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!

Star light on a beautiful morning.

A gentle winter morning on the Embarcadero.

The rising sun tinted clouds across San Diego Bay.

Lights strung on the beautiful tall ship Star of India were on, creating a magical scene…

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!

Cool photos of Star of India in dry dock!

Here’s something few people see!

The oldest active sailing ship in the world, Star of India, built in 1863 in Ramsey, Isle of Man, is presently resting inside a dry dock at San Diego’s BAE Systems shipyard!

I snapped a few photos during a harbor tour today!

I learned from a docent at the Maritime Museum of San Diego that the Star of India must periodically enter dry dock for a hull cleaning and inspection. After the cleaning removes algae and other material from the iron hull, the beautiful old merchant ship, stripped of excess weight, will float higher in the water!

I took these photos at a distance, but you can see the very unusual contrast: one of the world’s most famous tall ships, its masts soaring high above a huge dry dock, between modern Navy vessels!

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Redecking famous tall ship HMS Surprise.

Lumber is prepared on the main deck of HMS Surprise during the famous tall ship's re-decking project.
Lumber is prepared on the main deck of HMS Surprise during the famous tall ship’s redecking project.

During my Sunday visit to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, I noticed good progress has been made redecking HMS Surprise. While nobody was working on that project at the time, I was able to see some of the process that is required to put a beautiful, weather-resistant new deck on the amazing tall ship.

HMS Surprise was used in the filming of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe, one of the greatest epic films depicting the Age of Sail during the Napoleonic Wars. The ship is a replica of the 18th century Royal Navy frigate HMS Rose, and is just one of several world-famous ships and submarines you can step aboard at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

As you can see in my photo of a sign, the museum welcomes new members, volunteers, docents, donors, and even sail crew! I can tell you that being a member is cool beyond description. I never tire of visiting the museum’s historical exhibits and many beautiful vessels.

An innovative technique used on Star of India is being applied here. It involves multiple epoxy layers, fiberglass layers and planking.
An innovative decking technique that was successful on Star of India is also being used for HMS Surprise. It involves multiple epoxy layers, fiberglass layers and planking.
The main deck of HMS Surprise is full of lumber, saws and other woodworking tools!
The main deck of HMS Surprise is full of lumber, saws and other woodworking tools!
In this photo you can see how some of the layered decking work is done.
In this photo you can see how some of the layered decking work is done.
Another photo of the redecking in progress.
Another photo of the redecking in progress.
Some of the hand tools.
Some of the hand tools.
The finished decking on HMS Surprise's quarterdeck is very beautiful and should last many years.
The finished decking on HMS Surprise’s quarterdeck is very beautiful and should endure sun, weather and the feet of curious visitors for many years.
There's always more work to be done at the Maritime Museum of San Diego! Your help is welcomed!
Volunteers head out to the museum’s barge with some lumber. There’s always more work to be done at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Your help is appreciated!

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!

A quiet December morning on the Broadway Pier.

It's early December in San Diego. JOY has returned to the foot of Broadway Pier for the holiday season.
JOY has returned to the foot of Broadway Pier for the holiday season.

It’s early December and San Diego’s latest rainstorm has passed. This morning I walked out onto the Broadway Pier.

What did I see?

A United States Coast Guard buoy tender is docked at Broadway Pier.
A United States Coast Guard buoy tender is docked at Broadway Pier.
It appears a navigational buoy is being replaced in the bay, or the ocean off San Diego. A very unusual sight!
It appears a navigational buoy is being replaced in the bay, or perhaps in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego. A very unusual sight!
A reflection in a puddle of downtown high-rises.
A reflection in a silver puddle of downtown high-rises.
Looks like a food truck might be missing their menu board!
Looks like a food truck might be missing their menu board!
Early morning at the end of Broadway Pier. All is quiet.
A little after sunrise at the end of Broadway Pier. All is quiet.
Dew drops on the outdoor chairs and tables.
Dew drops on the outdoor chairs and tables.
Here comes the Coronado Ferry, passing the USS Midway Museum.
Here comes the Coronado Ferry, passing the USS Midway Museum. Not many passengers this early in the day.
A gull takes flight as I turn on the pier back toward Broadway. Time to catch the trolley for work.
A gull takes flight as I turn on the pier to head back toward Broadway. Time to catch the trolley for work.

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!

Oil paintings of the Embarcadero at night.

These aren’t actual oil paintings. They’re photographs that I took last night along the Embarcadero, made to look like impressionistic oil paintings with GIMP graphic software.

Can you recognize many of these beautiful nighttime sights on 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!

Scenes from Without Walls Festival 2019!

This afternoon I headed to Liberty Station in Point Loma to experience some of the La Jolla Playhouse’s annual WOW event!

The Without Walls Festival 2019 features all sorts of cool outdoor performances, many of which are free for the public to enjoy. It continues tomorrow!

The first production I watched, titled Tall Tales of the High Seas, was a very unique visual drama that seemed part circus act, part aerial dance. The athletic performers raised the flexible masts of a rotating Viking longship, then climbed skyward to dip, fly and swerve through the sky! One could sense a bit of a story unfolding as the ship seemed to become lost at sea and the actors hung limp from the crow’s nests without hope; then land is sighted and excitement takes hold!

After that, I walked around the grassy North Promenade of Liberty Station, tried to peer into the intimate little Theatre on the Move, and stood for a few minutes enjoying the Montalban Quintet at the Festival Stage.

Then, as I made my way toward the South Promenade, I paused to watch kids sail in colorful Boats about Legacy Plaza!

Finally, a production titled Peregrinus was ready to begin. The actors marched across the street in a very businesslike way, as you can see in my photos.

At first each individual actor showed a unique personality, but as they put on their corporate attire, ordinary people were transformed into conforming, business suited employees. They could select their own color of tie, but no more.

The actors bowed before their enormous masks, inserted their heads, rose up in a row, and suddenly each head was identically serious, grim, tired and sad. They filed about in a circular hurry, did the corporate dance, bowed to their boss, became jackasses when commanded to do so, engaged in power plays and subterfuge–you know, all that ridiculous, demeaning stuff that pains the heart when people shed their dignity in their desire for power, position or money.

The act was hilarious!

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!

Model ship builders restore family heirlooms!

Is there an old model ship in your attic? Perhaps a treasured family heirloom? Is it falling to pieces or in a terrible tangle? Would you like to restore it?

Today, during a visit to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, I learned of a group of dedicated model ship builders who are busy repairing and restoring old model ships!

The members of the San Diego Ship Modelers Guild love their hobby and hold regular meetings aboard the Maritime Museum ship Berkeley. I happened to be walking around the museum today before one of their evening meetings. I struck up a conversation with Guild Master James Pitt and was fascinated as he told me about various aspects of model ship building.

The San Diego Ship Modelers Guild, which was formed in 1971, has dozens of members hailing from all around Southern California and even Arizona. They have partnered with the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and guild members can often be seen working in the museum’s specially equipped Model Makers Workshop.

What interested me most was how the modeler’s guild has been repairing and restoring an increasing number of model ships of late. Many are family heirlooms passed down from previous generations, and are treasured for the memories and special meaning they embody.

If you have any sort of model ship that needs expert repair, check out the San Diego Ship Modelers Guild website by clicking here! Send them an email! I met a couple of the members and all were really nice guys!

I took some photos of a display for today’s meeting. You can see examples of model ships that have undergone restoration.

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 slightly unusual morning by the water.

A seagull hopes for a morning morsel while I eat breakfast outdoors on the Embarcadero, not far from the USS Midway.
A seagull hopes for a morning morsel while I eat breakfast outdoors on the Embarcadero, not far from the USS Midway.

This morning I walked along the Embarcadero, from Broadway Pier to Tuna Harbor.

My camera captured some of the usual beauty, plus a few unusual images!

Research vessel JOIDES Resolution (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling), a scientific drilling ship used by the International Ocean Discovery Program, docked in San Diego.
Research vessel JOIDES Resolution (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling), a scientific drilling ship used by the International Ocean Discovery Program, docked in San Diego.
Here come Cabrillo, the Coronado Ferry, across a very smooth San Diego Bay.
Here comes Cabrillo, the Coronado Ferry, across a very smooth San Diego Bay.
Someone exercises by the water on a beautiful early San Diego morning.
Someone exercises by the water on a beautiful early San Diego morning.
Some colorful lobster traps were stacked at the edge of the parking lot beside Tuna Harbor.
Some colorful lobster traps were stacked at the edge of the parking lot beside Tuna Harbor.
Strange reflections on the smooth water of Tuna Harbor.
Mysterious reflections on the still water of Tuna Harbor.
Trees and downtown buildings upside down on the water.
Trees and downtown buildings upside down on the water.
A worker casually stands on the plank above the water. An odd and mysterious image!
A worker casually stands on the plank above the water. A rather strange image!

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!

Raising a heavy yard on HMS Surprise.

During my Sunday walk along the Embarcadero today, I paused at the Maritime Museum of San Diego to watch some fascinating activity. Crew members and museum volunteers were carefully raising one of HMS Surprise’s very heavy mizzenmast yards. They hauled ropes, checked critical knots, hauled some more, swung the yard up and across the quarterdeck, then lifted it straight into the sky.

The strenuous, methodical work aboard a tall ship is a complex dance.

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!