Beautiful white sails on San Diego Bay.

Please enjoy these photos of beautiful sails out on San Diego Bay.

During my busy weekend I went on a harbor cruise aboard the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic Pilot boat. (Become a member of the museum and you get all sorts of complimentary tickets!)

I saw dozens of white-winged sailboats soaring across blue water.

It seemed like a dream.

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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!

Furling the sails of brigantine Exy Johnson.

Nimble members of the Exy Johnson crew furl the tall ship's sails after a cruise on San Diego Bay.
Nimble members of the Exy Johnson crew furl the tall ship’s sails after a cruise on San Diego Bay.

One final blog post concerning the 2017 Festival of Sail.

After spending most of Labor Day in Balboa Park, I finally walked down Laurel Street to San Diego Bay. I wanted to savor one last look at the visiting tall ships.

As I lingered near the Exy Johnson, crew members were climbing about the rigging, furling the many sails. It’s always a breathtaking sight: godlike sailors risen into the blue sky, the masters of white clouds…

Securely furling the brigantine's square topsails high on the foremast takes muscle, coordination and concentration.
Securely furling the brigantine’s square topsails high on the foremast takes strength, coordination and concentration.
Dangling high above the water!
Dangling high above the water!
Several of Exy Johnson's hardworking crew wrestle a jib sail onto the bowsprit.
Several of Exy Johnson’s hardworking crew wrestle a jib sail onto the bowsprit.
Carefully scrambling about the beautiful tall ship.
Carefully scrambling about the beautiful tall ship.
Teamwork is required as a staysail is neatly furled.
Teamwork is required as a staysail is neatly furled.
The final day at the Festival of Sail is almost over. The masts and yards of the docked brigantine appear bare.
The Festival of Sail approaches its end. The masts and yards of the docked brigantine now appear bare.
Sky-riding sailors, a common sight in the bygone Age of Sail.
Sky-riding sailors, a common sight in the bygone Age of Sail.

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!

Ships, water, light and magic.

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I finally got my act together. Late this afternoon I renewed my annual membership in the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Why?

Perhaps it’s that deep feeling of living inside history.

Perhaps it’s the light-splashed ships.

Perhaps it’s the water like molten silver and its dancing, inexpressible magic.

Perhaps it’s the sea, and my longing for a far horizon.

I can’t think of the right words.

So I’ll let my small camera speak its own language. I took these photos before sunset.

UPDATE! I substituted one of this post’s original photos with a new one taken a week later. Can you guess which one? The sky is a bit different, but it’s still the same time of day–perhaps an hour or less before sunset.

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 few photos around sunset at Marston Point.

This evening around sunset I took a short walk through Marston Point, which is located in the southwest corner of Balboa Park.

Trees were gradually darkening. Directly to the south, Cortez Hill–the part of downtown San Diego where I live–gleamed like a shining paradise in the sky.

To the west, buildings near the bay and on Bankers Hill were crowned with streaks of pale gold.

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!

Views of San Diego from a hike up Cowles Mountain.

Hikers descend from the summit of Cowles Mountain, which rises above San Diego's San Carlos neighborhood.
Hikers descend from the summit of Cowles Mountain, which rises above San Diego’s San Carlos neighborhood.

Please enjoy the following photos. They are from a hike that I took yesterday to the summit of Cowles Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park. Cowles Mountain, elevation 1,593 feet, is the highest peak in the city of San Diego. Because it’s located near so many urban residents, hundreds of hikers can be found on its trails on any given day.

Yesterday, around noon, I started from the trailhead at the Cowles Staging Area on Golfcrest Drive, and I slowly climbed the zigzagging trail to the summit. It’s a fairly steep ascent–one gains 950 feet in just 1.5 miles. Furthermore, yesterday the footing was more difficult than usual. A small stream was flowing down much of the muddy trail, due to the recent rain.

But the climb was definitely worth the effort!

The higher I ascended, the more fantastic the views became. At the top I could survey nearly all of San Diego and much of the surrounding region. From mountains to ocean, Mexico to North County and beyond–the spectacular views stretched in every direction!

Someone sits on the stone wall at the Cowles Staging Area. This is one of the most popular hiking trails in San Diego, and can be somewhat crowded on weekends.
Someone sits on the stone wall at the Cowles Staging Area. This is one of the most popular hiking trails in San Diego, and can be very crowded on weekends.
A bench at the staging area had this small plaque. We walked, we talked and we became friends. Thank you little Tommy Sablan.
A bench at the staging area had this small plaque. We walked, we talked and we became friends. Thank you little Tommy Sablan.
Sign at the trailhead explains Cowles Mountain was named after a prominent San Diego ranching pioneer. His ranches in the El Cajon valley were so successful he was named Raisin King of the US.
Sign at the trailhead explains Cowles Mountain was named after a prominent San Diego ranching pioneer. His two ranches in the El Cajon valley were so successful he was named Raisin King of the US.
Map shows trails to the summit of Cowles Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park, which is the largest municipal park in the state of California.
Map shows trails to the summit of Cowles Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park, which is the largest municipal park in the state of California.
Sign near the trailhead. On a busy trail, etiquette should be observed to preserve the natural beauty and enhance experience of other hikers.
Sign near the trailhead. On a busy trail, etiquette should be observed to preserve the natural beauty and enhance the experience of other hikers.
Starting up the 1.5 mile trail. The footing is stony in many places. This day it was also muddy due to recent rain.
Starting up the 1.5 mile trail. The footing is stony in many places. This day it was also muddy due to recent rain.
Pausing for a moment to look back down at the staging area.
Pausing for a moment to look back down at the staging area.
Another hiker, starting up toward the summit, appears to be prepared. A nearly 1000 foot climb is required. One should wear sturdy shoes and bring water. There is no shade.
Another hiker, starting up toward the summit, appears to be prepared. A nearly 1000 foot climb is entailed. One should wear sturdy shoes and bring water. There is no shade.
Looking westward as we ascend into a beautiful San Diego sky.
Looking westward as we ascend into a beautiful San Diego sky.
Looking to the south, one can see the Mission Trails Golf Course and Lake Murray.
Looking to the south, one can see the Mission Trails Golf Course and Lake Murray.
A group hikes up the trail.
A group hikes up the trail.
The top of Cowles Mountain is on the left. First we will climb up that rise on the right.
The top of Cowles Mountain is on the left. First we will climb up that rise on the right.
Rescues are often made on this trail due to its popularity. Many urban hikers aren't prepared for this fairly strenuous trek. I spotted a few emergency markers which are used to locate those in distress.
Rescues are often made on this trail due to its popularity. Many urban hikers aren’t prepared for this fairly strenuous trek. I spotted a few emergency markers which are used to locate people in distress.
Up, up we go! The climb is relentless, with only a few short level stretches.
Up, up we go! The climb is relentless, with only a few short level stretches.
As we climb higher on this clear day, it's possible to see farther into the distance. I can barely detect downtown San Diego at the horizon.
As we climb higher on this clear day, it’s possible to see farther into the distance. I can barely detect downtown San Diego at the horizon.
Many hikers had dogs, who enjoyed the hike, too. The scrubby vegetation and exposed boulders are common in the mountains and hills around San Diego.
Many hikers had dogs, who enjoyed the hike, too. The scrubby vegetation and exposed boulders are common in the mountains and hills around San Diego.
A better look at shining Lake Murray, a popular fishing destination.
A better look at shining Lake Murray, a popular fishing destination.
Rounding a corner, we can now see to the southeast. The nearer peak is Mt. Helix in La Mesa.
Rounding a corner, we can now see to the southeast. The nearer cone-like peak is Mt. Helix in La Mesa.
As we continue toward the summit, the Barker Way Trail leads off to the east.
As we continue toward the summit, the Barker Way Trail leads off to the east.
Looking again to the southwest, toward downtown San Diego.
Looking again to the southwest, toward downtown San Diego, very faint in the far distance.
A zoomed photo. Downtown skyscrapers rise beside San Diego Bay. The Point Loma peninsula can be seen, as well.
A zoomed photo. Downtown skyscrapers rise beside San Diego Bay. The Point Loma peninsula can be seen, as well.
The trails zig-zags among interesting rocky outcrops near the summit.
The trail zigzags among interesting rocky outcrops near the summit.
A far view from high above San Diego. Looking to the southeast, I see prominent San Miguel Mountain. My hike earlier in the day was a bit north of that mountain in East County.
A far view from high above San Diego. Looking to the southeast, I see prominent San Miguel Mountain. My hike earlier in the day (see the previous blog post) was a bit north of that mountain in East County.
Once we cross this rocky expanse, we will be at the summit of Cowles Mountain, highest point in the city of San Diego!
Once we cross this rocky expanse, we will be at the summit of Cowles Mountain, highest point in the city of San Diego!
Plaque at the summit. Cowles Mountain is the dominant feature of Mission Trails Regional Park. It was named to honor George A. Cowles, a pioneer leader of San Diego County in the 1870's.
Plaque at the summit. Cowles Mountain is the dominant feature of Mission Trails Regional Park. It was named to honor George A. Cowles, a pioneer leader of San Diego County in the 1870’s.
Sign shows sights from the south to the west, including distant Tijuana, Los Coronados Islands (which I could barely see), the Silver Strand, Point Loma, Mission Bay and Mount Soledad.
Sign shows sights from the south to the west, including distant Tijuana, Los Coronados Islands (which I could just barely see), the Silver Strand, Point Loma, Mission Bay and Mount Soledad.
A second sign shows mountains from the north to southeast, including Mt. Woodson, San Jacinto, Palomar Mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, the Laguna Mountains, Otay Mountain and San Miguel Mountain.
A second sign shows mountains from the north to southeast, including Mt. Woodson, distant San Jacinto, Palomar Mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, the Laguna Mountains, Otay Mountain and San Miguel Mountain.
To the north, antennas rise from Cowles Mountain into the sky. I could see the Pacific Ocean coastline stretching into the distance in the northwest.
To the north, antennas rise from Cowles Mountain into the sky. I could see the Pacific Ocean coastline stretching into the distance in the northwest.
Looking north beyond the antenna station. Highway 52 below descends from Mission Trails Pass east into Santee.
Looking north beyond the antenna station. Highway 52 below descends from Mission Trails Pass east into Santee.
Gazing northeast toward Santee and Lakeside and nearby mountains. At the very center is El Cajon Mountain.
Gazing northeast toward Santee and Lakeside and nearby mountains. At the very center is El Cajon Mountain.
Gazing to the west one can see Mount Soledad, and distant office buildings in University City (also called the Golden Triangle) and Sorrento Valley. The ocean is a thin blue thread.
Gazing to the west one can see Mount Soledad, and distant office buildings in University City (also called the Golden Triangle) and Sorrento Valley. The ocean is a thin blue line.
Sitting high in the sky, taking in amazing views.
Sitting high in the sky, taking in some amazing views.

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A rainbow and sunlight on St. Joseph Cathedral.

Early morning sunshine brightens the east side of St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego.
Early morning sunshine brightens the east side of St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego.

Yesterday morning, just before I walked down from the top of Cortez Hill, I saw an incredible sight.  My eyes discerned a very faint rainbow to the west–even though only a few wispy clouds were in the blue sky.

To my surprise, the rainbow arched downward to touch the gleaming cross atop St. Joseph Cathedral. Amazed by the sight, I walked along Beech Street to take photos of bright morning sunlight on the cathedral itself.

The rainbow is so faint in my zoomed, cropped photo that I must confess I changed the contrast and brightness a million different ways and debated whether it even merited a blog post. I’ve decided it does.

Cool San Diego Sights might be a tad philosophical at times, but it intentionally avoids supporting any particular religious (or political) view. Because a sense of wonder and a love for beauty are shared by many. And because there’s enough bitter debate in this old world.

Whatever one might believe, seeing the rainbow above the shining gold was something wonderful to behold.

Sunlight on the high cathedral tower.
Sunlight on the high cathedral tower.
A very faint rainbow ends at the golden cross atop St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego. Photo taken the morning of February 20, 2017 from Cortez Hill--the corner of Cedar Street and Seventh Avenue, to be exact.
A faint rainbow ends at the golden cross atop St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego. Photograph taken the morning of February 20, 2017 from Cortez Hill–the corner of Cedar Street and Seventh Avenue, to be exact.  Brightness and contrast were altered to bring out the rainbow.
A beautiful morning provides inspiration.
A beautiful morning and early sunlight provide inspiration.

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!

Amazing morning clouds above the El Cortez.

Amazing, brightly glowing clouds filled the sky this morning above San Diego's beautiful Cortez Hill neighborhood.
Amazing, brightly glowing clouds filled the sky this morning above San Diego’s beautiful Cortez Hill neighborhood.

The first thing I noticed upon stepping outside this morning was the amazing sky above Cortez Hill. The clouds were glowing and so beautiful and complex that I almost got a kink in my neck.

I took lots of photos as I walked. As it turns out, my most incredible images all seem to include the handsome El Cortez building–so the subject of this blog post became obvious!

A crescent moon is just visible to the left of the historic El Cortez sign.
A crescent moon is just visible to the left of the landmark El Cortez sign.
A street lamp is still on. Another fantastic morning in downtown San Diego for a pleasant walk.
A street lamp is still on. Another fantastic morning in downtown San Diego for a pleasant walk.
Amazing clouds paint the blue sky above the landmark El Cortez and other nearby, more modern high-rises!
Amazing clouds paint the blue sky above the historic El Cortez and other nearby, more modern high-rises!

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!