Dramatic clouds from atop convention center!

A stormy day today. Dramatic clouds marched across the sky.

After work I climbed to the top of the San Diego Convention Center for a sweeping view.

To the south, the Coronado Bay Bridge and Hilton caught a few late rays from the sun. To the north, magnificent clouds glowed above the Flame of Friendship sculpture and Marriott. In the distance, beams of light touched the bay, making the water shimmer.

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!

Take a tour aboard a new Coast Guard cutter!

This weekend the general public has the rare opportunity to take a free tour aboard a brand new United States Coast Guard cutter! The USCGC Benjamin Bottoms, which is scheduled to be commissioned in San Diego this week, is presently docked on the Embarcadero just north of the Maritime Museum.

USCGC Benjamin Bottoms (WPC-1132) is a Sentinel-class or Fast Response cutter that has very advanced capabilities. The vessel will be based in San Pedro and will spend most of its time off the coast of Southern California engaging in maritime rescues, drug interdiction, and a variety of other missions.

I stepped aboard today and was greeted by smiling crew members, heroes who have saved the lives of many. I was permitted to take photos everywhere but inside the pilothouse, which contains the latest technology. I was told that almost everything on the cutter is computerized, with sensors and controls just about everywhere. This type of cutter is unique in that it is equipped with a bow thruster which allows for very nimble maneuvering.

After checking out the pilothouse, our tour headed to the rear of the cutter where a small Cutterboat – Over the Horizon inflatable boat can be quickly released into the ocean or pulled back aboard. With its jet drive, the cutterboat has the ability to pursue and overtake very fast vessels.

We then went inside the Benjamin Bottoms to see its galley, a central dining and meeting area, and some officer quarters.

When you take a tour of the vessel, a friendly crew member will also tell you how the ship got her name. To summarize, using the words of Wikipedia: “Benjamin Bottoms was a United States Coast Guard radio operator who died while attempting to rescue the crew of a USAAF bomber that had crashed-landed in Greenland in November 1942.”

Head down to the Embarcadero tomorrow between 9 am and 2 pm and enjoy a fascinating tour and say Thank You to some genuine heroes!

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!

Dogs enjoy a harbor cruise on San Diego Bay!

A dog and two friends enjoy Pet Day on the Bay aboard the Adventure Hornblower.
A dog and two friends enjoy Pet Day on the Bay aboard the Adventure Hornblower.

This morning I went on a fun harbor tour–with dozens of tail-wagging dogs!

Hornblower Cruises and Events was having their annual Pet Day on the Bay, which benefits the Helen Woodward Animal Center!

This year the Pet Day on the Bay’s costume theme was mermaids and pirates. In addition to lots of cool sights, I photographed four-legged passengers dressed for the occasion!

Any dog owner who would like to have a memorable experience with their pet should go on one of these unique cruises. The Hornblower ship is equipped with everything a canine or human could desire, including drinks and snacks and a live narration describing all that you see during the one hour harbor tour. A couple of pet experts were also aboard offering lots of helpful advise.

I could tell the dogs were enjoying themselves. A bunch of their human companions were smiling, too!

People wait in line for the first of four very unique harbor tours. It's the annual Pet Day on the Bay!
People wait in line for the first of four special harbor tours. It’s the annual Pet Day on the Bay!
These furry passengers meet each other before boarding for a cruise on San Diego Bay.
Furry passengers meet each other before enjoying a cruise on San Diego Bay.
The theme this year for Pet Day on the Bay was mermaids and pirates. Looks like a mermaid to me!
The theme this year for Pet Day on the Bay was mermaids and pirates. Looks like a mermaid to me!
All sorts of local celebrities joined us on the fun cruise. That's Dave Scott of KUSI News!
All sorts of local celebrities joined us on the fun cruise. That’s Dave Scott of KUSI News!
We're at the foot of Hornblower's pier, almost time to board the ship.
We’re at the foot of Hornblower’s pier, almost time to board the ship.
Here comes a pair of colorful pirates!
Here come some colorful pirates!
I'm greeted with a big smile. I see another celebrity! It's world-famous Chopper, San Diego's motorcycle riding therapy dog!
I’m greeted with a big smile. I see another celebrity! It’s world-famous Chopper, San Diego’s motorcycle riding therapy dog!
Helen Woodward Animal Center was there, too, with a lot of love and some puppies to adopt.
Helen Woodward Animal Center was there, too, with licks of love and some puppies to adopt.
Mary Read hangs out with a tail-wagging friend, waiting for a forever home.
Mary Read hangs out with a tail-wagging friend, waiting for a forever home.
Open up your home--save a life. Foster homes are urgently needed for canines and felines. The Helen Woodward Animal Center with your help saves thousands of precious lives. Please visit animalcenter.org
Open up your home–save a life. Foster homes are urgently needed for canines and felines. With your help, the Helen Woodward Animal Center saves thousands of precious lives. Please visit AnimalCenter.org
Heading along the Grape Street Pier, about to board the Adventure Hornblower for a one hour harbor tour!
Heading along the Grape Street Pier, about to board the Adventure Hornblower for a one hour harbor tour!
Some of the passengers have a pre-boarding meet and greet.
Some of the passengers have a pre-boarding meet and greet.
Photos are taken for Pet Day on the Bay.
Photos are taken for Hornblower Cruises’ Pet Day on the Bay.
A friendly greeting by the ship's captain!
A friendly greeting by the ship’s captain!
Doggie bags with lots of cool stuff from Petco were handed out to those participating in Pet Day on the Bay.
Doggie bags with lots of cool stuff from Petco were handed out to those participating in Pet Day on the Bay.
Up some steps onto the upper deck...
Up some steps onto the upper deck…
Some dog-friendly turf and great views await the pooch passengers.
Some dog-friendly turf and great views await the pooch passengers.
New friends are made on deck, as we await our departure.
New friends are made on deck, as we await our departure.
Is this sailor one of the crew?
Is this sailor one of the crew?
As we waited to begin our cruise, the Admiral Hornblower left the dock and headed out onto the bay.
As we waited to begin our cruise, the nearby Admiral Hornblower headed out onto the bay.
Sunshine breaking through the morning clouds turns the Admiral Hornblower bright white.
Sunshine breaking through the morning clouds turns the Admiral Hornblower bright white.
Here we go! We leave downtown San Diego behind.
Here we go! We leave downtown San Diego behind.
We head out toward the entrance to San Diego Bay, with views of Point Loma, North Island and the distant Coronado Islands.
We head out toward the entrance of San Diego Bay, with views of Point Loma, North Island and the distant Coronado Islands.
Some people rowing outrigger canoes flew past us on the calm water of San Diego Bay.
Some people rowing outrigger canoes flew past us on the calm water of San Diego Bay.
Approaching the live bait dock, where sportfishing boats stop before heading out into the Pacific Ocean.
Approaching the live bait dock, where sportfishing boats stop before heading out into the Pacific Ocean.
Sea lions lounge on the floating dock along with a motley group of sea birds.
Sea lions lounge on the floating dock along with a motley group of sea birds.
A group of kayakers were passing Naval Base Point Loma, not far from four nuclear submarines.
A group of kayakers was passing Naval Base Point Loma, not far from four nuclear submarines.
The dogs enjoy the amazing views just as much as the humans.
The dogs enjoy the amazing views just as much as the humans.
All sorts of characters are hanging out on the ship's deck.
All sorts of characters are hanging out on the ship’s deck.
There seem to be happy dogs everywhere!
There seem to be happy dogs everywhere!
As we headed back toward the Embarcadero, I poked my head inside the ship to see some displays, including one presented by Petco. They also provided doggie treats.
As we headed back toward the Embarcadero, I poked my head inside the ship to check out some displays, including this one presented by Petco, who also provided doggie treats.
The Petco Foundation is helping to save the lives of animals. Learn how you can put your love for animals into action at PetcoFoundation.org
The Petco Foundation is helping to save the lives of animals. Learn how you can put your love for animals into action at PetcoFoundation.org
The billowing Hornblower flag and the approaching San Diego skyline.
The billowing Hornblower flag and the approaching San Diego skyline.
As we approach the dock, a dog supervises the maneuvering of the ship.
As we come beside the dock, a dog carefully supervises the maneuvering of the ship.
Passengers disem-bark after a wonderful one hour cruise.
Passengers disem-bark after a wonderful one hour cruise!
Pet Day on the Bay is a great annual event for those with two or four legs!
Pet Day on the Bay is a great annual event for those with two or four legs!

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!

Another beautiful evening on the Embarcadero.

Sun shines through late clouds, splashing light across San Diego Bay in its peaceful Crescent Area.
Sun shines through late clouds, splashing light across San Diego Bay in its peaceful Crescent Area.

It was another beautiful evening on San Diego’s Embarcadero. I went for a slow walk.

What more can I say?

Boat moored in San Diego Bay becomes darkly mysterious in the late light.
Boat moored in San Diego Bay becomes darkly mysterious in the late light.
Inspiration Hornblower heads out into San Diego Bay near the Grape Street Pier on an early Friday evening.
Inspiration Hornblower heads out into San Diego Bay near the Grape Street Pier on an early Friday evening.
The new Coast Guard vessel USCGC Benjamin Bottoms will soon be commissioned. The public can tour the Sentinel-class cutter tomorrow on San Diego's Embarcadero, just north of the Maritime Museum.
The new Coast Guard vessel USCGC Benjamin Bottoms will soon be commissioned. The public can tour the Sentinel-class cutter this weekend on San Diego’s Embarcadero, just north of the Maritime Museum.
Some of the vessels of the Maritime Museum of San Diego splashed with late sunlight.
Some of the vessels of the Maritime Museum of San Diego splashed with late sunlight.
Glowing clouds through the rigging of Star of India.
Glowing clouds through the rigging of Star of India.
Rays of light crown Star of India's female figurehead, the Greek Muse of lyric poetry, Euterpe.
Rays of light crown Star of India’s female figurehead, the Greek Muse of lyric poetry, Euterpe.
A gull swoops down onto Broadway Pier to investigate some seated people.
A gull swoops down onto Broadway Pier to investigate some seated people.
The reflections of downtown skyscrapers shine in the Port Pavilion's windows, a few minutes before sunset.
The reflections of downtown skyscrapers shine in the Port Pavilion’s windows, a few minutes before sunset.
Flags and a sail illuminated by late light.
Flags and a sail illuminated by late light.
Tables and seats at the end of Broadway Pier are empty at the close of another day.
Tables and seats at the end of Broadway Pier are empty at the close of another day.
Another beautiful evening on San Diego's Embarcadero.
Another beautiful evening on San Diego’s Embarcadero.

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!

A photographic adventure by the water.

I enjoyed a small photographic adventure yesterday evening.

Walking along the Embarcadero, camera in hand, I gazed out toward San Diego Bay and the descending sun. Occasionally I paused to frame long shadows, glowing clouds, silhouettes and bright reflections on the water.

These photographs represent a segment of my walk from Broadway Pier to the Greatest Generation Walk, just south of the USS Midway.

The exaggerated contrasts in these photos were produced by my camera’s automatic mode. When I shoot into the sun, many of the resulting images can appear very dramatic. And darkly mysterious!

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!

Honoring victims, heroes of USS Bennington disaster.

Today I walked through the historic Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. It’s my first visit to the grove of live oaks since December of 2017, when I observed Boy Scouts and volunteers working to improve the living memorial.

During my walk today, not only was I pleased to see the quiet oak grove was as peaceful and beautiful as ever, but I noted some information has been posted in the kiosk. I took a photograph so you might read it. Click my photo of the sign and the image will expand for easy reading. (Unfortunately, you’ll note the clear plastic protecting the sign was broken by vandals. But thankfully I saw absolutely no litter, graffiti or other signs of disturbance.)

You might notice the sign also features a QR code that opens a dedicated memorial website. To learn much, much more about the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove, please visit BenningtonMemorial.com.

The memorial website honors the lives of the 66 U.S. Navy sailors who tragically died when the USS Bennington’s boiler exploded in San Diego Bay on July 21, 1905. A separate page of the website is dedicated to each victim. You’ll also learn about the 11 courageous men who each earned a Medal of Honor for their heroism that day.

To see inspirational photos from a year and a half ago, when Boy Scouts and crew members of the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt were working to improve the Bennington Memorial, click here and here. For many of those photos, I am grateful to the San Diego Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, and historian Kathleen Winchester in particular.

Now please enjoy the following pics taken today by the kiosk, and along the shady footpath that winds through the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

Sign at the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove describes one of the Navy's worst peacetime disasters, which took place in 1905 on San Diego Bay. Sixty six live oaks were planted to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion.
Sign in kiosk at the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove describes one of the Navy’s worst peacetime disasters, which took place in 1905 on San Diego Bay. Sixty six live oaks were planted in Balboa Park to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion.

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 of India, painted by light and by hand.

The STAR, by artist Marie Huggin.
The STAR, by artist Marie Huggin.

I was drawn to the Star of India today. I sat on a wooden bench of the historic tall ship and gazed out at sailboats gliding across the sparkling water of San Diego Bay.

Finally I stood up and walked about the Star of India’s sunny deck, trying to frame interesting effects of light and shadow with the lens of my camera.

Later, as I walked through the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s other vessels, I halted inside the Compass Gallery of the steam ferry Berkeley. My eyes were held fast by an exhibition of paintings titled Sea and Shore. Many of the canvases, painted by the hands of local artists, all members of the Plein Air Painters Association of San Diego, depict the Star of India.

I thought that contrasting a few of my photos with some of the dreamlike artwork might be fun.

Dozens of pieces in the Compass Gallery are available for purchase! If you’d like to sail through an ocean of beautiful nautical paintings, and perhaps take one home, head downtown to the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

Bert and Wes Working on the STAR, by artist Jeffrey Remmer.
Bert and Wes Working on the STAR, by artist Jeffrey Remmer.

She Rests, by artist Pamela Ingwers.
She Rests, by artist Pamela Ingwers.

Aloft on STAR of INDIA, by artist Norm Daniels.
Aloft on STAR of INDIA, by artist Norm Daniels.

The STAR of INDIA at Sunset, by artist Pamela Ingwers.
The STAR of INDIA at Sunset, by artist Pamela Ingwers.

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!