Photos inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise.

The stern of HMS Surprise, the beautiful ship used in the filming of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe.
The stern of HMS Surprise, the beautiful ship used in the filming of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe.

If you’ve watched the memorable movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, you might recall the fictional British warship HMS Surprise was center stage for most of the film, which was set during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego is now home to the working ship that was used in the filming of Master and Commander. Originally built in 1970 as a replica of the HMS Rose, a British 24-gun frigate from 1757, the ship was purchased by 20th Century Fox in 2001 and modified to appear in scenes in the 2003 film. Because of its starring role in Master and Commander, the ship was subsequently re-registered as HMS Surprise.

The critically acclaimed movie, starring Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin, was based on a series of popular novels written by Patrick O’Brien. Russell Crowe has been lobbying for a sequel for over a decade now. According to what I’ve heard, there’s a possibility the sequel might finally be made.

The museum recently debuted a new exhibit aboard HMS Surprise called Man-of-War, and along with many new signs on the main deck and gun deck, the captain’s great cabin is now open to the public. (You can see other aspects of the new Man-of-War exhibit here. Clicking the link will take you to a past blog post concerning HMS Surprise, where I’ve added updated photographs.)

Several memorable scenes in the movie take place inside the great cabin. Among others, you might recall scenes of officers dining and strategizing as they pursue the French privateer Acheron around Cape Horn to the Galapagos Islands, and of Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin playing the violin and cello.

While I’ve been told much of the filming of Master and Commander was done on movie sets, the great cabin visitors see on the working ship HMS Surprise is much like the one portrayed in the movie.

The great cabin of HMS Surprise is now open to the public. Several displays provide interesting information.
The great cabin of HMS Surprise is now open to the public. Several displays provide interesting information.
Sign reads the Great Cabin in the stern of the Surprise was reserved for the captain's use. Here he slept, held council with his officers, and entertained his invited guests.
Sign reads the Great Cabin in the stern of the Surprise was reserved for the captain’s use. Here he slept, held council with his officers, and entertained his invited guests.
Photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise. In real life the space feels cramped and the table is small. The large stern windows are a familiar sight in the movie.
Photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise. In real life the space feels cramped and the table is small. The large stern windows are a familiar sight in the movie.
Unlike most of the crew, the captain enjoyed wine and ate in style.
Unlike most of the crew, the captain enjoyed wine and ate in style.
Historically, guns were deployed in the great cabin during battles at sea. To make room, furniture was removed and placed in a longboat which was then towed behind the ship!
Historically, guns were deployed in the great cabin during battles at sea. To make room for the gunners, the furniture was removed and placed in a longboat which was then towed behind the ship!
Another photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise.
Another photo inside the great cabin of HMS Surprise.
Photo on wall recalls a scene in Master and Commander. Captain Jack Aubrey shares a toast with ship's doctor and officers.
Photo on wall recalls a scene in Master and Commander. Captain Jack Aubrey shares a toast with ship’s doctor and officers.
A display in the great cabin concerns prize money and medals. After a victorious battle, captains and crews were rewarded by the British government.
A display in the great cabin concerns prize money and medals. After a victorious battle, captains and crews were rewarded by the British government.
Gun on the starboard side of the great cabin, next to a chest and swords hung at the ready in case the ship was boarded by the enemy, or sailors mutiny.
Gun on the starboard side of the great cabin, next to a chest and swords hung at the ready in case the ship was boarded by the enemy, or sailors mutiny.
A violin on a stand. The favorite musical instrument of the fictional Captain Jack Aubrey.
A violin on a stand. The favorite musical instrument of the fictional Captain Jack Aubrey.

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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!

Photos of beautiful tall ship Stad Amsterdam.

The complex masts, yards and rigging of a fantastic tall ship.
The complex masts, yards and rigging of a fantastic tall ship.

Stad Amsterdam is perhaps the most beautiful ship I’ve ever seen. It’s now docked in San Diego not far from the Star of India. The incredible Dutch clipper ship, which is operating as a cruise ship, will be visiting our city for a week or so.

I posted some evening photos of Stad Amsterdam taken on Friday here. I also shared a couple of fascinating facts about the ship.

This morning I walked down to the Embarcadero again to see the beautiful tall ship in its full glory. Here are my photos…

A wave from a crew member working high up on a yard of the beautiful three-masted clipper ship Stad Amsterdam.
A wave from a crew member working high up on a yard of the beautiful three-masted Dutch clipper ship Stad Amsterdam.
This is perhaps the most beautiful ship I've ever seen.
This is perhaps the most beautiful ship I’ve ever seen.
Volunteers and sail crews from the Maritime Museum of San Diego got a special tour aboard the Stad Amsterdam.
Volunteers and sail crews from the Maritime Museum of San Diego got a special tour aboard the Stad Amsterdam.
This friendly guy on deck spoke to me for a minute and other curious people who were passing by.
A friendly gentleman on deck spoke to me for a minute and other curious people who were passing by.
I walked along the length of the Dutch tall ship to see its full glory.
I walked along the length of the Dutch tall ship to experience its full majesty.
Close photo of the stern of Stad Amsterdam.
Close photo of the stern of Stad Amsterdam.
Another friendly crew member near one of the elegant wood cabins on deck.
Another crew member near one of the elegant wood cabins on deck.
Members of the Stad Amsterdam crew work together to manipulate a sail.
Members of the Stad Amsterdam crew work together as a team to manipulate a sail.
Hauling a rope that is attached to a canvas sail high above.
Hauling a rope that is attached to a canvas sail high above.
Walking along the Embarcadero looking at the beautiful visiting tall ship.
Walking along the Embarcadero, looking at the extraordinarily beautiful tall ship.
The profile, size and color scheme of Stad Amsterdam makes it appear a little bit like San Diego's own Star of India.
The profile, size and color scheme of Stad Amsterdam makes it appear a little bit like San Diego’s own historic Star of India.
I asked about the figurehead of the Stad Amsterdam and was told it doesn't represent any particular person. The female holds a globe and points forward into the future.
I asked about the figurehead of the Stad Amsterdam and was told it doesn’t represent any particular person. The female holds a globe and points gracefully forward into the future.
Crewmembers take to the ship's rigging to do some work.
Crewmembers take to the ship’s rigging to do some work.
Out on a yard unfurling a heavy sail.
Out on a yard unfurling a heavy sail.
The majestic ship has masts that touch the sky.
The fantastic tall ship has masts that touch the sky.
Crew members wrestle with a sail.
Crew members work with a sail.
The three-masted clipper ship Stad Amsterdam docked near the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
The three-masted clipper ship Stad Amsterdam docked near the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Figurehead of the beautiful Dutch tall ship Stad Amsterdam.
Figurehead of the beautiful Dutch tall ship Stad Amsterdam.

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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!

Cool sights from a fantastic barge!

The Maritime Museum of San Diego's replica of explorer Cabrillo's galleon, San Salvador, comes in from a short trip out into the Pacific Ocean.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s replica of explorer Cabrillo’s galleon, San Salvador, comes in from a short trip out into the Pacific Ocean.

This afternoon I ventured out onto the dock behind the steam ferry Berkeley, the hub of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. I learned from several people this floating dock is often referred to as “the barge” and that an extensive workshop runs beneath it from end to end. Until my visit today I had no idea!

All sorts of boats were coming and going across San Diego Bay. As I breathed in the fresh air, I watched one very cool ship come in to dock at the barge…

On a beautiful late January afternoon, many sailboats were gliding across San Diego Bay.
On a beautiful late January afternoon, many sailboats were gliding across San Diego Bay.
A California Dreamin' Match Race hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club was being held near the Maritime Museum.
A California Dreamin’ Match Race hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club was being held near the Maritime Museum.
Lots of activity this Saturday on the barge behind the Berkeley.
Lots of activity this Saturday at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. I learned museum volunteers and employees call this floating dock behind the Berkeley the barge.
While I stood on the floating dock behind the Maritime Museum, I spotted San Salvador turning as it made its approach.
While I stood on the barge at the Maritime Museum, I spotted San Salvador turning as it made its approach.
Californian's sail crew was gathered on her deck having a meeting.
Californian’s sail crew was gathered on her deck having a meeting.
Here comes San Salvador!
Here comes San Salvador!
Someone awaits San Salvador on the museum's floating dock, which is frequently called the barge.
Someone waits for the arrival of the amazing Spanish galleon replica.
Tying up San Salvador. Lots of action to see out by the water today!
Tying up San Salvador. Lots of action to see out by the water today!

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!

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Magical golden light on San Salvador.

Masts and furled sails of the Spanish galleon replica San Salvador turn golden a few minutes after sunrise.
Masts and furled sails of the Spanish galleon replica San Salvador turn golden shortly after sunrise. Photo taken past the figurehead of Star of India.

I apologize, but I love tall ships so much I’m presenting another small batch of photographs.

I captured these images of San Salvador at the Maritime Museum of San Diego yesterday morning and this evening. Both the early and late sunlight performed magic, transforming the furled sails into gold.

San Salvador in morning light, and its magical reflection in San Diego Bay.
San Salvador in early morning light, and its glowing reflection in San Diego Bay.
Morning magic at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Morning magic at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Photo of the San Salvador shortly after sunset. The amazing tall ship is a replica of the galleon commanded by explorer Cabrillo in 1542.
Photo of the San Salvador shortly after sunset. The amazing tall ship is a replica of the galleon commanded by explorer Cabrillo in 1542.
Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego pause on the beautiful ship San Salvador as evening slowly turns to night.
Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego pause on the beautiful ship San Salvador as evening slowly turns to night.
The last golden rays of sunlight strike the furled sails of San Salvador, under a nearly full moon.
The last golden rays of sunlight strike the furled sails of San Salvador, under a nearly full moon.

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!