A fun idea for Fourth of July weekend!

Looking for something fun to do this Fourth of July weekend? Are you disappointed that most public events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic? I’ve got a great idea!

Head downtown to the Embarcadero and enjoy an hour or two at the Maritime Museum of San Diego! You know, that cool attraction on the bay with the tall-masted ships, including world-famous Star of India. They’re going to be open all weekend long!

I visited the museum this afternoon (I’m a member) and learned they reopened yesterday. Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, they and other local museums might be ordered to close again as soon as next week if cases continue to rise in San Diego. So now might be your best chance to visit this year.

Much of your museum adventure will be spent in the healthy, sunny outdoors, exploring the Maritime Museum’s beautiful, historic ships. I noticed that plenty of measures have been taken to ensure everyone’s safety. Make sure to bring your face covering–it’s required.

Sadly, you will not be allowed to enter inside the two submarines, or step aboard the HMS Surprise, because of her ongoing redecking. But there’s plenty else to see and experience!

Those of you who follow my blog know that the Maritime Museum of San Diego is one of my favorite destinations. If you like history and the sea, and standing over the bright water, gazing up at white sails while imagining you’re on a journey across the wide blue ocean, you might love it, too!

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!

Yes, even Athena and Euterpe wear face masks!

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic is a serious matter. But this morning I didn’t expect to see two powerful Greek deities wearing face masks!

I spotted the great Olympian goddess Athena and the Muse of music Euterpe wearing face coverings during my walk along the Embarcadero!

Athena is the figurehead of HMS Surprise, and Euterpe graces the bow of Star of India. Both famous tall ships belong to the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

UPDATE!

I’ve now been told the figurehead of HMS Surprise is actually Boadicea, who, according to Wikipedia was “queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the conquering forces of the Roman Empire.” This probably makes more sense, as HMS Boadicea was a ship commanded by fictional character Jack Aubrey during the Napoleonic Wars in the series of novels by Patrick O’Brian. Aubrey also commanded HMS Surprise.

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!

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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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!

More mysterious morning fog downtown.

Fog crept into San Diego last night. In the early morning it was obscuring the tops of buildings.

I walked through downtown and finally reached the Embarcadero. The water was quiet, gray and perfectly smooth.

Fog had swallowed the distance.

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!

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!

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!

Evening beauty aboard Star of India.

It was unusually hot and humid today. So after work I headed down to the Embarcadero, to enjoy cooler air coming off San Diego Bay.

I boarded the beautiful, historic tall ship Star of India and, breathing in fresh air, watched changing clouds and the summer sun as it slowly descended. I saw many sailboats. It was a perfect day to be above the shining water.

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!

Memorial Day weekend at Festival of the Sea!

As I arrived at the Festival of the Sea, the 27th Annual San Diego Sea Chantey Festival was already underway.
As I arrived at the Festival of the Sea, the 27th Annual San Diego Sea Chantey Festival was already underway.

There’s a great festival going on this Memorial Day weekend at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The new, family-friendly waterfront event, sponsored by the Port of San Diego, is called Festival of the Sea!

I headed to the Maritime Museum late this morning to see what was going on!

On the deck of the Star of India, I listened to the 27th Annual San Diego Sea Chantey Festival sponsored by San Diego Folk Heritage. Inside the steam ferry Berkeley, I got to see lots of art by local artists, then peruse books, prints and other used items that are being sold in a kind of nautical rummage sale. From the museum’s barge behind the Berkeley, I viewed a cannon battle out on San Diego Bay, then enjoyed free samples of Tillamook Ice Cream!

The Festival of the Sea also includes kids’ educational activities, costumes galore, and the opportunity to enjoy adult beverages while taking in amazing views of San Diego Bay.

Here come a few photos!

A friendly guy with a wooden leg welcomes me aboard Star of India for the new waterfront event, Festival of the Sea!
A smiling guy with a wooden leg welcomes me aboard Star of India for the new waterfront event, Festival of the Sea!
Gazing out at San Diego Bay from the back of the Maritime Museum of San Diego's barge.
Gazing out at San Diego Bay from the back of the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s barge.
You just knew there would be a pirate!
You just knew there would be a pirate!
The free samples of Tillamook Ice Cream were super yummy.
The free samples of Tillamook Ice Cream were super yummy. (Yes, that tray you get holds four different flavors!)
Lots of artists had their work on display inside the elegant passenger deck of the Berkeley.
Lots of artists had their work on display inside the elegant passenger deck of the Berkeley.
Friendly author Joseph O'Loughlin has written an action-packed historical novel that takes place in the Age of Sail. Gallagher's Prize is the first book of a series!
Friendly author Joseph O’Loughlin has written an action-packed historical novel that takes place in the Age of Sail. Gallagher’s Prize is the first book of a series!
Photographer David J. Shuler has spent many years capturing beautiful images. You can check out his fine work at NauticalVisions.com
Photographer David J. Shuler has spent many years capturing beautiful images. You can check out his fine work at NauticalVisions.com
A large selection of art was being displayed aboard the Berkeley. I was surprised to see so much!
A large selection of art was being displayed aboard the Berkeley. I was surprised to see so much variety!
Norm Daniels was getting started on a new piece. He does a lot of plein air painting. His website is NormHere.com
Norm Daniels was getting started on a new piece. He does a lot of plein air painting. His website is NormHere.com
Examples of Norm Daniel's surf and island themed work.
Examples of Norm Daniel’s surf and island themed work.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego's unique Model Shop is busy during the festival.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s unique Model Shop is also active during the festival.
All sorts of used museum items are for sale during the Festival of the Sea. Not shown are numerous unique books about maritime history.
All sorts of used museum items are for sale during the Festival of the Sea. Not shown are numerous unique books about maritime history.
Beyond the museum's Soviet submarine, tall ships sail on San Diego Bay.
Beyond the museum’s Soviet submarine, tall ships sail on San Diego Bay.
Californian and Bill of Rights exchange a broadside!
Californian and Bill of Rights exchange a broadside!
The Martime Museum's beautiful Californian is the official tall ship of California.
The Maritime Museum’s beautiful Californian is the official tall ship of California.
A picturesque scene out on the nearby water.
A picturesque scene out on the nearby water.
Looking beyond HMS Surprise, which you might remember seeing in the great movie Master and Commander.
Looking beyond HMS Surprise, which starred with Russell Crowe in the great movie Master and Commander.
Back on the Star of India, people enjoy live entertainment.
Back on the Star of India, more people are gathering to enjoy live entertainment.
A kid explores the workings of the world's oldest active sailing ship!
A kid explores the workings of the world’s oldest active sailing ship!
The Jackstraws sing lively, often humorous tunes during the Festival of the Sea!
The Jackstraws sing lively, often humorous nautical tunes during the Festival of the Sea!

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!