Stones, water and light at Torrey Pines.

Our recent winter storms in San Diego thrust small stones high up onto the beach in places. At Torrey Pines State Beach, smooth stones covered much of the pedestrian pathway that runs down to and under the bridge near the north parking lot.

The stones, combined with a high tide and descending sun, made for some silvery photographs this afternoon! Bands of reflected light approached the shore with every crashing wave. Newly wetted stones gleamed like magic.

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Big crashing waves at Crystal Pier!

Very high surf today, crashing into Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. I wasn’t surprised that the end of the pier was closed.

And I wasn’t surprised that surfers were out this sunny Saturday in droves!

In the distance, near the end of the pier, the largest, most ominous waves formed. And ambitious surfers waited…

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!

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Christmas trees on Carlsbad’s coastal bluffs!

A number of unusual Christmas trees can be found atop the coastal bluffs in Carlsbad!

Today, Monday the 26th, is the official observed holiday for Christmas this year. I decided to jump on the Coaster train and enjoy a walk by the ocean.

I walked north along Carlsbad Boulevard (historic Highway 101) from a point near the Poinsettia train station all the way into Carlsbad Village. Imagine my surprise when I saw several of these trees, decorated profusely with dangling ornaments. Most of the windswept trees were dead, which perhaps made the placement of the colorful ornaments more meaningful.

I don’t visit Carlsbad that often, so I don’t know the story behind these trees. If you do, please 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!

Life on and off the shore at Cardiff.

At Cardiff State Beach, in San Diego’s North County, restored coastal dunes are roped off, protecting fragile habitat from human feet.

Signs posted on the perimeter explain the “constructed dunes” and Our Living Shoreline.

One sign explains that coastal dunes provide a natural buffer against waves, tides and storms in winter.

Made resilient with native vegetation, the dunes provide important wildlife habitat and protect San Elijo Lagoon from flooding.

The roped dunes at Cardiff State Beach constitute a snowy plover and least tern preserve. These birds have decreasing populations, largely due to development, recreation and other human activity. The birds nest in vulnerable bowl-like depressions in the sand.

A second Our Living Shoreline sign concerns native coastal scrub and dune plants. Among these are sand-verbena, beach evening-primrose and woolly-heads.

The plants provide cover and food for native and migrating birds.

This colorful information sign, near the entrance to South Cardiff State Beach, concerns California’s kelp forests.

The underwater “Hidden Forest, Rich with Life” can be viewed from the shoreline as floating brown-green patches of seaweed.

The kelp plants hold to the ocean floor and stretch up 100 feet or more. They support an unseen world teeming with life, including diverse fish, marine mammals, sea slugs, sea stars, sea anemones and spiny sea urchins.

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

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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!

Beautiful views at Sea Cliff Park in Del Mar.

A small pocket park by the ocean in Del Mar provides visitors with very beautiful views.

Sea Cliff Park is located immediately south of Powerhouse Park, and west of Seagrove Park, which is situated on the bluffs above it.

The unmarked entrance to Sea Cliff Park is a swinging gate. It leads from Powerhouse Park to a dirt path and a small, easy walking loop. The gate is just south of what Google Maps calls the Powerhouse Playground.

The drought tolerant vegetation of Sea Cliff Park is native to our coastal region. I discovered several plaques as I walked about, taking in the scenery. Two plaques were dedicated to loved ones.

I walked the short distance south to where the main path ascends to the railroad tracks. Then I turned back.

Surfers were out on the cloudy late November day. Looking down at the beach from the bluffs, I saw tide pools! I’ll have to explore them some day…

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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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I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

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Sculptures and beauty at La Jolla’s Art Park!

There’s a beautiful park open to the public in La Jolla that features expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, sunshine and outdoor sculptures! It’s called the Art Park!

The Art Park is a new feature of the renovated Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. It’s not to be confused with the museum’s Edwards Sculpture Garden, which is located just below the Art Park. (I recently blogged about the Edwards Sculpture Garden here.)

As you walk into the Art Park, north of MCASD’s main entrance on Prospect Street, one large COR-TEN steel sculpture is very hard to miss. It’s titled Hammering Man at 3,110,527.

The motorized depiction of a worker whose hammer rises and falls repeatedly is by artist Jonathan Borofsky. It was created in 1988.

Drawn into the park for the beautiful ocean view, your curious eyes will discover a sculpture in the greenery titled Juchiteca de pie (Standing Juchiteca). The bronze female was created in 1966 by Costa Rican-Mexican artist Francisco Zúñiga. He has been called one of the 100 most notable Mexicans of the 20th century.

Another fine sculpture by Zúñiga can be found in a quiet corner of the UC San Diego campus. See it here.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Surfing big waves in Imperial Beach!

The waves were larger than usual off San Diego’s beaches today. I believe it had something to do with the hurricane in Mexico.

This morning I headed down to the Imperial Beach Pier to see what I might see.

I discovered a few surfers out attempting to conquer the curling, crashing breakers!

These surfing action photos were taken from the IB Pier…

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

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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!

Cabrillo National Monument celebrates 109 years!

Today–Friday, October 14th, 2022–is the 109th “birthday” of Cabrillo National Monument!

As you can see on the board above, this amazing park situated at the end of Point Loma was established exactly 109 years ago by President Wilson.

I arrived just a few minutes before the Discover Cabrillo National Monument ranger talk, so I quickly headed to the back patio to hear about the many qualities of this special place.

We learned about how the park protects the native flora and fauna. We also learned a little history concerning the 1542 voyage of explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, and the bunkers placed on the coastal bluffs during World War II.

After the talk I walked about, simply to take in the stunning views and fresh ocean air, and to take some photos. As you can see, it was a gray, overcast day.

The 109th anniversary of Cabrillo National Monument wasn’t nearly as big a deal as its centennial nine years ago. I was there for that big occasion, and took many photographs of the historic event which I posted here!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!