Imperial Beach plaques remember slough surfers.

Bronze plaques near the foot of the Imperial Beach Pier recall the legendary slough surfers who once trekked from far and wide to the Tijuana Sloughs, where the Tijuana River meets the Pacific Ocean, just north of the Mexican border.

During much of the 20th century, the Tijuana Sloughs was considered the preeminent big surf break in California. There’s a great article concerning the history and geology of the Sloughs here.

If you walk around Portwood Pier Plaza at the foot of the IB Pier, you’ll see a bunch of colorful surfboard benches where you can rest and gaze out across the beach. Look down and you’ll discover plaques next to each bench.

The plaques recall those who rode the big waves at the Tijuana Sloughs and honor bits of Imperial Beach surfing history.

Surfhenge public art welcomes people to the Imperial Beach Pier and Portwood Pier Plaza. The plaza is located next to the beach between Surfhenge and the lifeguard tower to the south.
Visiting slough surfers 1940’s.
Regular slough surfers 1940’s and 1950’s.
Most of California’s finest surfers were lifeguards at some stage in their careers…
Dean of the Sloughs. In 1937 the Sloughs were first surfed by the legendary waterman Dempsey Holder. Over the years surfers from all over California showed up at Dempsey’s lifeguard station at the end of Palm Avenue.
Visiting slough surfers 1950’s.
Father of the Modern Surfboard. In the 1940’s Bob Simmons applied the principles of hydrodynamics to surfboard design and forever changed the sport of surfing. In 1950 he moved to Imperial Beach.
…From 1930 to 1950 the total number of California surfers grew from under 70 to over 1500.
In the 1940’s surfers from all over Southern California made the journey to what is now Imperial Beach to surf the then-known biggest waves off the continental United States.
The Tijuana Sloughs became the testing ground for mainlanders going to Hawai’i. Before Malibu, San Onofre and Windansea groups surfed Makaha and the North Shore of O’ahu, they experienced the thrill and fear of big waves at the Sloughs.

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UPDATE: Russian sub to be new reef off Ensenada, Mexico!

I learned something interesting this morning!

I was walking along the Embarcadero past the Maritime Museum of San Diego when I noticed the hull of their badly rusting old Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine, B-39, was partially wrapped with orange material. I asked at the ticket booth for the latest news concerning this historic Russian sub, and I was told it’s being prepared for one last journey. It is to be towed away from the museum next month.

During the Cold War this particular diesel electric submarine, which was commissioned in the 1970’s, might have lurked at times off the West Coast, tracking United States Navy ships. Its final destination will be the Pacific Ocean off Ensenada, Mexico. There it will be sunk to create a new underwater reef!

UPDATE!

Oh, the perils of a blogger whose website, through mysterious algorithms, is considered by some a news site. I make a lousy journalist!

The gentleman I relied on for the preceding information was only partially correct–and very wrong concerning the main matter. The submarine will indeed be towed to Ensenada (at an as yet unknown time) to be disassembled for its valuable metal components. But will it become a reef? I’m told, no.

I heard this a couple days later from a much more reliable source during another visit to the Maritime Museum.

I also took the following photographs. You can see strips of orange safety fence wrapped around a portion of the rusted outer hull.

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 amazing walk along Sunset Cliffs!

One of San Diego’s most amazing, scenic walks is along Sunset Cliffs in Point Loma.

Yesterday I walked along the length of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, which stretches for about 1.5 miles beside the Pacific Ocean. I started near the intersection of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Adair Street and headed south to Ladera Street, where there’s a popular beach, nature trails and stairs down to a small cave and rocky tide pools.

The August summer day was perfect for a long walk. The sun didn’t break through the coastal marine layer until the very end of my adventure, and the sea breeze was pleasantly cool.

Views of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the steep, rugged cliffs seemed endless. The mostly dirt Coastal Trail I followed wound above the high eroded bluffs, past a few pocket beaches and past sea caves and picturesque sandstone arches.

In places the cliffs have collapsed from the constant powerful action of tides and incoming waves. Many signs warn people away from the edge of the unstable cliffs.

I met a painter. I met friendly lifeguards training for cliff rescues. I saw benches along the path dedicated to lost loved ones and sunsets. Many were standing and sitting at the ocean’s edge, peering at eternity with silent wonder.

As you can see from my photographs, nature’s hand creates beauty everywhere it moves.

If you like to stretch your legs and spirit, and you happen to be in San Diego, it’s likely you’ll love this walk, too.

Looking north for a moment. You can see the Ocean Beach pier in the distance.

As I walked along, I met Scotty Painta. He paints beautiful small scenes from Sunset Cliffs. We had a friendly chat and my day was enriched.

I met three lifeguards. They had slender ropes dangling down an almost vertical bluff. They were practicing cliff rescues. Jake told me a little about what they do. Thank you.

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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!

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A colorful Sunday walk on Imperial Beach Pier.

Today I headed down to Imperial Beach to check out a sandcastle that is under construction at the foot of the IB Pier. This summer’s week-long Imperial Beach Sun and Sea Festival features one gigantic sand sculpture. (I’ll share those photos shortly!)

Because I was at the pier, of course I had to walk out on it.

These colorful photographs were taken during my Sunday stroll over the ocean. I walked out to the pier’s end, gazed at the sky and water for a while, then headed back to the 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!

The mysterious Coastal Helix sculpture in Carlsbad!

Have you ever wondered about that mysterious shining sculpture in the traffic roundabout at the north end of Carlsbad? You know, where Carlsbad Boulevard meets State Street, just south of the Buena Vista Lagoon?

The fantastic sculpture is titled Coastal Helix. It was created by California artist Roger White Stoller in 2014. Learn more about him here.

As you drive past the silvery flame-like public artwork, watching for merging traffic, you can’t fully appreciate it.

During my walk up the Coast Highway last weekend in Carlsbad I approached Coastal Helix and took a variety of photos. You can see how small stories appear to be told in the metalwork. One sees birds, frogs, surfers, and many other lively elements all mixed together.

According to the artist’s description here: “A celebration of the Pacific Ocean and coastal lagoons, the stainless pattern incorporates abstracted imagery of local flora and fauna: a whale, pelican, heron, crab, bird-of-paradise, waves and many more elements can be discovered. Gateway to the city, it stands atop artisan boulders built by Boulderscape and designed to replicate the local sandstone cliffs…”

These coastal inhabitants all seem to have spiraled upward mysteriously from the rocks upon which the sculpture is perched.

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Enormous pipe laying ship docked in San Diego!

Take a look at this enormous ship! I saw it today docked at San Diego’s B Street Pier, across from the Cruise Ship Terminal. The vessel, with what appears to be a helicopter pad high above its bow, is so huge I spotted it several blocks from San Diego’s Embarcadero!

The Normand Energy is a Pipe Layer vessel built in 2007, sailing under the flag of Norway. I was curious why such an unusual ship is visiting San Diego, so I searched the news.

It turns out the Normand Energy was chartered by Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) to test the Patania II, a deep-sea mining prototype. But on April 25 Patania II became detached from its 5 kilometer (over 3 miles!) cable and became stranded on the Pacific Ocean floor!

According to this article, the “25-tonne mining robot prototype was trialed in the Clarion Clipperton Zone in the Pacific since April 20. The machine was supposed to collect nodules rich in cobalt and other battery metals…such minerals would be used to supplement in-demand electronic products and energy storage such as smartphones, laptops, solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles…”

According to this article, a recovery mission successfully retrieved Patania II on April 29.

Environmentalists including Greenpeace oppose deep-sea mining and the damage to the ocean bottom that would result, but ironically the rare earth elements that could be extracted are required for various components in clean energy technology.

If you’re curious about the whereabouts of the Clarion Clipperton Zone and what this “geological submarine fracture zone” is exactly, here’s a fascinating Wikipedia article.

Check out additional photographs of the Normand Energy that I took from various angles. The next two are from the Broadway Pier…

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!

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Video recreates historic Voyages of the San Salvador!

Behind come America, Cloudia and galleon San Salvador.

A fantastic video produced by the National Park Service and Aperture Films, with a very big assist from the Maritime Museum of San Diego, recreates the historic Voyages of the San Salvador!

If you’ve ever visited the Maritime Museum of San Diego, you’ve certainly boarded the amazing working replica of a Spanish galleon. The San Salvador was built to recreate, as closely as possible, explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo’s flagship of the same name, which he sailed during his voyage of discovery up the California coast. It was Cabrillo who discovered San Diego Bay for Spain in 1542.

A few years ago a film was made about Cabrillo’s historic Pacific Ocean voyage, using the Maritime Museum’s galleon during a trip to the Channel Islands. The film, titled Voyages of the San Salvador, was meant to be seen in the theater at Cabrillo National Monument, but I learned today from its leading actor, Al Sorkin, that you can view it online!

Voyages of the San Salvador, as described by the National Park Service: “…follows the 1542 expedition led by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo on a journey to find a route to China to trade for valuable spices. The film explores the motivation behind this incredible risk and the lasting effects European exploration has had on the native Kumeyaay people. This expedition marked the first European landing on what is now the west coast of the United States.”

As you watch the video, you might recognize that the segment concerning Cabrillo’s departure from his home was filmed in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, at La Casa de Machado y Stewart. And the beach scene beneath towering cliffs was filmed at Torrey Pines State Beach.

Watch the incredible and very educational Voyages of the San Salvador–in English or in Spanish–by clicking here!

Al Sorkin, who played Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in the National Park Service film Voyages of the San Salvador, poses for a photo at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

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!

Another walk in the Village of La Jolla.

On Saturday I enjoyed another meandering walk through the Village of La Jolla. I had only one destination in mind: the rear of a bench at the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial. You’ll see why in a coming blog post!

As I walked along I photographed whatever caught my fancy. The murals you see here I haven’t documented in the past.

The Bishop’s School tower. Designed by noted architect Carleton Monroe Winslow, the Bishop Johnson Tower was added to St. Mary’s Chapel in 1930.
Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial by the La Jolla Recreation Center. (Stay tuned for photos of beautiful public art on the other side of that bench!)
Looking out at the Pacific Ocean from the edge of Ellen Browning Scripps Park.
Many people stop to look at sea lions down on the rocks.
People walk along or buy treats on a Saturday by La Jolla Cove.
Gazing down at popular La Jolla Cove.
Mermaids drink free!
The Cave Store is where you can enter Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave through an old bootlegger’s tunnel.
Raymond Chandler at the Whaling Bar, 2018, Raul Guerrero. One of the Murals of La Jolla.
Unity in Diversity. Mural by Gennaro Garcia.
La Valencia Hotel seen from across Prospect Street. The Pink Lady of La Jolla has been a destination of the Hollywood elite, built in 1926.
St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. The 1928 tower was designed by Louis Gill, based on images from Campo Florida in Mexico.
Front of La Jolla Woman’s Club. California’s first tilt-up concrete building, it was designed by pioneering architect Irving Gill in 1912.
A mural I spotted on Pearl Street.
Fresheria mural on Pearl Street, by @el_pekaso

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.

California Harmony racehorse art in Solana Beach!

Here’s another great Art of the Horse piece created back in 2017 for the Breeders’ Cup, which was held that year at the Del Mar Racetrack. This sculpture, a life-size replica of the Breeders’ Cup trophy, is titled California Harmony. It’s by artist Tish Wynne.

Painted on the racehorse are colorful coastal scenes full of crashing waves, running horses, birds, flowers and ocean wildlife. You can find California Harmony in Solana Beach, on Highway 101 in front of The Boardwalk retail and office complex, a bit south of Estrella Street.

Several years ago I photographed five other Art of the Horse fiberglass sculptures. (There were 20 unique pieces painted for the Breeders’ Cup.) You can see those horses here and 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!

Nesting cormorants above La Jolla Cove!

It must be breeding season already, because hundreds of Brandt’s cormorants are showing their blue throat patches and building nests on the cliffs above La Jolla Cove!

Today I stood and watched peculiar bird behaviors from the roadside above the cliffs. I saw amorous flirtations and angry squabbles and seaweed tug-of-wars. Cormorants in nests would occasionally angle their heads and wings way back, staring straight up. I’m not sure if that’s a natural behavior, or if they were merely gaping at all the tourists above them!

I tried to select my best photographs. In some the cormorants appear very beautiful; in others a bit strange and primitive–almost monstrous.

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!