Mystic Whaler tall ship visits San Diego.

The Mystic Whaler is visiting San Diego. I saw it docked at the Maritime Museum of San Diego this afternoon.

With a name like Mystic Whaler, you might think this tall ship is circling the globe searching for the elusive Moby Dick.

Wrong!

The beautiful ship is from Connecticut, and after a passage through the Panama Canal, it’s making its way up the West Coast. Mystic Whaler’s ultimate destination is the Channel Islands, where it will serve as an educational ship for the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. A bunch of school kids are in for a real adventure!

The 83-foot-long Mystic Whaler is a reproduction of a late 19th-century coastal cargo schooner. You can read a great article concerning its history and future here.

The crewmember I spoke to was super nice. Good luck!

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!

New Year’s Day photos from the Embarcadero.

Today is New Year’s Day. The sun was shining in San Diego.

Many people were out strolling beside San Diego Bay.

For some reason, walking along the Embarcadero is a thing I do almost every year on January 1. Maybe it’s the glittering water, cool breeze, sailboats, and a sense of renewal. Whatever it is, that’s what I did today.

And I took these photographs.

(The next photo is strange! I think he was playing for a special group about to board a harbor cruise.)

Happy New Year!

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!

Winter sunset photos along the Embarcadero.

Enjoy some sunset photos that I took a couple evenings ago during a walk along San Diego’s Embarcadero. A winter storm had just ended.

Yes, it’s true. I said I wouldn’t post many photos during the holiday season. But here I go again.

Sunlight coming through tinted windows at the Port Pavilion add interesting splashes of green in the final two images.

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!

Christmas beauty in one magical place.

One of our city’s most magical indoor spaces can be found floating above San Diego Bay. Those who’ve stepped onto the passenger deck of the historic ferryboat Berkeley know what I’m talking about.

People once crossed San Francisco Bay in style. That’s where this old steam ferry originated. Now the Berkeley makes its home at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and those who visit its elegant interior are in for a treat. Especially during the holiday season.

I hadn’t planned on blogging today, but during a short walk between winter showers my feet carried me to the museum. The Christmas decorations inside the Berkeley simply had to be photographed.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll have to wait another year for Christmas, so what better time to post these photos?

Happy Holidays!

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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Morning light beautifies an Embarcadero walk.

Early sunlight made a walk along San Diego’s Embarcadero very beautiful this morning.

I snapped these photos between the Grape Street Pier and Broadway Pier.

Gentle ripples moved across quiet San Diego Bay. Golden light reflected from buildings and homes across the water. Birds passed overhead. A ferry departed for Coronado.

Here’s what morning walkers and joggers might have experienced…

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!

Listening to a Symphony rehearsal at The Shell.

Wonder.

Elation.

Ecstasy.

What word best describes an extraordinary experience that is free to music lovers in San Diego?

When the San Diego Symphony rehearses at The Shell at Embarcadero Marina Park South, anybody can sit mere feet away from the musicians. Just walk on up and take any seat. And listen. You’ll hear some of the finest music ever composed, played by a world-class symphony orchestra.

Sit close and feel the thunder!

This morning I sat in front of The Shell and felt the power of music wash through me, while I enjoyed the sunshine, the gleaming downtown skyline, and boats of every kind sailing by on San Diego Bay.

UPDATE!

Here come more pics! I took these during another sunny weekend rehearsal…

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!

Scenes from The Shell’s opening night concert!

Today history was made in San Diego. This evening, the San Diego Symphony performed their opening concert at the new Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

I arrived a good hour before the concert began and wandered around. I even walked out onto the nearby pier. From the Embarcadero Marina Park South fishing pier The Shell is gorgeously framed by San Diego’s skyline.

The Shell is simply wonderful. It has immediately become one of our city’s treasures. Its beauty, the sparkling bay views, the sunset and sailboats, the world-class music…

Large screens on either side of the stage allow guests to watch the performers up close. You see their facial expressions. You see the emotion.

The photos I took this evening provide just a small taste of the incredible experience you’ll have should you attend a concert at the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

One great thing about this fantastic new outdoor venue is the public can freely watch and listen from the periphery. I found a bench beside the water and simply melted into the music.

Please enjoy a few photos of this evening’s historic event taken by my small camera.

Young volunteers greet visitors in line for the concert.
People eagerly file in for an historic concert.
Some guests walk up to the box office to purchase tickets.
The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park has many places to sit, eat, or simply relax before or during a concert. All sorts of food is available–from gourmet to pizza.
Friendly waves from San Diego Symphony folks!
A wave and smile!
A few are already seated well before the concert begins.
Martha Gilmer, Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Symphony welcomes guests to the historic concert.
Meanwhile, people have found a great place to sit and listen at one end of the fishing pier.
Sailboats pass on San Diego Bay. During the concert, many boaters anchored nearby to listen.
A photo taken from the pier. The Marriott Marquis becomes silvery as the sun falls toward the horizon.
Musicians arrive carrying their instruments.
I’m back near The Shell and its sloped seating area. People awaiting the concert gaze out toward the bay.
Many have taken their seats. Anticipation builds…
The sun will soon be setting.
The silhouette of San Diego Symphony conductor Rafael Payare appears on The Shell’s curtain! Everyone applauds!
The curtain suddenly drops open!
And there is the San Diego Symphony!
Beautiful music begins…

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!

Mystery art at the County Administration Building!

I’m sure somebody out there knows the story behind the above art. Even after extensive searches on the internet, it’s a mystery to me!

Two identical artworks are mounted on the north and south side of San Diego’s 1938 County Administration Building. Whenever I walk near the building, I look up at these medallion-like discs and try to figure out what is depicted.

This morning I finally took zoom photos. Now that I can scrutinize the design up close, I’m still baffled. The anchor suggests the design has a maritime theme.

If I had to guess, the art combines a 1930’s era flying boat splashing down on nearby San Diego Bay with the sail of a Chinese junk. The latter type of fishing boat was commonly seen on the bay in the early days of San Diego.

Or I might be completely wrong!

The best source I can find that describes the County Administration Building’s external ornamentation is a San Diego County government publication titled Bridging the Centuries: The Jewel on the Bay. Read it here. Check out page 20. Everything on the building’s exterior is described . . . all except this mystery artwork!

It appears to me this colorful disc might have some sort of mechanical action. Why is there a lever of some type projecting from the sun? Does the plane tilt upward as if taking off?

Please leave a comment if you are knowledgeable. I’m sure many are curious!

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!

San Diego’s two historic Civil War cannons.

Two cannons dating from the American Civil War now make their home in San Diego. You can find them floating above the bay on the barge behind the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

According to plaques at the museum and this very detailed article from the The Journal of San Diego History, these two “Napoleon guns” (also called a 12-pounder Gun, Model 1857) were utilized by the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1886 they were brought to our city by the U.S. Army and placed at the San Diego Barracks. The old barracks was located near today’s Seaport Village. (You can see a photo of the historical plaque marking the old barracks site here.)

The two “bronze” or “gun metal” cannons are named Big John and El Justin. Each cannon without the carriage weighs over 1,200 pounds. At the barracks they were fired at sunrise and at sunset, and whenever visiting ships came into San Diego harbor.

In 1898, at the beginning of the Spanish-American War, the two Napoleon guns were moved to Fort Rosecrans where they defended the newly laid Ballast Point minefield, and they “were fired nightly, despite complaints that the noise frightened the horses…”

Afterward they were moved from place to place in San Diego, thrown aside as junk, then finally restored in the 1980’s. For much more information, read the detailed article here.

You can view historical black-and-white photographs of the two Napoleon guns in San Diego 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!

Sunset photos at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

This evening before sunset I arrived at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

I walked out on the pier and watched the patient fishermen. San Diego Bay was glowing, peaceful.

I watched a Dole container ship loading at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal, then gazed at luxurious yachts docked behind the Convention Center.

As I walked along I spotted a heron behind Joe’s Crab Shack. Then I circled back to the walkway that leads to the newly finished Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, where the San Diego Symphony will be performing this summer. Welcoming banners are now up.

For a few minutes I watched guys playing hoops on the public basketball courts.

The sun finally began setting behind boats in the Marriott Marina.

I headed home.

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!