square wells that we seem to be standing beside are commercial live bait boats docked at Tuna Harbor’s G Street Pier. Seine nets are utilized to gather schools of small fish, which are then dumped into the deep wells. The live bait is then used by fishermen who depart from several sportfishing locations around San Diego. Pelicans, egrets, black-crowned night herons and gulls often perch on the sides of idle live bait boats. Perhaps they think something tasty will magically appear!
The distant Navy ships are an oiler and two active aircraft carriers docked at Naval Air Station North Island, situated on the northern half of Coronado Island. The two homeported carriers that you can glimpse are the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Ronald Reagan.