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!

Learn about Maritime Month in San Diego.

A water taxi comes in from Coronado. That huge yellow Dole Atlantic ship is loading containers at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.
The massive yellow Dole Atlantic cargo ship loads containers at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

May is Maritime Month. In past years, the Port of San Diego has offered public tours of important maritime facilities in San Diego Bay. By observing the massive scale of port operations firsthand, anyone can fully appreciate the waterfront’s economic importance to San Diego and the surrounding region.

Three years ago I went on one such harbor tour. It was narrated by knowledgeable representatives of the Port of San Diego. We got a close look at several large facilities, including the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, probably best known as the place where Dole delivers 3.9 billion bananas each year. We also saw the enormous National City Marine Terminal, where thousands upon thousands of imported cars arrive from Asia.

If you want to learn more about that amazing tour, and see photos of other facilities in San Diego Bay such as our three major shipyards, you can visit my old blog post by clicking here.

Unfortunately, this year is very different. There’s the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Most public events, including any tours that were planned by the Port of San Diego, have been cancelled in the interest of everyone’s safety.

But there’s still an opportunity for the curious to learn all about the Port of San Diego. They are celebrating Maritime Month online. They explain: “This year, we pay special tribute to the men and women of our Working Waterfront who continue to work hard to ensure the safe and timely delivery of essential goods, providing crucial services in these difficult times.”

By visiting the Port of San Diego’s special Maritime Month web page, which is here, you can: “Meet our dedicated maritime industry employees…Explore our terminals…Become familiar with our specialty cargo and trade…Learn how goods move globally through the supply chain…Read about our environmental initiatives…Plus more!”

Curious? Check out that special web page here!

Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
New vehicles parked at the National City Marine Terminal. They arrive on enormous roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, which are often seen moving through 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!

A trip to Coronado during the pandemic.

People sit on the grass at the Coronado Ferry Landing looking across San Diego Bay during the coronavirus pandemic.
People sit on the grass at the Coronado Ferry Landing looking across San Diego Bay during the coronavirus pandemic.

Today I went on a little mini-vacation. I walked from Cortez Hill where I live in downtown San Diego to Broadway Pier, boarded the Coronado Ferry and headed across the bay to one of my favorite places!

Today’s “trip” to Coronado was a bit different than usual, however. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic necessitated social distancing and frequent use of my face mask.

A crew member of the Silvergate ferry told me their ridership has begun to increase significantly now that San Diego has entered Phase 1 of the Reopening. Several weeks ago the ferry would carry perhaps 20 passengers for an entire day. Now there are easily 20 riders per trip.

As I walked through Coronado I saw people with and without face coverings, in groups, individually, in parks, on sidewalks. But most seemed to be conducting themselves in a considerate and measured way.

It appeared people were indeed very eager to be outside again after over a month of remaining mostly indoors. It was sunny and felt like summer. Restaurants were offering takeout service along the sidewalk. But many touristy shops were still closed.

Come along and read the photo captions…

More people sit near the small beach at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
Small groups sit spread out on the grass near the beach at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
This beach is usually much more active when there's no health crisis. A sometimes deadly, highly infectious novel coronavirus calls for social distancing.
This beach is usually much more active when there’s no health crisis. A sometimes deadly, highly infectious novel coronavirus calls for social distancing.
Fishing out on the blue water of San Diego Bay.
Fishing out on the blue water of San Diego Bay.
A few small groups were enjoying a Sunday early afternoon in Spreckels Park.
A few small groups were enjoying a Sunday early afternoon in Spreckels Park.
Bicycling has always been popular in Coronado, with tourists and locals alike. This street art depicts a fun bike.
Bicycling has always been popular in Coronado, with tourists and locals alike. This street art depicts a fun bike.
Something caught the attention of walkers in Rotary Park.
Something caught the attention of walkers in Rotary Park.
The COVID-19 crisis might prove fatal to the Lamb's Players Theatre. It's the most challenging time in their 49 year history. Perhaps send them a donation!
The COVID-19 crisis might prove fatal to the Lamb’s Players Theatre. It’s the most challenging time in their 49 year history. Perhaps send them a donation!
I spotted a UFO! It's the rather unique car of the Unarius Academy of Science, based in El Cajon. I once blogged about their spacey mural, if you recall.
I spotted a UFO! It’s the rather unique car of the Unarius Academy of Science. I once blogged about their spacey mural in El Cajon, if you recall.
Bicyclist heads down the street, with the Hotel del Coronado in the background.
Bicyclist rides along the street, with the grand, one-of-a-kind Hotel del Coronado in the background.
A couple heads down steps to the beach past signs concerning the latest coronavirus rules and regulations.
A couple heads down steps to the beach past signs concerning Coronado’s coronavirus rules and regulations.
People walk along beautiful Coronado Beach. The immense Disney Wonder cruise ship is parked in the ocean off San Diego waiting for the health crisis to end.
People walk along beautiful Coronado Beach. The immense Disney Wonder cruise ship is parked in the ocean off San Diego waiting for the health crisis to end.
If the Hotel del Coronado looks a bit different in this photo, that's because it's undergoing a big renovation during the pandemic.
If the Hotel del Coronado looks a bit different in this photo, that’s because it’s undergoing a big renovation during the pandemic.
Sign states that for the first time in 132 years, Hotel del Coronado has temporarily suspended operations.
Sign states that for the first time in 132 years, Hotel del Coronado has temporarily suspended operations.
Another look at large scale renovation underway at the world-famous Victorian beach resort.
Another look at major renovation underway at the world-famous Victorian beach resort.
As I walk back east along Orange Avenue, I pass the Coronado mural. I noticed it's printed on panels, not painted.
As I walked back east along Orange Avenue, I passed the Coronado mural. I noticed it’s printed on panels, not painted.
The marquee at the Village Theater indicates It's Intermission Time!
The marquee at the Village Theater indicates It’s Intermission Time!
One banner on the Orange Avenue median near Spreckels Park says Coronado We Stay Home Together. Support Our First Responders.
One banner on the Orange Avenue median near Spreckels Park reads: Coronado We Stay Home Together. Support Our First Responders.
The Coronado ferry will depart for downtown San Diego shortly. I stayed at a distance from the group ahead of me. They were told to don masks before boarding the ferry.
The Coronado ferry will depart for downtown San Diego shortly. I stayed at a distance from the group ahead of me. They were told to don masks before boarding the ferry.
The captain of the Silvergate poses for a photograph wearing his face mask. Thank you for taking us under the horns of the USS Midway and past a sea lion on a buoy!
The captain of the Silvergate poses for a photograph wearing his face mask. Stay safe!

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!

Healthy air on the water.

Today I enjoyed a long walk from downtown San Diego to Liberty Station then back again. It felt so good to be near the water that I even took a short detour to visit Harbor Island.

Given the current coronavirus pandemic, I noticed an unusual number of people out on San Diego Bay, on paddle boards, in kayaks, breathing in the healthy fresh air. There’s a new local regulation that recently went into effect during the COVID-19 crisis. People are now allowed to recreate on the water. And those engaged in safe social distancing aren’t required to wear face coverings. They can fully enjoy San Diego’s watery paradise.

As I arrived at Liberty Station, I noticed many stand up paddleboarders embarking on a journey from the boat channel. They headed under the Nimitz and Harbor Drive bridges and into the sunlit marina behind Harbor Island.

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!