Beautiful tall ships visit San Diego for Festival of Sail!

Masts of a few visiting tall ships during 2015 Festival of Sail, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Masts of a few visiting tall ships during 2015 Festival of Sail, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

The 2015 Festival of Sail is underway! The cool event runs through Labor Day and takes place on the Embarcadero at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. This morning I got some photos!

The popular festival, which is held every year in late summer, features a large gathering of beautiful tall ships. A few belong to the museum; others are visiting San Diego for this very special occasion.

Last year I wrote several detailed blogs and covered many of the tall ships which I saw again today. So this year I figured I’d just mosey from ship to ship, taking random photos, not worrying too much about jotting down gobs of information. Here’s the result…

The brig Pilgrim, approximate replica of the historic ship Richard Henry Dana sailed in, is visiting San Diego again for the annual nautical festival.
The brig Pilgrim, approximate replica of the historic ship Richard Henry Dana sailed in, is visiting San Diego again for the annual tall ship festival.
Visitors enjoy touring the deck of the Pilgrim on Sunday morning. It's another sunny summer day on blue San Diego Bay!
Visitors enjoy touring the deck of the Pilgrim on Sunday morning. It’s another sunny summer day on blue San Diego Bay!
Ship's navigation light and galley. Signs on the Pilgrim describe life on the sea a couple centuries ago, when Two Years Before the Mast was written by Dana.
Ship’s navigation light and galley. Signs on the Pilgrim describe life on the sea a couple centuries ago, when Two Years Before the Mast was written by Dana.
Kayaks on the smooth water cruise past a collection of very cool tall ships.
Kayaks on the smooth water cruise past a collection of very cool tall ships.
Plaque on tall ship American Pride indicates that down below is the Captain's Quarters.
Plaque on tall ship American Pride indicates that down below is the Captain’s Quarters.
Close look at wooden steering wheel of the beautiful tall ship American Pride.
Close look at wooden steering wheel of the American Pride.
Volunteer crew members of American Pride assembled on deck as their fine ship visits San Diego.
Volunteer crew members of American Pride assembled on deck as their fine ship visits San Diego.
Lion's head decorates spar projecting from hull of topsail schooner Amazing Grace.
Lion’s head decorates spar projecting from hull of topsail schooner Amazing Grace.
Visitor at 2015 Festival of Sail in San Diego looks down into the cabin of Amazing Grace.
A visitor at 2015 Festival of Sail in San Diego looks down into the cabin of Amazing Grace.
A second floating dock and even more cool tall ships can be seen beyond Amazing Grace.
A second floating dock and even more cool tall ships can be seen beyond Amazing Grace.
Curious eyes peer below the deck of Bill of Rights, perhaps wondering what it would be like to live in very close quarters while at sea.
Curious eyes peer below deck of the Bill of Rights, perhaps wondering what it would be like to live in very close quarters while at sea.
Bill of Rights tall ship crew members were dressed in seafaring costumes. This pirate had a collection of pistols and a small cannon on display.
Bill of Rights tall ship crew members were dressed in seafaring garb. This pirate had a collection of pistols and a small cannon on display.
Star motif on a block used by a single rope in the complicated rigging. Masts of another nearby tall ship rise in the background.
Star motif on a block used by a single rope in some complicated rigging. Masts of another nearby tall ship rise in the background.
To step off the Bill of Rights one must walk the plank!
To step off the Bill of Rights one must walk the plank!
Stern of Bill of Rights seen from rear deck of the brigantine Irving Johnson.
Stern of Bill of Rights seen from rear deck of the brigantine Irving Johnson.
Photo of ship's cabin containing shelves of books, a globe and navigational charts.
Photo of ship’s cabin containing shelves of books, a globe and navigational charts.
Friendly crew member on the Exy Johnson was playing familiar seagoing tunes on an accordion.
Friendly crew member on the Exy Johnson was playing familiar seagoing tunes on a concertina.
It appears this ladder has seen a great deal of usage and weather.
It appears this ladder has seen a great deal of usage and weather.
Festival of Sail visitors check out many cool sights! I see someone climbing the Irving Johnson's shrouds!
Festival of Sail visitors check out many cool sights! I see someone climbing one of the Irving Johnson’s shrouds!
Watch out! This wild-eyed pirate has two wicked swords! Run for it!
Watch out! This wild-eyed pirate has two wicked swords! Run for it!
Looking at ships docked behind the Maritime Museum's historic Steam Ferry Berkeley. I see masts of the San Salvador, Californian and America.
Looking at more ships docked behind the Maritime Museum’s historic Steam Ferry Berkeley. I see masts of the San Salvador, Californian and America.
American flag in deep blue sky curls in the pleasant sea breeze.
American flag in deep blue sky curls in the pleasant sea breeze.
I saw various folks in period costumes. This lady had a nice smile!
I saw various folks in period costumes. This lady had a nice smile!
Another photo of the ships behind the Berkeley. The red star is on the museum's B-39 Soviet diesel submarine which operated during the Cold War.
Another photo of the ships behind the Berkeley. The red star is on the museum’s B-39 Soviet diesel submarine which operated during the Cold War.
A land battery took part during the festival's cannon battles. A beautiful tall ship heads across the bay.
A land battery took part during the festival’s cannon battles. A beautiful tall ship heads across the bay.
View of historic bark Star of India from deck of HMS Surprise.
View of historic bark Star of India from deck of HMS Surprise.
Someone checks out the high masts of HMS Surprise, the ship used in the filming of Master and Commander starring Russell Crowe.
Someone checks out the high masts of HMS Surprise, the ship used in the filming of Master and Commander starring Russell Crowe.
Written on the ship's bell is HMS Rose, the original name of the Surprise.
Written on the ship’s bell is HMS Rose, the original name of the Surprise.
Two members of the Royal Guard enjoy a drink and snack on San Diego's Embarcadero during the Festival of Sail. They must be shore leave.
Two members of the Royal Guard enjoy a drink and snack on San Diego’s Embarcadero during the Festival of Sail. They must be on shore leave.
White sails, wooden ships, blue sky and living visions of maritime history.
White sails, wooden ships, blue sky and living visions of a rich maritime history.
Kids on deck of Star of India watch a cannon battle on San Diego Bay.
Kids on deck of Star of India watch a cannon battle on San Diego Bay.

A special thank you to everyone following Cool San Diego Sights. You all are the greatest! I just wanted to say that.

Where will we go next? I don’t know! Life is an adventure!

White whale glimpsed from deck of world’s oldest sailing ship.

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts begins the Moby Dick Marathon Reading on the poop deck of the Star of India.
San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts begins the Moby Dick Marathon Reading on the poop deck of the Star of India.

The Star of India is the world’s oldest ship that sails. It’s docked in San Diego Bay. Yesterday, from the barque’s 150 year old deck, a rare white whale was glimpsed like a snowy hill in the air, far, far away. The whale was just visible, a dim revelation, at the edge of human sight.

Mysterious and sublime, the elusive Moby Dick was seen by a fortunate few in the imagination’s eye, as readers took turns speaking words on pages that were written over a century ago by the great American author Herman Melville.

The wonderful Moby Dick Marathon Reading commenced at noon, and continued far into the dark night. The event was put on by the Maritime Museum of San Diego and Write Out Loud. I swung on by a few times, breathed in the mood, the salt air. I love the novel. It might be my favorite. I love the idea of reading atop the swelling sea, about a bright phantom moving darkly below, down in the unfathomable depths.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego and Write Out Loud created a cool event that hopefully becomes a yearly tradition.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego and Write Out Loud created a cool event that hopefully becomes a yearly tradition.
Diagram of Bark Star of India, launched as Euterpe on November 14, 1863 at Ramsey, Isle of Man. The world's oldest active sailing ship and oldest merchantman afloat.
Diagram of Bark Star of India, launched as Euterpe on November 14, 1863 at Ramsey, Isle of Man. The world’s oldest active sailing ship and oldest merchantman afloat.
An ageless volume of classic literature, published in 1851, shortly before the construction of this ship, was shared by many readers, many voices.
An ageless volume of classic literature, published in 1851, shortly before the construction of this ship, was brought to life by many readers.
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail...
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail…
Listeners follow Melville's words with their own beloved books, or gaze out at the water on a fine summer day on San Diego's Embarcadero.
Listeners follow Melville’s words with their own beloved books, or gaze out at the water on a fine summer day on San Diego’s Embarcadero.
Kids walk up onto Star of India's high poop deck. Perhaps the eyes of youth, probing the horizon, can discern the strange wonder of Moby Dick.
Kids walk up onto Star of India’s high poop deck. Perhaps the eyes of youth, probing the horizon, can discern the strange wonder of Moby Dick.
Or age with its wisdom, staring into thin pages, might glimpse the white whale.
Or age with its collected wisdom, staring into thin pages, might glimpse the white whale.
White sails, yards, shrouds, ropes and blue sky.
White sails, yards, shrouds, ropes and open blue sky.
Illustration on plaque found on main deck, showing a Pull on the Lee ForeBraces. The sails must be kept to the wind.
Illustration on plaque found on main deck, showing a Pull on the Lee ForeBraces. The sails must be kept to the wind.
Passionate reader turns the pages of Moby Dick. Melville describes many large cetaceans in the oceans of the world, but only one great white whale, nemesis of Captain Ahab.
Passionate reader turns the pages of Moby Dick. Melville describes many large cetaceans in the oceans of the world, but only one great white whale, nemesis of Captain Ahab.
Painting of Star of India under sail by marine artist Frederick Wetzel. The historic three-masted bark is shown clearing Point Loma during a festive event back in 1984.
Painting of Star of India under sail by marine artist Frederick Wetzel. The historic three-masted bark is shown clearing Point Loma during a festive event back in 1984.
Steering wheel and binnacle, instruments of navigation used by generations of restless, active seafaring men.
Steering wheel and binnacle, instruments of navigation used by generations of restless, active seafaring men.
The stern of our beautiful Star of India. A large American flag billows in the sea breeze.
The stern of our beautiful Star of India. A gigantic American flag billows in the sea breeze.
A reader awaits his turn. Ishmael recalls his strange voyage side by side with varied characters, representatives of the human race. Including a humane cannibal and a tyrannical captain.
A reader awaits his turn. Ishmael recalls his strange voyage side by side with varied characters, representatives of the human race, including a humane cannibal and a tyrannical captain.
The sun's horizontal rays turn gold as day nears an end.
The sun’s horizontal rays splash sails with gold as another day nears an end.
Ahab addresses Starbuck and crew: ...it was Moby Dick that dismasted me...I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn..and round perdition’s flames before I give him up...
Ahab addresses Starbuck and crew: …it was Moby Dick that dismasted me…I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn..and round perdition’s flames before I give him up…
Vengeance on a dumb brute! cried Starbuck, that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous...
Vengeance on a dumb brute! cried Starbuck, that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous…
Photo taken from wooden bench, over a skylight which provides filtered daylight for the ship's elegant cabin below.
Photo taken from wooden bench, over a skylight which provides filtered daylight for the ship’s elegant saloon below.
Reading on into the twilight. Once begun, the great novel drives onward, pulling readers into its tragic quest for an unpredictable, dangerous unknown.
Reading on into the twilight. Once begun, the great novel drives forward, pulling readers into its tragic quest for an unpredictable, dangerous unknown.
Shadow moves across the deep.
Shadow moves across the deep.
As the sun sets, by sheer chance it seems, Chapter 37 of Moby Dick is read, which is titled Sunset.
As the sun sets, by sheer chance it seems, Chapter 37 of Moby Dick is begun, titled Sunset.
Light shines from behind the figurehead of the beautiful Star of India, a favorite attraction on San Diego Bay.
Light shines from behind the figurehead of the beautiful Star of India, a favorite attraction on San Diego Bay.
Is that lone bird an albatross flown from Melville's great novel. No, just a gull in the dying light.
Is that lone bird an albatross flown from Melville’s great novel? No, just a common gull in the dying light.
The sky through ship's rigging is tinged orange, red, purple and gold.
The sky through ship’s rigging is tinged orange, red, purple and gold.
Night comes on. Melville has already referenced the blackness of darkness. He now speaks about the whiteness of the whale, and the majestic, pure, terrifying color white.
Night comes on. Melville has already referenced the blackness of darkness. He now speaks about the whiteness of the whale, and the majestic, pure, terrifying color white.
It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me.
It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me.
Before inevitable night falls and stars emerge, glowing color paints the world.
Before inevitable night falls and stars emerge, glowing color paints the world.
Masts of tall ship Californian, of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and a brilliant sunset. Unlike a fictional whale, these beautiful things are quite easily seen.
Masts of tall ship Californian, of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and a brilliant sunset. Unlike a fictional whale, these profoundly beautiful things are quite easily seen.

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A fiery sunset behind glorious tall ships.

Fiery sunset in late February behind figurehead of Star of India.
Fiery sunset in late February behind figurehead of Star of India.

I was fortunate to capture some wonderful photographs this evening. I was walking along the beautiful Embarcadero near the Maritime Museum of San Diego as the sun set. Sky and clouds turned for a moment into flame.

Puffy clouds emblazoned by setting sun, and the rigging of glorious tall ships.
Puffy clouds emblazoned by setting sun, and the rigging of glorious tall ships.
Maritime Museum of San Diego's B-39 Soviet submarine is dark under tinted sky.
Maritime Museum of San Diego’s B-39 Soviet submarine is dark under tinted sky.
HMS Surprise and steam ferryboat Berkeley at nightfall on the Embarcadero.
HMS Surprise and steam ferryboat Berkeley at nightfall on the Embarcadero.
Students hauling a rope learn about sailing and seamanship on Star of India.
Students hauling a rope learn about sailing and seamanship on Star of India.
Moon behind a mast and yards of San Diego's historic 1863 bark Star of India.
Moon behind a mast and yards of San Diego’s historic 1863 bark Star of India.
Looking eastward as day ends. Amazing glowing color above downtown buildings.
Turning eastward as day ends. Amazing glowing color above downtown buildings.
Museum visitors seem to cross into a romantic, windswept dream.
Museum visitors seem to cross into a romantic, windswept dream.

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Pics of big Tony Gwynn flag on San Diego Bay.

Big Tony Gwynn flag flies above tall ship America at Maritime Museum.
The big Tony Gwynn flag flies above tall ship America at Maritime Museum.

Both before and after work today, I strolled over to the Embarcadero to take a few pics of the big, 50 foot Tony Gwynn flag. It’s been flying for a couple days from the mast of America, a tall ship owned by Next Level Sailing. America is a replica of the yacht that won the original America’s Cup.

The flag in the late afternoon was fluttering in the sea breeze and glowing brightly in the San Diego sunlight. It seemed a perfect symbol of Tony Gwynn himself. The great, always smiling Padres hitter was not only a superstar, but was like sunshine on a perfect day.

I took the first photo in the early morning, and the others in the late afternoon.

Flag is flown in memory of deceased Tony Gwynn, number 19.
Flag is flown in memory of deceased Tony Gwynn, number 19.
Tony Gwynn flag on San Diego Bay seen between Star of India masts.
Tony Gwynn flag on San Diego Bay seen between Star of India masts.
Star of India figurehead faces 19, uniform number of Tony Gwynn.
Star of India figurehead faces 19, uniform number of Tony Gwynn.

During my walk along the Embarcadero on June 29, I happened to notice a big Tony Gwynn Padres jersey hanging from the roof of the County Administration Building!

Tony Gwynn jersey on County Administration Building.
Tony Gwynn jersey on County Administration Building.

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Working high in the rigging of Star of India.

Clinging to the end of Star of India's bowsprit.
Clinging to the end of Star of India’s bowsprit.

Dedicated members of San Diego’s Maritime Museum were hard at work yesterday, working in the Star of India’s rigging like busy spiders on a web.

The rigging of the historic three-masted bark is undergoing an overhaul, a project that is expected to take a full year. That’s according to the person selling tickets. The large yards of the foremast have already been removed and are lying on the sidewalk awaiting inspection and a new coat of paint. I was told the ship’s trees (platforms on the masts) are infested with termites. They’ll have to be repaired. To maintain the 150 year old Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship in the world, requires a lot of work!

People tangled in picturesque ship's rigging.
People tangled in picturesque ship’s rigging.
Like highwire artists on the slender ropes.
Like highwire artists on the slender ropes.
Looks like a lot of hard work.
Looks like a lot of hard work.
Yards from foremast wait on sidewalk to be painted.
Yards from foremast wait on sidewalk to be painted.
Maritime Museum members at work on Star of India.
Maritime Museum members at work on Star of India.
High up in the blue San Diego sky.
High up in the blue San Diego sky.

I got a quick photo of a San Diego Maritime Museum volunteer working on the yards on an early July morning!

Volunteer works on Star of India's yards.
Volunteer works on Star of India’s yards.

Here come several more pics taken in October. The top third of the foremast has been removed!

Top portion of foremast has been removed in October of 2014.
Top portion of Star of India foremast has been removed in October of 2014.
San Diego Maritime Museum volunteers work high up on the historic Star of India.
Maritime Museum of San Diego workers high up on the foremast of the historic Star of India.
On the shrouds, in a tangle of ropes between masts.
On a shroud, in a tangle of ropes and cables between masts.

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San Diego’s Embarcadero made more beautiful.

Trees ready for planting in new park on Embarcadero.
Trees ready for planting in new park on Embarcadero.

Major improvements to the North Embarcadero are well underway, and I was able to get some interesting pics yesterday!

Harbor Drive is undergoing a facelift from the Coast Guard Station down to the USS Midway Museum. This area is considered San Diego’s front doorstep, but until this renovation it’s been more parking lot than park.

Many large-scale changes are going to make San Diego even more beautiful! The two ugly parking lots on either side of the County Administration Building are being transformed into grassy waterfront parks; Harbor Drive is being made more pedestrian friendly with pavilions, flower beds and new restrooms; most of the traffic on Harbor Drive will now be diverted onto Pacific Highway.

I’m really looking forward to the project’s completion!

Workers prepare public park near Star of India.
Workers prepare public park near Star of India.
County Administration Building will have grass parks on either side.
County Administration Building will have grass parks on either side.
Working on a new pavilion on San Diego's front doorstep.
Working on a new pavilion on San Diego’s front doorstep.
New pavilion being built behind the Bay Cafe.
New pavilion being built behind the Bay Cafe.
Sign near Broadway Pier describes Embarcadero improvements.
Sign near Broadway Pier describes Embarcadero improvements.
Anchor on Harbor Drive near USS Midway Museum.
Anchor on Harbor Drive near USS Midway Museum.

Here are two pics I took on 5/24/14…

New waterfront pavilion under construction.
New waterfront pavilion under construction.
Building made of words to be part of new Embarcadero.
Building made of words to be part of new Embarcadero.

And two more pics from 9/20/14…

Pavilion near Broadway will complete part of North Embarcadero Visionary Plan.
Pavilion near Broadway will complete part of North Embarcadero Visionary Plan.
The word SKY allows light to shine in from the sky!
The word SKY allows light to shine in from the sky!

UPDATE!

I took the following pictures on November 9, 2014. The improvements around the Broadway Pier appear to be nearly finished!

New pavilion near Broadway Pier is almost finished in early November 2014.
New pavilion near Broadway Pier is almost finished in early November 2014.
Colorful glass, shiny surfaces and word-shaped skylights are a delight!
Colorful glass, shiny surfaces and word-shaped skylights are a delight!
Worker putting final touches on a booth to be used by harbor cruise company.
Worker putting final touches on a ticket booth to be used by harbor cruise company.
Word shining from roof of pavilion spells JOY.
Word shining from roof of pavilion spells JOY.
Restroom walls are formed of crazy letters spelling various words.
Restroom walls are formed of crazy letters spelling various words.
A new hotel is rising across Harbor Drive, at site of old Lane Field, north of Broadway.
A new hotel is rising across Harbor Drive, at site of old Lane Field, north of Broadway.

World’s oldest active sailing ship ready to go!

ready to board the star of india for yearly sail

Today a 150 year old tall ship was spotted sailing in the wide Pacific Ocean off Point Loma, just beyond the historic lighthouse! Was it a ghost from the past?  How is it possible?

It’s possible because San Diego’s own Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship in the world, departed from the dock today for its yearly sail!

I thought about buying a ticket for the historic event, but unfortunately I’m feeling a bit under the weather. This morning I did manage to amble down to the Embarcadero to watch and take some photos of the colorful preparations that are required for the beautiful ship to get underway.

In the first pic, you can see Maritime Museum members and some passengers gathered, getting ready to board or lend a hand.

star of india gets ready to sail

The guy hanging from some ropes just finished decoupling electrical and other lines from the black wrought iron hull of the docked ship.

climbing into the rigging of the star of india

Volunteers carefully climb up into the rigging to get everything ready for the sail!

volunteers work at end of yard arm

Some hardy folks were already up on the yard arms working at the rigging. Once the Star of India is pulled out of San Diego Bay, the sails are unfurled and the tall ship is completely free to run before the wind!

volunteer disengages ramp

After a bit of work, the ramp was finally disengaged from the ship and pulled backward onto the sidewalk.

volunteers prepare to release star of india rope

One by one the ropes holding the Star of India to the Embarcadero were cast off.

tugboat ready to pull star of india to sea

Here’s one of the two tugboats, ready to tow San Diego’s pride and joy out of the harbor. The classic figurehead of the Star will soon be facing the open sea!

star of india pulls away from the dock

Pulling away from the dock… A pair of museum volunteers look on wistfully…

star of india is tugged out of san diego harbor

The lady heads out into the bay’s deep channel… Aircraft hangars at Naval Air Station North Island can be seen on the left. Point Loma stretches in the background.

Definitely very cool!