Sails dance in the hazy gray.

It was hazy and gray as we cruised back into San Diego Bay at the end of our whale watching trip. Many sailboats were heading out to the ocean.

When I looked at these photos, the sailboats appeared to be engaged in a dreamy dance of light and darkness.

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 new Portside Pier is ready to open!

The latest addition to San Diego’s beautiful Embarcadero is about to open. The new Portside Pier, a 4-in-1 restaurant and public observation deck operated by Brigantine, is set to open this Tuesday, July 28!

I’ve been watching the construction of this unusual dockside building for well over a year. You might recall I posted some photos late last year here. The Portside Pier is located directly next to the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic tall ship Star of India.

This new bayside eatery replaces the much-beloved Anthony’s Fish Grotto, where many San Diegans enjoyed great seafood meals and a view of the sparkling bay for 70 years. Before it was demolished, I blogged about good old Anthony’s Fish Grotto here and here. I blogged about its demolition here!

Portside Pier features four eateries: Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar, Miguel’s Cocina, Ketch Grill & Taps, and Portside Coffee & Gelato. The new structure has a fair amount of outdoor seating, which I suppose allows them to open during the current coronavirus pandemic restaurant restrictions.

I look forward to walking up onto the public observation deck and grabbing something to eat in the near future!

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!

Walking part of the Sweetwater River Bikeway.

View of Interstate 5 over the Sweetwater River from the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
View of Interstate 5 over the Sweetwater River from the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.

In my last blog post, I shared some photos that I took during yesterday’s walk along part of the Sweetwater River Bikeway. Those surprisingly artistic images were from the path beneath Interstate 5.

Now I’ll share additional photographs from my walk.

I began at the trailhead at the south end of Hoover Avenue. Once I reached the Sweetwater Bikeway, I headed west along the river, with a short detour to check out the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.

If you recognize Paradise Marsh and those overgrown old railroad tracks, that might be because a couple years ago I posted photos of them a little farther north here.

I walked onto the Sweetwater Bikeway from the trailhead at Hoover Avenue and W. 33rd Street in National City.
I walked onto the Sweetwater Bikeway from the trailhead at Hoover Avenue and W. 33rd Street in National City.
Turning a corner, about to go under a ramp from I-5 to U.S. Route 54.
Turning a corner, about to go under a ramp from I-5 to U.S. Route 54.
Here comes a Blue Line San Diego trolley!
Here comes a Blue Line San Diego trolley!
About to find myself on the Sweetwater River Bikeway.
About to find myself on the Sweetwater River Bikeway.
I begin walking west toward various bridges.
I begin walking west toward various bridges.
This guy and his bike found some summer shade by the water.
This guy and his bike found some summer shade by the water.
If you continue west, you eventually reach Pepper Park.
If you continue west, you eventually reach Pepper Park.
Bicyclists on Sweetwater Bikeway about to go under Interstate 5.
Bicyclists on Sweetwater Bikeway about to go under Interstate 5.
I took a bunch of cool photos under the freeway and shared them on my previous blog post!
I took a bunch of cool photos under the freeway and shared them on my previous blog post!
The head of a bicyclist is visible coming down the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
The head of a bicyclist is visible coming down the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
I turn for a moment to look back east.
I turn for a moment to look back east.
The Gordy Shields Bridge is dedicated to a civic leader who advocated for bicycling.
The Gordy Shields Bridge is dedicated to a civic leader who advocated for bicycling.
Now I'm walking south on the bike bridge, heading over the Sweetwater River channel.
Now I’m walking south on the bike bridge, heading over the Sweetwater River channel.
Looking east at traffic on Interstate 5.
Looking east at traffic on Interstate 5.
A guy on a skateboard passed me.
A guy on a skateboard passed me.
Looking west down the Sweetwater River channel toward San Diego Bay. That's Pier 32 Marina on the right.
Looking west down the Sweetwater River channel toward San Diego Bay. That’s an old train bridge. That’s the Pier 32 Marina beyond it on the right.
Someone made this cool peace sign out of some artificial wreath material.
Someone made this cool peace sign out of some artificial wreath material.
Another look east. That peak in the distance is San Miguel Mountain.
Another look east. That peak in the distance is San Miguel Mountain.
Freeway ramp swings south over part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Freeway ramp swings south over part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Sign at intersection of Bayshore Bikeway and Sweetwater River Bikeway.
I’m back by the water’s edge. A sign at the intersection of the Bayshore Bikeway and Sweetwater River Bikeway.
Biking west along the river channel.
Biking west along the river channel.
Continuing west. Lots of bikes out today!
Continuing west. Lots of bikes out for the weekend!
Looking north at Paradise Marsh, part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Looking north at Paradise Marsh, part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Part of Paradise Creek, which winds its way through the protected marshland.
Part of Paradise Creek, which winds its way through the protected marshland.
Paradise Marsh is a refuge for many local and migratory birds.
Paradise Marsh is a refuge for many local and migratory birds.
These old train tracks pass south over the Sweetwater River on a bridge that is no longer in use.
These old train tracks pass south over the Sweetwater River on a bridge that is no longer in use.

At this point the Sweetwater Bikeway turns away from the river and starts around the Pier 32 Marina.

That’s all for now!

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!

Sunday afternoon’s bright sails and kites!

Many bright dreams took flight this Sunday afternoon. I saw them in the sky above San Diego Bay.

The sails of tacking boats were flapping in the breeze.

Colorful kites were swaying back and forth, tugging eagerly at their strings high above Embarcadero Marina Park North.

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 fun idea for Fourth of July weekend!

Looking for something fun to do this Fourth of July weekend? Are you disappointed that most public events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic? I’ve got a great idea!

Head downtown to the Embarcadero and enjoy an hour or two at the Maritime Museum of San Diego! You know, that cool attraction on the bay with the tall-masted ships, including world-famous Star of India. They’re going to be open all weekend long!

I visited the museum this afternoon (I’m a member) and learned they reopened yesterday. Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, they and other local museums might be ordered to close again as soon as next week if cases continue to rise in San Diego. So now might be your best chance to visit this year.

Much of your museum adventure will be spent in the healthy, sunny outdoors, exploring the Maritime Museum’s beautiful, historic ships. I noticed that plenty of measures have been taken to ensure everyone’s safety. Make sure to bring your face covering–it’s required.

Sadly, you will not be allowed to enter inside the two submarines, or step aboard the HMS Surprise, because of her ongoing redecking. But there’s plenty else to see and experience!

Those of you who follow my blog know that the Maritime Museum of San Diego is one of my favorite destinations. If you like history and the sea, and standing over the bright water, gazing up at white sails while imagining you’re on a journey across the wide blue ocean, you might love it, too!

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 beauty of nature on the coastal strand.

The coastal strand lies just above the high tide line of a beach. While its appearance might be sandy, dry and scraggly, look closely and you’ll find plenty of nature’s endless beauty.

Last Saturday I walked around Silver Strand State Beach.

Entrance station at Silver Strand State Beach.
Entrance station at Silver Strand State Beach.
The blue Pacific Ocean stretches beyond the seemingly barren western shore of the Silver Strand. Point Loma and a cruise ship can be seen in the distance.
The blue Pacific Ocean stretches beyond the seemingly barren western shore of the Silver Strand. Point Loma and a cruise ship can be seen in the distance.
The flowers of beach suncup, or evening primrose, are like bright gems on the sand.
The flowers of beach suncup, or evening primrose, are like bright gems on the sand.
The Western Snowy Plover depends on kelp and seagrass washed ashore, feeding on insects. Their young are hatched in the sand. Fences keep the feet of people away.
The Western Snowy Plover depends on kelp and seagrass washed ashore, feeding on insects. Their young are hatched in the sand. Fences keep the feet of beachgoers away.
Walking along the San Diego Bay side of the State Park.
Walking along the San Diego Bay side of the State Park.
Coastal strand plants begin to grow past the tide line. Winds and waves sculpt the sands in this dynamic, yet fragile habitat.
Coastal strand plants begin to grow past the tide line. Winds and waves sculpt the sands in this dynamic, yet fragile habitat.

San Diego black-tailed jackrabbits are frequently seen in the dry coastal sage scrub of Silver Strand State Beach.
San Diego black-tailed jackrabbits are frequently seen in the dry coastal sage scrub of Silver Strand State Beach.
How many rabbits can you see? They are well adapted to this environment.
How many rabbits can you see? They are well adapted to this environment.

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 returns to Shelter Island!

A busy Sunday at the Shelter Island Launch Ramp.
A busy Sunday at the Shelter Island Launch Ramp.

Life has returned to Shelter Island! How quickly circumstances change!

For several months, during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, San Diego Bay was an inactive blank–virtually no boats, almost no people along its shoreline. But now that society is well along in the process of reopening, appearances have radically changed!

I took a walk around the Shelter Island today. It looked like a typical Sunday in June. People picnicked on the grass, fished from the pier, and launched their boats into the bay.

The playground was closed and some people wore facial protection, but otherwise it felt like just another summer day…

As life returns to Shelter Island, a line forms at the boat ramp.
As life returns to Shelter Island, a line forms at the boat ramp.
Various types of boats are gathered inside the recently renovated launching basin.
Various types of boats are gathered in the recently renovated launching basin.
This boat is heading out into San Diego Bay.
This boat is heading out into San Diego Bay.
These guys are coming in. Pelicans stand on the rail across the water.
These guys are coming in. Pelicans stand on the rail across the water.
A cool little wooden sailboat sets out into the bay.
A cool little wooden sailboat sets out into the bay.
Still working to get that sail up!
Still working to get that sail up!
A sea lion goes from boat to boat hoping for fishing bait leftovers.
A sea lion goes from boat to boat hoping for fishing bait leftovers.
I believe this might be Wally the sociable sea lion. I blogged about him a couple times before. He hangs out here.
I believe this might be Wally the sociable sea lion. I blogged about him a couple times before. He hangs out here.
Today is Flag Day, so this sign works perfectly.
Today is Flag Day, so this sign works perfectly.
The huge Stars and Stripes racing yacht is passing the Shelter Island Pier. I haven't seen it on the bay for a very long time.
The huge Stars and Stripes racing yacht is passing the Shelter Island Pier. I haven’t seen it out on the bay for what seems a very long time.
The pier is filled almost end to end with people.
The pier is filled almost end to end with people.
This gull has landed atop a box at the foot of the pier. It would probably like some leftovers from Fathom Bistro, Bait and Tackle.
This gull has landed atop a box at the foot of the pier. It would probably like some scraps from Fathom Bistro, Bait and Tackle.
A perfect sunny day on the Shelter Island Pier. Across the bay you can see North Island Naval Air Station.
A perfect sunny day on the Shelter Island Pier. Across the bay you can see North Island Naval Air Station.
Somebody caught a little mackerel!
Somebody caught a little mackerel!
Lots of sails in the distance. Beyond them rises downtown San Diego's skyline.
Lots of sails in the distance. Beyond them rises downtown San Diego’s skyline.
Another sail seen from one of the lath shelters along Shelter Island’s Shoreline Park.
Another sail seen from one of the lath shelters along Shelter Island’s Shoreline Park.
Walking, bicycling, sailing... What could be better?
Walking, bicycling, sailing… What could be better?
A bright sailboat about to pass Scripps Institution of Oceanography research vessel Sally Ride. You might remember I took a tour of her when she debuted and blogged about it!
A sailboat about to pass Scripps Institution of Oceanography research vessel Sally Ride. I took a tour of her when she debuted and I blogged about it!

If you want to see what it’s like inside the oceanographic research vessel R/V Sally Ride, which is in the above photo, click 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!

Underwater mural in Silver Strand tunnel!

Three pedestrian tunnels pass underneath California State Route 75, connecting the west and east sides of Silver Strand State Beach. If you choose to use the south tunnel, you might want to put on some scuba gear!

That tunnel is home of a long, very cool mural that depicts life above the water and beneath it.

Silver Strand State Beach occupies a section of the peninsula between Coronado and Imperial Beach. Much of the life painted in the mural can be observed from the park’s two shores.

Walking along coastal habitat by either the Pacific Ocean or San Diego Bay, you will observe many birds, including snowy plovers, great blue herons, least sandpipers, black skimmers, marbled godwits, long-billed curlews, snowy egrets, endangered California least terns, brown pelicans, seagulls and a variety of ducks.

Out in the water you might also spot surfacing seals and dolphins! But if you want to see a whale up close, you’ll need to dive into the tunnel!

This very cool environmental mural was painted in 2009 by Imperial Beach artist Jaime Rayon, with some help from young members of The Art Kids, in partnership with the nearby Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

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!

Seaport Village suddenly turns blue!

The Pier Cafe at Seaport Village has been painted dark blue!
The Pier Cafe at Seaport Village is no longer brown. It has been painted dark blue!

Look what I noticed today during my evening walk along the Embarcadero. Seaport Village must have a brand new color scheme. Because many of its buildings along the water have recently been painted dark blue!

To me it all appeared very strange. Probably because I’m accustomed to Seaport Village’s old appearance.

Seaport Deli and Salad Bar has also been painted dark blue!
Seaport Deli and Salad Bar has also been painted dark blue! But it still has the red tile roof.
And so has the Harbor House restaurant! Seaport Village must have a new blue color scheme.
And the Harbor House restaurant has turned from brown to blue! Seaport Village must have a new color scheme.
The Seaport Village lighthouse has always been light blue. For many years you could purchase cookies here. I see a new eatery called Spill the Beans is coming.
The Seaport Village lighthouse has always been light blue. For many years you could purchase cookies here. I see a new coffee shop called Spill the Beans is coming.
And look! Buster's Beach House is now painted dark blue, too!
And look! Buster’s Beach House is now painted dark blue, too! It all appears a bit peculiar to me, but I might change my mind.

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!

Historical marker near Midway and Rosecrans.

Historical marker recalls early San Diego's La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.
Historical marker recalls early San Diego’s La Playa Trail. This plaque can be found on Rosecrans Street near Midway Drive.

While walking around Point Loma this weekend, I came upon another historical marker with a plaque that commemorates San Diego’s famous old La Playa Trail. This marker stands in front of a shopping center near the corner of Midway Drive and Rosecrans Street. It features one of six similar plaques created back in the 1930s.

You can see a photo of another such plaque at the east end of the La Playa Trail, near Mission San Diego de Alcala, by clicking here. You can see a third plaque at the base of Presidio Hill and learn about the remaining three plaques (which I have yet to photograph) here.

According to Wikipedia: “The La Playa Trail was a historic bayside trail in San Diego, connecting the settled inland areas to the commercial anchorage at Old La Playa on San Diego Bay…The trail was used during the Pre-Hispanic (Native American), Spanish, Mexican and American periods of San Diego history. Much of the length of the original trail corresponds to the current Rosecrans Street in the San Diego neighborhood of Point Loma…The trail was already established by the time the Spanish settlers arrived in 1769; the first inhabitants of the area, including the Kumeyaay tribe, used it to access the beaches of San Diego Bay. It was improved and extended during the Spanish colonization of the region, reaching Old Town San Diego and Mission San Diego de Alcalá in Mission Valley by the 1770s. Cargo which had been unloaded by ship at Ballast Point in Old La Playa was transported along the trail several miles inland to Old Town…”

US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.
US Boundary Survey of 1850 shows the La Playa Trail along San Diego Bay and the San Diego River. (New San Diego is where downtown is today.) Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Have you read the classic of American Literature, Two Years Before the Mast? It’s one of my all-time favorite books. Richard Henry Dana Jr. wrote an account of a sailor’s life on the coast of California in the mid-1830s, and a good portion of his fascinating narrative describes San Diego.

La Playa (then a beach on Point Loma just inside San Diego Bay) is where merchant ship Pilgrim unloaded cattle hides that had been gathered by Dana and his shipmates up and down the California coast. When Dana rode on horseback from the hide houses on the beach to Old Town, or farther east to Mission San Diego, he followed the La Playa Trail!

La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.
La Playa Trail. Oldest commercial trail in western United States. Erected by San Diego Historical Society. 1938.

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!