Photos of the San Diego Wooden Boat Festival!

A few vessels the public can visit during the San Diego Wooden Boat Festival at the Koehler Kraft boatyard on Shelter Island.
A few vessels the public can visit during the San Diego Wooden Boat Festival at the Koehler Kraft boatyard on Shelter Island.

Yesterday I headed over to Shelter Island to check out the annual San Diego Wooden Boat Festival. The event is taking place all Father’s Day weekend at the Koehler Kraft boatyard. Proceeds from the festival help out local charities.

Koehler Kraft is where many wooden boat owners head if their vessel needs a repair or upgrade. The boatyard was founded in 1938. I enjoyed poking around the place, and examining some very cool vintage wooden boats. There were also beautiful newer boats, and a few had unusual, fascinating designs.

Enjoy my photos and read the captions to learn more!

A look at the Koehler Kraft boatyard from a platform that juts out over the edge of Shelter Cove Marina in Americas Cup Harbor.
A look at the Koehler Kraft boatyard from a platform that juts out over the edge of Shelter Cove Marina in Americas Cup Harbor.
People walk out to look at some wooden boats during a very cool festival on Shelter Island.
People walk out to look at some wooden boats during a very cool festival on Shelter Island.
Koehler Kraft's San Diego Wooden Boat Festival is taking place on Father's Day weekend.
Koehler Kraft’s San Diego Wooden Boat Festival is taking place on Father’s Day weekend.
Various boats in the boatyard are being worked on. Some displays show the public how wooden boats are made.
Various boats in the boatyard are being worked on. Some displays show the public how wooden boats are made.
One can see the framework of this small wooden boat.
One can see the exposed framework of this small wooden boat.
Inside the Koehler Kraft building are several more wooden boats. The big one being worked on is Siwash, a 1910 yawl that held the round Catalina time record for 27 years.
Inside the Koehler Kraft building are several more wooden boats. The big one being worked on is Siwash, a 1910 yawl that held the round Catalina time record for 27 years.
Friendly folks show off lots of cool stuff at Koehler Kraft.
Friendly folks show off lots of cool stuff at Koehler Kraft.
I love how wood is everywhere. Working here must be a woodworkers dream.
I love how wood is everywhere. Working here must be a woodworker’s dream.
Another boat is being worked upon. The varnished wood is simply beautiful.
Another boat is being worked upon. The varnished wood is simply beautiful.
Now we're outside again, looking down at the water where many boats crafted from wood await.
Now we’re outside again, looking down at the water where many boats crafted from wood await.
Boats can be moved into and out of the water using these old rails and a wheeled platform.
Boats can be moved into and out of the water using these old rails and a wheeled platform.
The Marjorie is an elegant wooden boat.
The Marjorie is an elegant wooden boat.
Visitors to the San Diego Wooden Boat Festival check out a variety of interesting vessels.
Visitors to the San Diego Wooden Boat Festival check out a variety of interesting vessels.
This small boat is named Tom. It's a 2015 catboat. Carvel planked Port Oxford cedar on white oak frames.
This small boat is named Tom. It’s a 2015 catboat. Carvel planked Port Oxford cedar on white oak frames.
The stern of Old Glory.
Water reflects rippled light on the smooth stern of Old Glory.
Some guys and a dog on the deck of Sally, of the San Diego Yacht Club.
Some guys and a dog on the deck of Sally, of the San Diego Yacht Club.
Wooden boats have amazing character. Even the weathering adds personality.
Wooden boats have amazing character. Even the weathering adds personality.
One's eyes can take delight in these boats all day long.
One’s eyes can take delight in these boats all day long.
I believe I've seen the Patricia Belle at the yearly Festival of Sail. It's a schooner cargo type boat built in 1998.
I believe I’ve seen the Patricia Belle at the yearly Festival of Sail. It’s a schooner cargo type boat built in 1998.
Everyone is checking out these great boats!
Everyone is checking out these great boats!
Someone peers down into a beautiful wooden sailboat.
Someone peers down into a beautiful wooden sailboat.

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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Magic, wonder and warmth near the water.

Eyes gaze with wonder across the water.
Eyes gaze with wonder across the water.

Late this afternoon I walked along the Embarcadero. People were out and about, strolling, lingering by the water. My camera found magic, wonder and warmth.

Doing a bit of work on a boat in Marriott Marina.
Doing a bit of work on a boat in Marriott Marina.
Strolling along San Diego's waterfront on a warm late Friday afternoon.
Strolling along San Diego’s waterfront on a warm late Friday afternoon.
A pedicab driver relaxes while awaiting some business.
A pedicab driver relaxes while awaiting some business.
Something interesting must be down in the water.
Something interesting must be down in the water.
Three friends walk along the Embarcadero.
Three friends walk along the Embarcadero.
Two friends share a moment.
Two friends share a moment.
On green grass, under a green tree.
On green grass, under a green tree.
Silver light and a dreamlike sailboat on the magical water.
Silver light and a dreamlike sailboat.

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 from Port of San Diego’s harbor tour.

We pull away from the Embarcadero aboard the Admiral Hornblower, on a special harbor tour provided by the Port of San Diego.
We pull away from the Embarcadero aboard the Admiral Hornblower, on a special harbor tour provided by the Port of San Diego.

Last Saturday I enjoyed a special boat tour of San Diego’s harbor. The free tour was created by the Port of San Diego for Maritime Month, which was actually May. (The earlier tours were so popular, an additional June date was added.) The main intention of these tours was to educate the public about the importance of San Diego Bay, and the waterfront’s many contribution’s to our local economy.

We set out on the Admiral Hornblower and checked out a number of fascinating facilities that are overseen by the Port of San Diego. The Port of San Diego manages San Diego Bay and a strip of surrounding waterfront land. Its five member cities are San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Coronado.

According to their website “The port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 20 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of hundreds of tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.”

Well, what exactly did we see and what did we learn?

I took a few notes, which I’ve placed in my photo captions. Let’s head out onto the water on an overcast day and see some fascinating sights!

Looking back toward the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. This facility can host special events or welcome cruise ships. Every cruise ship adds 2 million dollars to the San Diego economy.
Looking back toward the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. This facility can host special events or welcome cruise ships. Every visiting cruise ship adds 2 million dollars to the San Diego economy.
Someone enjoys recreating on San Diego Bay as we pass Tuna Harbor. Tourism and commercial fishing rely on San Diego's harbor.
Someone enjoys recreating on San Diego Bay as we pass Tuna Harbor. Tourism and commercial fishing rely on San Diego’s versatile harbor.
It's Saturday morning, so the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is open on the I Street Pier near Seaport Village. It's the place to go if you like fresh fish.
It’s Saturday morning, so the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is open on the I Street Pier near Seaport Village. It’s the place to go if you like fresh fish.
Now we are approaching the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Most people associate it with Dole ships that bring in about 185 million bananas and other fruit each month!
Now we are approaching the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Most people associate it with those big yellow Dole ships that bring in about 185 million bananas and other fruit each month!
The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is to undergo modernization. Some transit sheds will be removed, to create more flexible laydown space.
The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is to undergo modernization. Some transit sheds will be removed, to create more flexible laydown space.
These are windmill tower components.
These are windmill tower components.
This part of the facility is used for transferring cement between ship and shore.
This part of the facility is used for transferring cement between ship and shore.
This 1,800-ton-per-hour bulk loader handles soda ash, bauxite and fertilizer exports.
This 1,800-ton-per-hour bulk loader handles soda ash, bauxite and fertilizer exports.
Docked south of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, beside the Cesar Chavez Park pier, are the vessels of Pacific Tugboat Service.
Docked south of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, beside the Cesar Chavez Park pier, are the vessels of Pacific Tugboat Service.
Near the east end of the San Diego–Coronado Bridge is the first of three big shipyards--Continental Maritime of San Diego.
Near the east end of the San Diego–Coronado Bridge is the first of three big shipyards–Continental Maritime of San Diego.
Navy ships are undergoing repairs and modernization. The white plastic wrap prevents paint particles from entering the environment.
Navy ships are undergoing repairs and modernization. The white plastic wrap prevents paint particles from entering the environment.
The next shipyard as we head south is BAE Systems. They also provide repair and modernization services. This huge ship in one of two dry docks is completely concealed!
The next shipyard as we head south is BAE Systems. They also provide repair and modernization services. This huge ship in one of two dry docks is completely concealed!
This is a new type of stealth Navy ship--a guided missile Zumwalt-class destroyer. DDG-1000 is the first of its class. Its radar image is similar to that of a fishing boat.
This is a new type of stealth Navy ship–a guided missile Zumwalt-class destroyer. DDG-1000 is the first of its class. Its radar image is similar to that of a fishing boat.
Another vessel is being worked on at the BAE Systems San Diego shipyard. You can see floating oil spill containment booms in many of these photos.
Another vessel is being worked on at the BAE Systems San Diego shipyard. You can see floating oil spill containment booms in many of these photos.
Finally we are nearing the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. Ships are built here. It is the largest full service shipyard on the West Coast.
Finally we are nearing the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. New ships are built here. It is the largest full service shipyard on the West Coast.
It's an overcast "June Gloom" late morning on San Diego Bay.
It’s an overcast “June Gloom” late morning on San Diego Bay.
As we continue into the South Bay, we see a large ship is being moved away from the shore by tugboat.
As we continue into the South Bay, we see a large ship is being moved away from the shore by tugboat.
It's the Palmetto State, a fuel-efficient ECO Class tanker that was built at the NASSCO shipyard.
It’s the Palmetto State, a fuel-efficient ECO Class tanker that was built at the NASSCO shipyard.
Now we are beginning to pass Naval Base San Diego--what some refer to as 32nd Street Naval Station. It is the principal homeport of the U. S. Navy's Pacific Fleet.
Now we are beginning to pass Naval Base San Diego–what some refer to as 32nd Street Naval Station. It is the principal homeport of the U. S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
This is the USS Essex (LHD-2), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
This is the USS Essex (LHD-2), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
San Diego is home to these three Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships.
San Diego is home to these three Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships.
The unusual white vessel is a barracks barge--where a crew lives while their Navy ship is undergoing major repairs.
The unusual white vessel is a barracks barge–where a crew lives while their Navy ship is undergoing major repairs.
The USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returned from deployment recently. The gold anchors indicate this ship has earned the Navy's Retention Excellence Award.
The USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returned from deployment recently. The gold anchors indicate this ship has earned the Navy’s Retention Excellence Award.
Now we are past the Naval base and approaching the National City Marine Terminal.
Now we are past the Naval base and approaching the National City Marine Terminal.
I see lots of cars. If you own an automobile imported from Japan or South Korea, there a good chance it arrived here.
I see lots of cars. If you own an automobile imported from Japan or South Korea, there a good chance it arrived here.
Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
Longshoremen drive hundreds of new vehicles off the ships. Warehouses nearby are used to install accessories. White wraps on cars protect them from stuff like seagull poop!
Longshoremen drive hundreds of new vehicles off the ships. Warehouses nearby are used to install accessories. White wraps on cars protect them from dirty stuff like seagull poop! Some ospreys have nests atop those high lampposts.
These totaled cars arrived from Hawaii! They're headed to San Diego salvage yards.
These totaled cars arrived from Hawaii! They’re headed to San Diego salvage yards.
Half of the new cars are then sent to their destination by train, the other half by truck. This facility accommodates super long freight trains--120 cars long!
Half of the new cars are sent to their final destination by train, the other half by truck. This facility accommodates super long freight trains–120 cars long!
We've turned about and have headed back to the North Embarcadero. Before we dock, we check out a superyacht moored in the middle of San Diego Bay.
We’ve turned about and have headed back to the North Embarcadero. Before we dock, we check out a superyacht temporarily moored in the middle of San Diego Bay.
This is the Attessa IV, owned by Dennis R. Washington, 76th wealthiest person in the United States! The Port of San Diego accommodates all sorts of ships!
This is the Attessa IV, owned by Dennis R. Washington, 76th wealthiest person in the United States! The Port of San Diego accommodates all sorts of ships!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Buildings rise and fall along San Diego’s waterfront.

First of two photos from about a week ago. Construction of a new fire station at Pacific Highway and Cedar Street. When finished this station will serve the North Embarcadero and Little Italy.
Construction of a new fire station at Pacific Highway and Cedar Street. When finished this station will serve the North Embarcadero and Little Italy.

Many cranes now fill the sky in downtown San Diego. They seem to be concentrated in East Village and along the waterfront. I’ve lived in downtown for a long time, and I don’t recall seeing this amount of construction activity in many, many years.

As you might have noticed, I like to walk along the Embarcadero. During the past few months I’ve been watching the progress of several construction projects not far from the water. Every time I go for a stroll it seems that I have to tilt my head farther and farther back…

It’s fascinating to watch new buildings slowly rise into the sky–and to watch as old buildings are swept away. It seems that human ambition is like an ocean that crashes wave after wave, unceasingly changing the cityscape. The things we see today will in time be replaced, and, like ourselves, become a small bit of history.

Here are some photos. Most I took late this afternoon. (The first four photos, which show the new fire station construction, were taken very recently.)

Read the captions!

The new fire station is west of the railroad and trolley tracks, in order to avoid potential delays when dispatched to emergencies by San Diego's harbor.
The new fire station is west of the railroad and trolley tracks, in order to avoid potential delays when fire engines are dispatched to emergencies near San Diego’s harbor.
I took this photo and the next a couple of days ago. Huge steel beams have appeared!
I took this photo (and the next) about a week after those first two photos. Huge steel beams have appeared!
A new bayside firehouse is being built in San Diego!
A new bayside firehouse is being built in San Diego!
Graphic on a banner on the fence surrounding the old, closed Anthony's Fish Grotto. A new waterside dining experience is coming called Portside Pier.
Graphic on the fence surrounding the now closed Anthony’s Fish Grotto. A new waterside dining experience is coming called Portside Pier.
Portside Pier will be just south of the Star of India and include a dock for visiting boats. Interesting that this graphic doesn't show Point Loma or any land across San Diego Bay.
Portside Pier will be just south of the Star of India and include a dock for visiting boats. (Interesting that this graphic doesn’t show Point Loma, North Island or any land across San Diego Bay!)
Portside Pier will include Brigantine, Miguel's, Ketch Grill and Taps, and Portside Coffee and Gelato.
Portside Pier will include Brigantine, Miguel’s, Ketch Grill and Taps, and Portside Coffee and Gelato.
Demolition of the Navy Broadway Complex has been underway for several weeks. I believe a remote robot is being used to destroy this building floor by floor, starting at the top level.
Demolition of the Navy Broadway Complex has been underway for several weeks. I believe a remotely-controlled robot is being used to destroy the old building floor by floor, starting at the top level.
Another look at the old Navy Broadway Complex being slowly removed. Heaps of debris are growing.
Another look at the old Navy Broadway Complex being slowly removed. Heaps of debris are growing.
Photo taken from Ruocco Park shows the Navy Broadway Complex demolition, plus the construction of the new InterContinental Hotel (left crane) and Pacific Gate by Bosa (right crane).
Photo taken from Ruocco Park shows the Navy Broadway Complex demolition, plus the construction of the new InterContinental Hotel (left crane) and Pacific Gate by Bosa (right crane).
The Navy Broadway Complex is being demolished to make way for Manchester Pacific Gateway, which will include four office buildings, a retail promenade, tourist attractions, a park and two hotels.
The Navy Broadway Complex is being demolished to make way for Manchester Pacific Gateway, which will include four office buildings, a retail promenade, tourist attractions, a park and two hotels.
A look at the demolition so far from Pacific Highway. The Navy Broadway Complex has evolved since the early 1900's and has served the Pacific Fleet in various capacities.
A look at the demolition so far from Pacific Highway. The Navy Broadway Complex has evolved since the early 1900’s and has served the Pacific Fleet in various capacities.
Pacific Gate by Bosa appears to be nearing completion. Photo taken just south of intersection of Broadway and Pacific Highway.
The tall Pacific Gate by Bosa appears to be nearing completion. Photo taken near intersection of Broadway and Pacific Highway.
Construction continues near the base of Pacific Gate, a high-rise luxury condo. Photo taken from across Broadway.
Construction continues near the base of Pacific Gate, a high-rise luxury condo.
Pacific Gate rises behind construction of the new InterContinental Hotel, located at the site of old Lane Field. Photo taken across Harbor Drive.
Pacific Gate rises in the distance, behind the construction of a new InterContinental Hotel, located at the site of old Lane Field. Photo taken from across Harbor Drive.
When finished, this InterContinental Hotel will provide 400 luxury waterfront rooms for visitors to San Diego.
When finished, this InterContinental Hotel will provide 400 luxury waterfront rooms for visitors to San Diego.
I took some photos of ground floor construction as I walked along Pacific Highway north of Broadway.
I took some photos of ground floor construction as I walked along Pacific Highway north of Broadway.
Another photo of construction of San Diego's new InterContinental Hotel.
Another photo of construction of San Diego’s new InterContinental Hotel.
Looking upward.
Looking upward.
Lots of cranes are in San Diego's blue sky! A dynamic city grows and continues to evolve.
Lots of cranes are in San Diego’s blue sky! A dynamic city grows and continues to evolve.

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!

Double takes and a heartfelt San Diego welcome!

Tourists take the Coronado ferry across the bay to downtown San Diego. What will they see?
Curious tourists take the Coronado ferry across the bay to downtown San Diego. What will they see?

Yesterday I bumped into a few unexpected sights. No different than any other day. A walk through the world with open eyes can tickle both one’s funny bone and heart.

A pedicab advertising marijuana delivery!
A pedicab advertising marijuana delivery!
A walking, smiling iced coffee!
A walking, smiling iced coffee!
Upside down visitor information!
Upside down visitor information!
A heartfelt welcome on the bow of the USS Midway. Welcome home to the troops.
A heartfelt welcome on the bow of the USS Midway. Welcome home to the troops.

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 educational visit to the Living Coast Discovery Center!

Bat ray rises against glass of an outdoor tank at the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.
Bat ray rises against glass of an outdoor tank at the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.

Before my hike through Sweetwater Marsh, I enjoyed a visit to the Living Coast Discovery Center, which is located inside the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Exhibits inside the center and clusters of wildlife tanks and enclosures outside allow visitors to see and learn about the animals that make this refuge their home. The place is just right for families, with kid-size educational displays, short, easy paths, and even some picnic tables. If I were a young kid, having a birthday party here would be really cool!

After checking out the exhibits at the Living Coast Discovery Center, I ventured over to an adjacent building that is the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters. Some great displays outside provide more information about the unique and beautiful wetland that stretches in all directions. Not far from this building, one can easily find a hiking trail that leads across the marsh to San Diego Bay.

The Living Coast Discovery Center, located in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, is where to get Back to Nature.
The Living Coast Discovery Center, located in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, is where to get Back to Nature.
A short bus ride takes one from the parking lot near Interstate 5 through the protected Sweetwater Marsh to the kid-friendly education center.
A short bus ride takes one from the parking lot near Interstate 5 through the protected Sweetwater Marsh to the kid-friendly education center.
People near the green sea turtle exhibit at the front of the Living Coast Discovery Center.
People near the green sea turtle exhibit at the front of the Living Coast Discovery Center.
Many species of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish are on display inside the small center. There's even a mouse house popular with kids.
Many species of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish are on display inside the small center. There’s even a mouse house popular with kids.
Outside, visitors can explore exhibits featuring sharks, rays, birds and tortoises. One can also look across the surrounding Sweetwater Marsh.
Outside, visitors can explore exhibits featuring sharks, rays, birds and tortoises. One can also look across the surrounding Sweetwater Marsh.
Actions on land affect San Diego Bay. Pollution runoff flows via creeks, rivers and storm drains into the marsh then out to the ocean.
Actions on land affect San Diego Bay. Pollution runoff flows via creeks, rivers and storm drains into the marsh then out to the ocean.
A leopard shark. They are plentiful in the waters off San Diego.
A leopard shark. They are plentiful in the waters off San Diego.
This 3-million-year-old fossilized tusked walrus skull was found in the area. 470 different species have been found as fossils here, including sperm whales and now extinct flightless auk!
This 3-million-year-old fossilized tusked walrus skull was found in the area. 470 different species have been found as fossils here, including sperm whales and now extinct flightless auks!
Enclosures in the aviary area contain clapper rails, shorebirds and ducks.
Enclosures in the aviary area contain clapper rails, shorebirds and ducks.
A blue-billed ruddy duck swims in a pool of water at the Living Coast Discovery Center.
A blue-billed ruddy duck swims in a pool of water at the Living Coast Discovery Center.
In other parts of the aviary area one can see vultures, hawks, eagles and owls.
In other parts of the aviary area one can see vultures, hawks, eagles and owls.
A red-tailed hawk.
A red-tailed hawk.
Beautiful artwork on one building's side shows a beach and birds in flight. Swallows have built nests above it near the roof.
Beautiful artwork on one building’s side shows a beach and birds in flight. Swallows have built nests above it near the roof.
Bronze sculpture of a coyote. Many other works of wildlife art can be viewed around the center.
Bronze sculpture of a coyote. Many other works of wildlife art can be viewed around the center.
Sign near an enclosure describes the Sonoran desert tortoise.
Sign near an enclosure describes the Sonoran desert tortoise.
A tortoise take a slow stroll outside the Living Coast Discovery Center.
A tortoise take a slow stroll outside the Living Coast Discovery Center.
This amazing art showing marshland birds is just outside the entrance to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters.
This amazing art depicting marshland birds is just outside the entrance to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters.
Large signs explain the role of a wildlife refuge.
Large signs explain the role of a wildlife refuge.
National Wildlife Refuges are safe havens for species. The first one, at Pelican Island in Florida, was created in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.
National Wildlife Refuges are safe havens for species. The first one, at Pelican Island in Florida, was created in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.
Map of the extensive San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Map of the extensive San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
The wildlife refuge contains great biodiversity. The animals and plants are all parts of a complex and sensitive ecosystem.
The wildlife refuge contains great biodiversity. The animals and plants are all parts of a complex and sensitive ecosystem.
Different forms of life can be found in subtidal channels, mudflats, the low march and high marsh. The changing tide allows birds to feed and varied species to thrive.
Different forms of life can be found in subtidal channels, mudflats, the low marsh and high marsh. The changing tide allows birds to feed and variously adapted species to thrive.
Wildlife can find it hard to thrive in urban areas. The conserved habitat of this refuge is a critical safe harbor for many native species.
Wildlife can find it hard to thrive in urban areas. The conserved habitat of this refuge is a critical safe harbor for many native species.
This place is special. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps to protect its wild residents.
This place is special. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps to protect its wild residents.
A green sea turtle, one of those residents of San Diego Bay!
A green sea turtle, one of those residents of San Diego Bay!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Photos from a short hike through Sweetwater Marsh.

A group begins a nature hike down a trail at San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
A group begins an easy nature hike down a trail at San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

On Saturday I visited Gunpowder Point, just south of where the Sweetwater River empties into San Diego Bay. The marshy area is a wildlife refuge. It’s part of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, to be exact, and home of the popular Living Coast Discovery Center.

After visiting the Living Coast Discovery Center, I enjoyed a guided nature hike down a short trail through the Sweetwater Marsh.

I was pleasantly surprised by the bare natural beauty. I didn’t see a whole lot of wildlife during this visit, but I know our region’s marshes and estuaries are often teeming with birds. San Diego is part of the Pacific Flyway, a major route of migratory birds that stretches from Alaska to South America.

A map inside the nearby Living Coast Discovery Center show the location of the Sweetwater River and the marsh where it enters San Diego Bay.
A map inside the nearby Living Coast Discovery Center shows the location of the Sweetwater River and the marsh where it enters San Diego Bay.
Hiking through Chula Vista's protected Sweetwater Marsh on a sunny day. It's mid-May and the once green and flowering plants have begun to dry out.
Hiking through Chula Vista’s protected Sweetwater Marsh on a sunny day. It’s mid-May and the once green and flowering plants have begun to dry out.  In this photo I see some prickly pear cactus.  During the hike I also recognized black sage and coastal sagebrush.
Our guide shows us saltbush. It is adapted to the type of salty soil in this marsh on San Diego Bay. Its leaves taste salty!
Our guide shows us saltbush. It is adapted to the type of salty soil in this coastal marsh. Its leaves taste salty!
Sign by the trail. This area is called Gunpowder Point. During World War I, Hercules Powder Co. extracted potash and acetone here from kelp harvested offshore in the Pacific Ocean. These were used to make cordite, or smokeless gunpowder for the British.
Sign by the trail. This area is called Gunpowder Point. During World War I, Hercules Powder Co. extracted potash and acetone here from kelp harvested offshore in the Pacific Ocean. These were used to make cordite, also called smokeless gunpowder, for the British.
A sail on the bay beyond a drying field of San Diego Sunflowers.
A sail on the bay beyond a drying field of San Diego Sunflowers.
The short, easy hike is ideal for families.
The short, easy hike is ideal for families.
Some sunflowers are still yellow.
Some sunflowers are still yellow.
The San Diego Sunflower, or Bahiopsis laciniata, is often found in a coastal sage scrub environment.
The San Diego Sunflower, or Bahiopsis laciniata, is often found in a coastal sage scrub environment.
The Silver Strand and Coronado Cays can be seen across San Diego Bay.
The Silver Strand and Coronado Cays can be seen across San Diego Bay.
We've arrived at the wildlife reserve's narrow sandy shore. Birds could be seen here and there in the distance.
We’ve arrived at the wildlife refuge’s narrow sandy shore. Birds could be seen here and there in the distance.
As the group continues on, I linger to take in the sunshine and wide views. I notice what appears to be remnants of the potash manufacturing operation from years ago.
As the group continues on, I linger to take in the sunshine and wide views. I notice what appears to be remnants of the potash manufacturing operation from years ago. Some benches allow rest and meditation.
Stones and debris on a beach in the wildlife refuge.
Stones and debris on a beach in the wildlife refuge.
Some mysterious (to me) concrete ruins on Gunpowder Point.
Some mysterious (to me) concrete ruins on Gunpowder Point.
I arrived at a bird observation lookout. All was very quiet. I saw a California least tern hunting small fish along the water's edge. Few people seem to come out here.
I arrived at a bird observation structure. All was very quiet. I saw a California least tern hunting small fish along the water’s edge. Few people seem to come out here.
Depending on the tide, the area near the shore can be open water or a mudflat that supports shorebirds searching for food.
Depending on the tide, the area near the shore can be open water or a mudflat that supports shorebirds searching for food.
Bird's beaks are specially designed for feeding. Some beaks filter plants from the water, some grab flies out of the air, and some probe the mud.
Bird’s beaks are specially designed for feeding. Some beaks filter plants from the water, some grab flies out of the air, and some probe the mud.
The tide must have been out, because this platform stood above a drying mudflat.
The tide must have been out, because this platform stood above a drying mudflat.  I believe that might be bright green eelgrass in the shallow pool of water.
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, or crystalline ice plant, is salt tolerant. My hike through the marsh produced some beautiful surprises.
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, or crystalline ice plant, is salt tolerant. My hike through the marsh produced some beautiful surprises.
Hiking through an expanse of green in San Diego's South Bay.
Hiking through an expanse of green in San Diego’s South Bay.

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