Star of India sail crew prepares for history!

The Star of India, built in 1863, the oldest active sailing ship in the world and oldest iron-hulled merchant ship afloat, will once again take to the Pacific Ocean in November!

History will be made as she embarks on her first sail in five years. The short voyage upon the ocean off Point Loma and up the coast will be guided by a new captain, and made possible with the heart, muscle and skill of volunteer crew members.

This afternoon the Star of India’s sail crew was high up in the rigging practicing. From the deck below I watched as they set sails, squared yards, and performed some of the acrobatics aloft that are necessary to perform their duty with coordinated precision.

As members of the sail crew rehearsed their ballet in the sky, others were meeting in the Star of India’s saloon, charting the historic ship’s voyage into the future. An exciting 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!

Fun photos of the Sea Chantey Festival!

Today I enjoyed an extraordinary event. I boarded the Star of India at the Maritime Museum of San Diego and experienced the annual Sea Chantey Festival!

Here come fun photos!

You’ll see two musical groups performing in these photographs: first Raggle Taggle, then Kick up the Dust. Others groups who had the audience clapping their hands and dancing on the ship’s deck were the Jackstraws, Gemini Junction, Sportive Tricks, and The Chanteymen.

I saw many people in costume. I found myself in the company of pirates and sea captains and ladies in Victorian dress. Members of the Maritime Museum’s sail crews hauled ropes and climbed the rigging while traditional sea chanteys were sung.

Everyone jumped when two cannon shots rang out across San Diego Bay. Heads turned. Like a vision from the past, the official tall ship of the State of California, Californian, which is also one of the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s beautiful vessels, sailed on past.

It was pure magic. Every moment.

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The beauty of coiled, knotted, magical ropes.

Late yesterday I sat for a spell on the poop deck of Star of India, gazing out across San Diego Bay. The cool sea breeze felt so refreshing after a day of summer heat. White sails traversing the sparkling water gave my eyes a welcome rest.

As my attention shifted, I became aware of the tall ship’s ropes that rose in a web all around me. Many were fastened to a row of wooden belaying pins along the ship’s rail.

Those beautiful ropes seemed like magic. Silent and unbreakable, coiled and knotted–twisted, mysterious, purposeful. Threading together a small wind-tossed world.

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!

SpaceX rocket rises above world’s oldest active ship!

A barely visible SpaceX rocket Falcon 9 rises above Star of India, the world's oldest active sailing ship!
A barely visible SpaceX rocket Falcon 9 rises above Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship!

My plan this cold, partly cloudy morning was to head down to San Diego’s Embarcadero to hopefully photograph today’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch.

I did manage to catch an image of the rocket’s flight, but it’s so tiny you can barely make it out! I suppose I should get a fancier, more powerful camera. Can you see the faint white streak in the above photo?

The Falcon 9 launch was from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara, about 280 miles from San Diego. To my naked eye, for a few seconds, I could see the minuscule rocket soar into the sky, through the rigging of the world’s oldest active sailing ship, Star of India!

Star of India, originally named Euterpe, is an iron-hulled merchant ship that was built in 1863. Driven by capricious winds, the tall ship circumnavigated the globe 21 times during her storied history.

Falcon 9 is a technologically impressive space launch vehicle. During today’s mission a reused Falcon 9 lifted Spain’s advanced radar satellite Paz into a Sun-synchronous orbit of Earth.

As the satellite effortlessly orbits our planet, it will track ships that ply the ocean–ships that trace their own proud history back to the Age of Sail, when brave vessels like Star of India pushed forward to new horizons.

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!

Evening photos of Stad Amsterdam in San Diego.

Evening photo of the beautiful tall ship Stad Amsterdam docked on San Diego's Embarcadero.
Evening photo of the beautiful tall ship Stad Amsterdam docked on San Diego’s Embarcadero.

An incredibly beautiful tall ship is now visiting San Diego. The Stad Amsterdam, an enormous three-masted clipper ship modelled after the 19th century frigate Amsterdam, is docked at the Embarcadero just north of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Talking briefly to a crew member, I learned the Stad Amsterdam is operating as a luxury Dutch cruise ship. It recently cruised north along the coast of Mexico after passing through the Panama Canal.

The Stad Amsterdam arrived in San Diego yesterday and will be visiting our fair city for the next eight days.

I stumbled upon the amazing tall ship this evening as I walked across Harbor Drive from Waterfront Park. Fortunately there was still enough light to take a few photos. I’ll probably swing by again this weekend to enjoy another look at the ship in broad daylight!

One interesting thing I discovered while doing a bit of research. In 2009 the Stad Amsterdam was used to reenact the second voyage of HMS Beagle, made famous by Charles Darwin. The survey expedition to South America was aired on Dutch television.

Photo of stern of Stad Amsterdam as the sun is setting behind a bank of clouds. The sails of Star of India, pride of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, can be seen in the distance.
Photo of stern of Stad Amsterdam as the sun is setting behind a bank of clouds. The sails of Star of India, pride of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, can be seen in the distance.
A sailboat cruises on gleaming San Diego Bay past the figurehead of Stad Amsterdam.
A sailboat turns on gleaming San Diego Bay past the figurehead of Stad Amsterdam.
The last rays of sunlight illuminate the furled sails of the amazing tall ship Stad Amsterdam.
The last rays of sunlight illuminate the furled sails of the amazing tall ship Stad Amsterdam.

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 of India’s magical holiday lights at night.

Star of India is lit brightly at night for the holidays in San Diego.
Star of India is lit brightly at night for the holiday season.

San Diego’s beautiful, historic tall ship Star of India is decorated for the holidays with hundreds of magical lights. They were strung along masts, yards and rigging a couple weekends ago.

Tonight I visited the Maritime Museum of San Diego and walked around their many amazing ships after nightfall. As I stood atop the museum’s Soviet B-39 submarine, I photographed Star of India’s holiday lights reflecting on the bay.

Photo of Maritime Museum of San Diego's famous Star of India, with magical holiday lights strung along masts, yards and rigging.
Photo of Maritime Museum of San Diego’s famous Star of India, with magical holiday lights strung along masts, yards and rigging.
The reflection of downtown windows and Star of India's holiday lights creates a fantastic sight after nightfall on San Diego Bay.
The reflection of downtown windows and Star of India’s holiday lights creates a fantastic sight after nightfall on San Diego Bay.

Here are some more photos taken on a later night…

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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!

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 dramatic sunset from Star of India.

This evening I enjoyed watching the sun set as I rested for a few minutes on the always amazing Star of India. The brilliant sunset behind slanting ropes made for a few dramatic photographs.

San Diego’s beloved, famous tall ship is surrounded by such beauty.

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!