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.

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.

A green-eyed octopus and underwater world.

Check out these two cool murals in Pacific Beach! Both can be found on the east side of Mission Boulevard, just north of Emerald Street.

The first super colorful mural features tikis, a green-eyed octopus and a happy blue bird. This one really grabs your attention! While walking up Mission Boulevard, I noticed it a block away! The imaginative artwork was painted around the entrance of Cheba Hut, by artist @BayneGardner.

The second mural shows an underwater scene teeming with beautiful marine life. The ocean, below palm trees and breaking surf, is the home to fish, coral, a swimming turtle, dolphins, sharks and more! You can find this fantastic street art, created by D. Longenecker, on the north wall of Taco Surf Pacific Beach.

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!

An octopus, sea lion, and fish burrito!

A gigantic octopus is standing on the grass near the Seaport Village carousel!
A gigantic octopus is standing on the grass near the Seaport Village carousel!

Today I enjoyed many cool sights–and tastes, too!

As I walked through Seaport Village, I noticed a giant octopus had crawled out of the bay and was standing on its eight tentacles beside the carousel.

Seriously? Okay, the big inflatable octopus has been placed there for the international Ocean Sciences Meeting at the nearby San Diego Convention Center. A variety of events will be taking place in Seaport Village, including a funny environmental wrestling match! See the photo of the sign that follows for all the information!

When I arrived at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, a sea lion was barking and surfacing near the pier enjoying tossed fish scraps. Which made me hungry.

So I walked a few steps along the pier to Loaf and Fish, where the super friendly folks happened to remember I love fish burritos. Because they had some tortillas on hand, they made me a special one!

While fish burritos aren’t a normal menu item at Loaf and Fish, I bet there’s a good chance they’ll fix you one if you ask! You won’t regret it! All sorts of tasty spicy stuff is jammed inside, along with lots of freshly caught fish! Their fish sandwiches, soup and tacos are all unbeatable!

Ocean Optimism - Art Interpreting Science - is an event at Seaport Village corresponding with the Ocean Sciences Meeting at the convention center.
Ocean Optimism – Art Interpreting Science – is an event at Seaport Village corresponding with the Ocean Sciences Meeting at the convention center.
These cool guys in a small boat in Tuna Harbor were scooping up trash with nets!
These cool guys in a small boat in Tuna Harbor were scooping up trash with nets!
Fresh fish is cut right on the boat at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
Fresh fish is cut right on the boat at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
People on the pier near the fishing boat Kaylee H are staring down at the water with cameras.
People on the pier near the fishing boat Kaylee H are staring down at the water with cameras.
Something really has this crowd's attention!
Something really has this crowd’s attention!
It's a playful sea lion! It was hanging out, eating occasional fish scraps tossed its way.
It’s a playful sea lion! It was hanging out, eating occasional fish scraps tossed its way.
All sorts of locally caught seafood can be purchased on Saturday at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
All sorts of locally caught seafood can be purchased on Saturday at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
Someone orders lunch at Loaf and Fish. I already ordered a special fish burrito!
Someone orders lunch at Loaf and Fish. I already ordered a special fish burrito!
The fish burrito was super! So were these smiles from the friendly folks at Loaf and Fish!
The fish burrito was super! So were these smiles from the friendly folks at Loaf and Fish!
Another scene on the pier at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
Another small scene on the pier at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.

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!

Huge whale spotted beside Pacific Highway!

If you’ve ever driven down Pacific Highway south of Old Town, there’s a good chance you’ve spotted an enormous whale!

That whale was painted by muralist Chris Konecki in 2016 for PangeaSeed Foundation’s environmental project Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans. (Many more amazing murals were created by other artists during this same citywide event.)

The big, colorful whale mural is on the side of BJ’s Equipment Rentals, between Wright Street and Estudillo Street. The title of this mural is Just Passing Through. Look closely and you’ll see scuba divers around the whale, either spray painting graffiti on the whale or removing it!

Vandalizing a beautiful living whale would be a horrible thing to do. Endangering these magnificent creatures with pollution in the oceans would be just as reprehensible.

Let’s keep Earth’s oceans clean!

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!

Amazing walk at Scripps Institution of Oceanography!

Scripps Coastal Meander Trailhead at La Jolla Shores Drive, just north of Biological Grade. A sign indicates Coastal Trail Access.
Scripps Coastal Meander Trailhead at La Jolla Shores Drive, just north of Biological Grade. A sign indicates Coastal Trail Access.

Please join me for a short but absolutely amazing walk.

We’re going to start at the Scripps Coastal Meander Trailhead on La Jolla Shores Drive and pass through part of the world-famous Scripps Institution of Oceanography. We’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby coast. We’ll pause at a spot of historical importance. We’ll encounter some beautiful artwork.

Let’s go!

The Scripps Coastal Meander coincides with a short segment of the California Coastal Trail.
The Scripps Coastal Meander coincides with a short segment of the California Coastal Trail.
Starting down the trail.
Starting down the trail.
Moving through the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus. Someone reads a sign ahead.
Moving through the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus. Someone reads a sign ahead.
Starting along a raised wooden walkway with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.
Starting along a raised wooden walkway with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.
Sign describes the Scripps Coastal Meander, a publicly accessible walking route through the Scripps campus. It is part of the California Coastal Trail.
Sign describes the Scripps Coastal Meander, a publicly accessible walking route through the Scripps campus. It is part of the California Coastal Trail.
A map on the sign shows the California Coastal Trail in relation to the beach, the Scripps Coastal Reserve Biodiversity Trail, Scripps Pier and La Jolla Shores.
A map on the sign shows the California Coastal Trail in relation to the beach, the Scripps Coastal Reserve Biodiversity Trail, Scripps Pier and La Jolla Shores.
Heading down the wooden walkway with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, Scripps Pier, and La Jolla Cove in the distance.
Heading down the wooden walkway with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, Scripps Pier, and La Jolla Cove in the distance.
A paraglider from the Torrey Pines Gliderport floats in the sky above a campus building.
A paraglider from the Torrey Pines Gliderport floats in the sky above a campus building.
Soaring high above the beautiful coast.
Soaring high above the beautiful coast.
Looking down from the trail at native flora atop the cliffs above the beach. Dike Rock can be seen jutting through the breaking surf.
Looking down from the trail at native flora atop the cliffs above the beach. Dike Rock can be seen jutting through the breaking surf.
Walking along on a beautiful, sunny San Diego day.
Walking along on a beautiful, sunny San Diego day.
A bench waits ahead.
A bench waits ahead.
Bench overlooks the wide blue ocean.
Bench overlooks the wide blue ocean.
Opa's Bench is dedicated to Arnold Krause. His journey began in Germany and ended in San Diego.
Opa’s Bench is dedicated to Arnold Krause. His journey began in Germany and ended in San Diego.
Two small birds on a rope.
Two small birds on a rope.
Continuing on, I passed a student who attends world renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Continuing on, I passed a student who attends world renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Another sign ahead.
Another sign ahead.
Conserving California's Coastal Treasures. Sign describes Marine Protected Areas. Just offshore is the San Diego-Scripps Coastal SMCA.
Conserving California’s Coastal Treasures. Sign describes Marine Protected Areas. Just offshore is the San Diego-Scripps Coastal SMCA.
Continuing down the path, I see something interesting to the right.
Continuing down the path, I see something interesting to the right.
A marker stands at the oldest known archaeological site in Southern California, occupied by the La Jollan I Indians almost 8000 years ago.
A marker stands at what was the oldest known archaeological site in Southern California–radiocarbon dated in 1962–occupied by the La Jollan I Indians almost 8000 years ago.
Approaching a small grassy park with a sculpture.
Approaching a small grassy park with a sculpture.
The sculpture is Spring Stirring by world famous sculptor Donal Hord, 1948, a gift of Cecil and Ida Green in 1964.
The sculpture is Spring Stirring by world famous sculptor Donal Hord, 1948, a gift of Cecil and Ida Green in 1964.
Spring Stirring, by artist Donal Hord.
Spring Stirring, by artist Donal Hord.
Starting along a narrow walkway around the perimeter of the Judith and Walter Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Munk Laboratory.
Starting along a narrow walkway around the perimeter of the Judith and Walter Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Munk Laboratory.
Looking north up the coast toward Black's Beach and Torrey Pines State Reserve.
Looking north up the coast toward Black’s Beach and Torrey Pines State Reserve.
Looking southwest at Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, which is used for ocean research by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Looking southwest at Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, which is used for ocean research by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Beyond Scripps Pier and Scripps Beach is La Jolla Shores and the Village of La Jolla.
Beyond Scripps Pier and Scripps Beach is La Jolla Shores and the Village of La Jolla.

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.

Colorful nature painted near Fiesta Island.

I discovered some colorful artwork last weekend during my walk around Mission Bay!

As I headed north along East Mission Bay Drive just past the entrance to Fiesta Island, approaching Tecolote Creek, I saw that images from nature had been painted on the low barrier that separates the small parking lot from the walking path. I spotted birds and fish and whales and flowers and all sorts of marine wildlife and native critters.

It appeared all of nature had gathered at my feet!

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!

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!

Storm Drain Stenciling Day at Liberty Station!

At work on a Liberty Station sidewalk.
At work on a Liberty Station sidewalk.

During my walk through Liberty Station this morning I noticed several volunteers working on sidewalks near storm drains. Turns out that today was Storm Drain Stenciling Day!

Think Blue and I Love A Clean San Diego teamed up for this cool volunteer event. The freshly painted messages near storm drains remind everyone that these drains don’t lead to a sewer system, but drain directly into San Diego Bay and other local waterways.

Litter, waste, oil and chemicals that find their way into storm drains end up polluting beaches, estuaries and lagoons, harming birds, fish, other natural wildlife . . . and people!

This important stenciled message has faded over time.
This important stenciled message has faded over time.
Volunteer on a sidewalk in Liberty Station applies a new coat of paint on the curb above a storm drain.
Volunteer on a sidewalk in Liberty Station applies a new coat of paint on the curb above a storm drain.
Newly stenciled message by a storm drain in Point Loma. NO DUMPING GOES TO OCEAN
Newly stenciled message by a storm drain in Point Loma. NO DUMPING GOES TO OCEAN
Liberty Station in Point Loma is a very beautiful part of San Diego.
Liberty Station in Point Loma is a very beautiful part of San Diego.
I Love a Clean San Diego! (Don't you?)
I Love a Clean San Diego! (Don’t you?)
Let's all keep San Diego safe, beautiful and clean!
Let’s all keep San Diego safe, beautiful and clean!

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!

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!

Beautiful new ocean mural at PB Water Store.

In October many artists came together in Pacific Beach to paint a beautiful new mural on the long north wall of the PB Water Store. The large mural depicts life under the ocean’s surface.

Images include a jellyfish, a mysterious underwater siren, a seahorse beside delicate coral, a grumpy-looking turtle, many hammerhead sharks, several colorful fish, an oyster with pearl, and a couple of crabs. According to names I observed on the wall, the artists involved in this amazing project included Beth Emmerich, Gloria Muriel, Diana DeAugustine, Erin Yoshi, Kara “KJ” Ashley and Justin Pelletier.

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!