Big shark mural in University Heights!

This large shark mural in University Heights was painted many years ago. But every time I’ve walked by it in the past, taking photographs was problematic. (Here’s one instance.)

A couple days ago I finally captured the entire mural! (Well, almost all of it.)

The artist is Cinzah, who hails from New Zealand. He painted this wall for the 2016 Sea Walls Festival organized by PangeaSeed Foundation. He wanted to increase awareness of a severe threat to shark populations: the act of finning. Around 100,000,000 sharks are killed every year for their fins, sharply reducing their numbers. The mural is titled 100 Million.

You can see this cool mural from the Park Boulevard sidewalk, to the east, half a block south of Monroe Avenue.

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Fun art by Carlsbad Poinsettia train station!

If you’ve ever traveled by Amtrak or Coaster train through the Carlsbad Poinsettia station, you might’ve seen this fun artwork on the back of a fence!

I got off at the train station during my last Carlsbad adventure and took photographs!

At the south end of the station’s west platform, a pathway leads a short distance along the tracks before turning past residences toward the beach. From this path there’s a good view of the fence art.

I quickly asked the conductor of the Coaster, who was out on the platform making sure all passengers had boarded, if he knew anything about this folksy art. He told me it had been there for years and years–as long as he could remember.

The fence is painted blue, and it is populated by fish, a shark, birds and other ocean creatures. At the center of it all a small fishing boat, occupied by a mannequin, is suspended as if floating on water. At the left end of the scene, a surfer rides a three-dimensional tubular wave!

Do you know anything about this delightful fence? Leave a comment!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Walking to the end of amazing Scripps Pier!

The long Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, jutting into the Pacific Ocean north of La Jolla Shores, is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The research pier is utilized by scientists and students who strive to learn more about our environment and the diverse life within it.

The public is usually restricted from going onto Scripps Pier, but those who register for a once-a-month tour get the opportunity to walk out to its very end. And that’s what I did today!

The tour–every second Saturday of the month (register here)–begins in front of the historic Scripps Building, then circles around several additional campus buildings until it reaches the foot of the pier. As our group walked along, the knowledgeable tour guide told us about the origin and history of the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and how its environmental and biological research benefits us all.

Then we came to the amazing pier and our sense of wonder grew…

The original wooden pier, built in 1916 with funding from Ellen Browning Scripps, was destroyed in 1983 by an El Niño powered storm. The current modern pier was built in 1988. Today it’s considered one of the world’s largest research piers.

Looking back at the foot of the pier we could see these tank-like water filters.

At the end of Scripps Pier is a pump station. The pier slopes slightly upward as you walk to its end. The reason? So that the freshly pumped seawater, propelled by gravity, will run down a covered trough that stretches along one side of the long pier.

The water, carefully filtered, is then used in the Scripps research labs on shore.

Walking out on the pier high over the beach, looking south toward La Jolla Shores. That’s the Village of La Jolla and La Jolla Cove jutting in the distance.

Now we’re gazing north toward the distant sandstone cliffs of Torrey Pines State Beach.

Many surfers were out today! A sunny San Diego day in December.

Looking back toward a portion of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus. (Scripps is a part of UC San Diego.)

We observed lots of guitarfish in the water below. When you’re swimming or surfing, you don’t necessarily see all that marine life beneath you!

Amazing views can be enjoyed from Scripps Pier. Looking down, we saw numerous surfers waiting for that perfect wave on either side of the pier.

We followed our tour guide to a group of container-like structures that were recently placed on Scripps Pier. Together they constitute a mobile facility that will be used for a one year atmospheric study by the U.S. Department of Energy.

A wide variety of scientific instruments, including radar, lidar, sky imagers and radiometers will measure cloud formation, reflectivity and other atmospheric phenomena.

We are approaching the end of Scripps Pier, where that prominent gray structure houses a seawater pump.

All sorts of small boats are kept near the end of the pier, where they can be lowered into the ocean to carry out research.

Notice something shaped like a Christmas tree atop the pump structure ahead? It lights up during the Holiday Season! (As do swags of lights along the length of the pier.)

Lifting a lid from that long trough that channels the pumped seawater gravitationally down the pier’s length. We saw barnacles, mussels and a live crab skittering around! (You can understand why those filters are necessary at the foot of the pier.)

There’s additional filtration near the pump!

I believe this device filters out the larger objects from the pumped seawater, before the water heads down the long trough. You can see some slimy seaweed stuck in it.

From this crane boats can be lowered to the ocean surface. On the left you can see the cage-like entrance to a descending ladder.

Our tour group came upon several people in wetsuits, just back from a dive!

A super friendly graduate student explained how they had dived at an artificial reef off Black’s Beach, to the north, near the Torrey Pines Gliderport. They photographed abundant sea life.

The wet spot is from their boat that was recently lifted!

That’s one long ladder down to the water!

I noticed many instruments on the roof of the pump structure, including antennas and wind gages.

And to one side is the Scripps Osprey Platform! (You can see it near the center of this photograph.)

A plaque on the pump structure. The Scripps Osprey Platform is dedicated to Art Cooley, a scientist who helped save the Osprey, Bald Eagle and Brown Pelican.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

From the deepest ocean dive . . . to San Diego!

Every so often, a very unusual, one-of-a-kind ship will dock on San Diego’s Embarcadero. Today I saw a unique ship with the peculiar name DSSV Pressure Drop, so I had to check it out!

It turns out DSSV (Deep Submersible Support Vessel) Pressure Drop, a privately owned ex-US Navy ship, is absolutely extraordinary! Last year its submersible, called Limiting Factor, made the deepest manned dive ever in Earth’s oceans–it descended 10,928 meters into the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench!

This historic dive and others have produced important scientific research, such as mapping of the ocean floor and retrieval of deep sea specimens–including completely new species of living organisms!

The numerous exploits of DSSV Pressure Drop and its adventurous owner Victor Vescovo make for great reading. Here’s a recent article that provides a lot of background and detail.

I was told DSSV Pressure Drop will be hanging around San Diego for a couple of months, so if you happen to walk along the Embarcadero just north of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, keep your eyes peeled!

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Sea monsters discovered in hold of historic ship!

A collection of very rare sea monsters has been discovered deep in the hold of a historic ship.

Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, descending into dark spaces inside the world-famous tall ship Star of India, have encountered strange, fearsome creatures usually considered the stuff of myth and folklore.

Sea monsters that have been observed include the Hippokampoi, the multi-headed Hydra, the carnivorous, eel-like Inkanyamba, and the Lusca.

Visitors, after examining specimens of sea creatures and ominous skeletal remains, and after studying reported sighting of other sea monsters around the world, have then relaxed in the luxurious Sea Monster Saloon, where they might read classics of literature such as Wild Sargasso Sea Monster and The Kraken of Monte Cristo.

Huh?

Well, if you don’t believe me, you’d better head over to the Maritime Museum of San Diego and check out their fun exhibit Sea Monsters: Delving Into The Deep Myth.

Kids will love it! Watch out for the waving tentacles!

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What’s inside a high tech ocean buoy?

Perhaps you’ve seen those spherical yellow buoys bobbing on the ocean off San Diego’s coast. Have you ever wondered what’s inside them?

Well, there’s a CDIP (Coastal Data Information Program) buoy on display near the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. And a nearby sign describes the technology that makes a buoy such a valuable resource of information!

Buoys like this one measure wave height, period, direction and sea surface temperature information.

The data is used by coastal engineers, planners, scientists, harbor masters, lifeguards, mariners, boaters, surfers, divers, fishers and beach-goers! That’s a lot of people who benefit from buoys!

Inside a plain-looking buoy there are various high tech instruments, including accelerometers, magnetometers, a thermometer, acoustic pingers, a computer, GPS and antenna to transmit all the collected, archived information!

(Did you know biofoul was a word? I didn’t!)

Next time I see one of these yellow CDIP buoys, I’ll have a much greater appreciation of what they are!

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!

Star III submersible outside Birch Aquarium.

Should you walk from the parking lot by Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to the popular attraction’s entrance, you’ll see what looks like a small submarine. On its side is written Star III.

Star III is actually a submersible that was used for undersea studies back in the mid-20th century.

I looked at the cool little marvel of technology and wondered about its history.

A nearby sign provides interesting information concerning the submersible, which was built by General Dynamics.

When I got home, I found a book published in 1968 by the Naval Oceanographic Office titled Undersea Studies With the Deep Research Vehicle Star III which you can preview here. It concerns a series of 21 dives off Key West Florida in March 1967…to evaluate the Star III system as a platform from which to conduct underwater photogrammetric and various surveying tasks.

I also found the following old public domain photograph of Star III suspended above the water from a seagoing vessel.

Launched in 1966, Star III was capable of carrying a two-person crew and as much as 1,000 pounds of scientific equipment to a depth of 2,000 feet. The sub and its occupants could remain underwater for up to 120 hours…

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!

The stunning Ocean Nomads mural in Barrio Logan!

If you haven’t yet seen the Ocean Nomads mural in Barrio Logan, you’ll be surprised at the stunning beauty of this public artwork!

The three dimensional mosaic was created in 2013 by the Rainforest Art Project, with the help of young students from nearby Perkins Elementary School and Our Lady’s School. Hand-cut stained glass pieces glisten in sunlight, depicting a school of tuna swimming in the blue ocean off our coast.

The Rainforest Art Project, based in San Diego, works with schools in our region to create amazing works of art. Such as this!

Ocean Nomads can be found a few steps south of the outdoor fountain at Mercado del Barrio. Walk around a bit and you’ll find it!

If you want to see more great artwork by the Rainforest Art Project, check out their patriotic mosaic in La Mesa here. Or see the gorgeous art decorating their headquarters on National Avenue here. (In that old blog post I had labeled their building Farallon Design, which I believe might have been a previous occupant.)

It’s quite possible I’ve photographed more of their work around San Diego without realizing it!

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The surprising Coral Reef Garden at Scripps!

There’s a surprising garden on the campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. It’s called The McReynolds Family Coral Reef Garden.

Desert cacti and succulents planted among rocks strongly resemble an ocean’s underwater coral reef!

This isn’t coincidental. I read several information signs around the Coral Reef Garden and learned how two very different environments are alike in many respects.

You can view this fantastic garden for yourself by walking along the Scripps Coastal Meander Trail, where it heads down Biological Grade. Look for it by the Eckart Building.

Fascinated? Read more about this very unique coral reef-inspired garden here!

As I explored the garden, I saw this plaque by a bench. It reads:

Ricky Grigg

Big Wave Surfer

PhD Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Pioneer Coral Reef Ecologist

Devoted his life to the sea and all it’s [sic] splendor

Two different ecosystems compared: a coral reef and a desert environment. Harsh habitat and abundant life. A seeming contradiction called Darwin’s Paradox.
The fore reef, with its many ridges and channels, contains the greatest diversity of corals, fishes, invertebrates and algae.
At the reef drop off, deeper, less turbulent water allows corals to grow taller and make more intricate shapes. Much like plants not subject to strong winds!

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!

Building a mountain at Grand Canyons of La Jolla!

A second Mount Soledad is coming to La Jolla!

The small mountain will rise from The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla, in a plaza filled with educational artwork at Kellogg Park.

I learned about this wonderful project on Saturday during my walk along the La Jolla Shores beach boardwalk.

The sculpture will depict canyons running from Mount Soledad down deep into the Pacific Ocean. Those visiting The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla Educational Plaza will be able to visualize in three dimensions what is shown in two dimensions in the large, colorful mosaic at their feet.

The Grand Canyons of La Jolla project is the work of the Walter Munk Foundation For the Oceans, which is responsible for the The Map mosaic in the plaza, plus signs and another nearby sculpture.

The Map mosaic is the plaza’s extraordinary centerpiece. It beautifully represents the local shoreline and underwater canyons in the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve.

Lines drawn in The Map concern ocean wave dynamics, calculated by Walter Munk, a world-renowned scientist who worked and taught for many years at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Over a hundred sea creatures also appear in the mosaic.

Signs at one edge of The Map detail the birds, fish and other marine life one might see above or below the water off La Jolla. A second completed sculpture, near the place where the small Mount Soledad will appear, concerns the Kumeyaay in the coastal region. It also shows intertidal sea life, cast in bronze.

Should you walk down the boardwalk (honorary Walter Munk Way) at La Jolla Shores beach, make sure to visit The Map. And watch for the coming of a second small Mount Soledad!

Walter Munk developed ocean wave prediction theory.

To learn more about Walter Munk’s scientific contribution during World War II, his groundbreaking work at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, his worldwide recognition, and why surfers love him, click here.

To watch a Walter Munk Foundation video concerning The Map click here.

Read an article about the mosaic’s debut in 2020 (replacing an earlier “map” at this location) 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!