Boats, art and wildlife at Chula Vista Harbor.

Looking out at the many boats in Chula Vista Harbor.
Looking out at many boats in Chula Vista Harbor.

In the morning I took the trolley down to Chula Vista and walked to the harbor. I’ve blogged on several occasions about Bayside Park and the adjacent Chula Vista Marina, but I had never explored Chula Vista Bayfront Park on the south side of the harbor, near the boat ramp.

I found a peaceful, grassy place with inviting paths, wide views of the South Bay, and a couple fascinating works of public art. And some wildlife, too!

Come with me as we walk from the tall ship Bill of Rights around the south end of the California Yacht Marina and finally to Chula Vista Bayfront Park.

The schooner Bill of Rights, based in Chula Vista, can be chartered for fun adventures. It often participates in San Diego's annual Festival of Sail.
The schooner Bill of Rights, based in Chula Vista, can be chartered for fun adventures. It often participates in San Diego’s annual Festival of Sail.
Relaxing by the picturesque marina on a quiet, peaceful morning.
Relaxing by the picturesque marina on a quiet, peaceful morning.
Flags fly near the California Yacht Marina, located at the south end of Chula Vista's pleasant harbor.
Flags fly near the California Yacht Marina, located at the south end of Chula Vista’s pleasant harbor.
The California Yacht Marina building appears inviting.
The California Yacht Marina building appears inviting.
Circling around the marina toward the boat ramp and grassy park, where you can see some trees.
Circling around the marina toward the boat ramp and adjacent grassy park, where you can see some trees.
A quiet morning walk in San Diego's South Bay.
A quiet morning walk in San Diego’s South Bay.
A person sitting on a bench in Chula Vista Bayfront Park enjoys some shade. Nearby boats float gently on the water.
A person sitting on a bench in Chula Vista Bayfront Park enjoys some shade. Nearby boats float gently on the water.
A boater heads into the dock, toward the tall ship Bill of Rights.
A boater heads into the marina, toward the tall ship Bill of Rights.
The fishing pier of nearby Bayside Park lies to the north across Chula Vista Harbor's entrance. I see the Coronado Bay Bridge and downtown San Diego in the distance!
The fishing pier of nearby Bayside Park lies to the north across Chula Vista Harbor’s entrance. I see the Coronado Bay Bridge and downtown San Diego in the distance!
These three abstract sculptures near the walking path are titled Konoids, by Kenneth Capps, 1984.
These three abstract sculptures on the grass near the walking path are titled Konoids, by Kenneth Capps, 1984.
An osprey in its nest out on San Diego Bay.
An osprey in its nest out on San Diego Bay.
A sign in Chula Vista Bayfront Park describes the osprey, a majestic raptor.
Sign in Chula Vista Bayfront Park describes the osprey, a large raptor.
Ospreys like to dive for fish. They are year-round residents of San Diego Bay.
Ospreys like to dive for fish. They are year-round residents of San Diego Bay.
An unusual sculpture. Powering the Arts, by artist Micheal Leaf, 2015. It stands next to the blue water in Chula Vista Bayfront Park.
An unusual sculpture. Powering the Arts, by artist Micheal Leaf, 2015. It stands next to the blue water at Chula Vista Bayfront Park.
Sign describes how Powering the Arts was once a cylinder atop the now demolished South Bay Power Plant.
Sign describes how Powering the Arts was once a cylinder atop the now demolished South Bay Power Plant.
A cool, unexpected sight in San Diego's sunny South Bay!
A cool, unexpected sight in San Diego’s sunny South Bay!

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The mystery of a strange lighthouse in Old Town!

The top section of a historically important lighthouse now stands on a sidewalk in Old Town San Diego!
The top section of a historically important lighthouse now stands on a sidewalk in Old Town San Diego!

A lighthouse that once guided ships into San Diego Bay now stands on an Old Town sidewalk? How strange is that?

Well, not an entire lighthouse–just the lantern room of the 1890 Ballast Point Light Station!

The other day while walking down Congress Street, a few steps southeast of Harney Street, I paused to more carefully examine this mystery. (I’ve driven past the kiosk-like structure often, without really giving it a second thought.)

First, you should note Ballast Point is about 6 miles southwest of Old Town. The spit of land juts down into San Diego Bay from Point Loma; it’s where tall ships used to load ballast stones for their return trip around Cape Horn to the East Coast. Today it is part of Naval Base Point Loma.

So how did this top section of Ballast Point’s historic lighthouse end up on an Old Town sidewalk?

Some interesting photos behind a glass pane provided me with a few clues. The Ballast Point Light Station was built in 1890 and eventually dismantled in 1960. (Click the images and they will expand so you can read much more.)

After doing a little research, I learned the lantern room was found in 1998 by the owner of an Old Town nautical antiques store–West Sea Company–in a classified ad. At the time the Ballast Point lantern room was located at someone’s Bonita residence! Purchased and transported by flatbed truck to Old Town, it was placed on a cement pad near West Sea Company–and here it “mysteriously” remains today!

The 1890 Ballast Point Light Station was an example of Railroad Gothic. Its sixth order lens can be seen today at Cabrillo National Monument, in a museum near the old lighthouse.
The 1890 Ballast Point Light Station was an example of Railroad Gothic. Its sixth order lens can be seen today at Cabrillo National Monument, in a museum beside the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
Historical photo and some words explain the light at Ballast Point. It guided sailors past Middle Ground Shoal and into San Diego's harbor.
Historical photo and some words explain the light at Ballast Point. It guided sailors past Middle Ground Shoal and into San Diego’s harbor.
A public domain photo of the Ballast Point Light Station, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
A public domain photo of the Ballast Point Light Station, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
The lantern room that housed a light that guided ships into San Diego Bay now can be seen on Congress Street in Old Town!
This lantern room housed a light that guided ships into San Diego Bay. It can now be seen on Congress Street in Old Town!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

The strange, wonderful beauty of nautical ropes.

Late this afternoon I discovered strange and wonderful beauty.

As I relaxed on a comfortable wooden bench on the poop deck of the Star of India, enjoying the sea breeze and sunlit bay, my eyes were drawn to the riot of ropes that were coiled, knotted, stretched and dangling all about the deck, in every direction. How strangely beautiful they appeared.

I took a few photos.

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!

Restored foremast installed on Star of India!

Member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego points to work being done on the Star of India while passersby watch with interest.
Member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego points to work being done on the Star of India while passersby watch with interest.

Look what I chanced upon today. As I approached the Embarcadero, I noticed a huge crane next to the Star of India. The restored top third of the foremast had just been installed! (You might recall from an earlier blog post this wooden section had suffered from rot and needed some work.)

While I stood and watched, the crane lifted two shrouds, one after another, to be attached to the foremast. Then came several cables! The activity above and below was fascinating to watch. I wish I had a more thorough understanding of all that I saw. Volunteers and employees of the Maritime Museum of San Diego were using their knowledge and skills to help preserve an important part of San Diego and world history!

Crane lifts up guys with a shroud, part of the tall ship's standing rigging, to be attached to the starboard side of the newly installed, refurbished top third of the foremast.
Crane lifts up guys with a shroud, part of the ship’s standing rigging, to be attached to the starboard side of the newly installed, refurbished top third of the foremast.
The ladder-like shroud dangles in the air, near the top of the foremast.
The ladder-like shroud dangles in the air, near the top of the foremast.
Volunteers and employees of the Maritime Museum of San Diego watch from the deck below.
Volunteers and employees of the Maritime Museum of San Diego watch from the deck below.
Working high in the San Diego sky, above the oldest active sailing ship in the world, Star of India.
Working high in the San Diego sky, above the oldest active sailing ship in the world.  The beautiful Star of India was built in 1863.
That first shroud is done. Those working on the Embarcadero beside the ship prepare the second shroud to be hoisted.
That first shroud is done. Those working on the Embarcadero beside the ship prepare the second shroud to be hoisted.
Now it's time to attach the second shroud to the port side.
Now it’s time to attach the second shroud to the port side.
Workers on the foremast grab hold.
A worker on the foremast grabs hold.
Back down again to solid ground!
Back down again to solid ground!
Lots of cables still need to be attached to the foremast, to help it resist the force of the wind, and gravity and inertia when the ship pitches and rolls.
Lots of cables still need to be attached to the foremast, to help it resist the force of the wind, plus gravity and inertia when the tall ship pitches and rolls.
One super strong, tarred cable awaiting installation is the starboard royal backstay. It will be attached to the masttop.
One super strong, tarred cable awaiting installation is the starboard royal backstay. It will be attached to the masttop.
Guys watch from the ship's rail.
Guys watch from the historic ship’s rail.
Up goes one of the many cables that are part of the forward rigging.
Up goes one of the many cables that are part of Star of India’s rigging.
A small bit of history.
A small bit of history in San Diego.
Up they go! I bet the view is great!
Up they go! I bet the view is great!
The bottom end of the cable was attached, now back up to the top of the foremast...
The bottom end of the cable is in place, now back up to the top of the foremast…
Up, up...
Up, up…
Higher...
Higher…
Intrigued by the operation, people watch from below. A member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego explains the proceedings.
Intrigued by the operation, people watch from below. A member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego explains the proceedings.
Another (pleasantly crooked) photo of a shroud being hoisted. I was told this work began early in the morning. As much work will be done today as possible!
Another photo of one shroud being hoisted. I was told this work began early in the morning. As much work will be done today as possible!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Beautiful new poop deck debuts on Star of India!

This is the first weekend visitors to the Star of India can walk on the beautiful new poop deck!
This is the first weekend visitors to the Star of India can walk on the beautiful new poop deck!

We all are a part of history. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that.

The people at the Maritime Museum of San Diego are contributing to history by restoring the main deck of the world-famous Star of India. The poop deck is finished! Visitors can now enjoy the beautiful new wood deck and varnished helm and imagine putting to sea steering the romantic wheel. On a historic tall ship that is now 153 years old!

Beautifully varnished wood underfoot, meant to last another 50 or so years. The bench along the saloon's skylight will be sanded and varnished next.
The beautiful new wood deck underfoot is meant to last another 50 or so years. The bench along the saloon’s skylight will be sanded and varnished next.
The 1863 Star of India is a world treasure. It's the oldest active sailing ship in the world!
The 1863 Star of India is a world treasure. Its amazing, varied history includes circumnavigating the globe 21 times. It’s the oldest active sailing ship in the world!
A visitor rang the ship's cheerful bell while his friends talked near the binnacle and helm.
A visitor rang the ship’s cheerful bell while his friends talked near the binnacle and helm.
The helm's new varnish is still drying! In my dreams I command this amazing tall ship while standing at the wheel!
The helm’s new varnish is still drying! In my dreams I command this amazing tall ship while standing at the wheel!
A super nice Maritime Museum docent showed me how the steering mechanism works. The two opposing screw-like worms were made with amazing precision over 150 years ago!
A super nice Maritime Museum docent showed me how the steering mechanism works. The two opposing screw-like worms were made with amazing precision over 150 years ago!
The port side of the main deck has been caulked! Now just to sand and apply several layers of sealing protection.
The port side of the main deck has been caulked! Now just to sand and apply several layers of sealing protection.
The people at the Maritime Museum of San Diego are working hard to keep an important part of world history alive.
The people at the Maritime Museum of San Diego are working hard to keep an important part of world history alive.
A contrast of the finished main deck on the starboard side. Soon the entire ship's deck will be shiny like new!
The finished main deck on the starboard side. Soon the entire ship’s deck will be shiny like new!
Folks enjoy a sunny San Diego day on the newly restored poop deck of the historic tall ship Star of India.
Folks enjoy a sunny San Diego day on the newly restored poop deck of the historic tall ship Star of India.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

America comes home to San Diego.

Tall ship America, owned by Next Level Sailing, turns about in San Diego Bay as it comes in to dock at the Maritime Museum.
Tall ship America, owned by Next Level Sailing, turns about in San Diego Bay as it comes in to dock at the Maritime Museum.

Earlier this month, on December 11, America came home to San Diego, after a long and very eventful journey representing The America’s Cup. Its epic America’s Cup Tour included many stops, from the Gulf of Mexico up the East Coast and then south again to the Caribbean. During the tour it hosted throngs of visitors and was welcomed by some of our nation’s finest yacht clubs.

But there was also one very dangerous adventure! In October the ship had to take shelter from Hurricane Matthew by heading up the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville, where it docked in a less windy spot behind the large Hyatt building. America survived with little damage!

The beautiful ship is a replica of the schooner America that beat 15 top British racing yachts in a 53 nautical mile regatta around the Isle of Wight in 1851. The Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Guinea Cup, won easily by the New York Yacht Club, became a challenge trophy known as the America’s Cup. Today it is the oldest international sporting trophy in existence.  (San Diego’s own legendary yachtsman Dennis Conner won the America’s Cup four times.)

The replica America that makes San Diego its home is owned by Next Level Sailing, and it is glorious to behold when under sail. Now that the America’s Cup Tour is safely over, it is once again available for charters and whale watching adventures out on the blue Pacific.

This afternoon I happened to catch America out on San Diego Bay, heading in to the Maritime Museum, where it docks. I got a few photos before I hurried back home to take shelter from tonight’s storm! Not a hurricane, thank goodness!

America passes the Maritime Museum of San Diego's Soviet Foxtrot B-39 submarine. It's a cloudy New Year's Eve afternoon, with a storm on the way.
America passes the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s Soviet Foxtrot B-39 submarine. It’s a cloudy New Year’s Eve afternoon, with a storm on the way.
America carefully approaches the dock behind the steam ferry Berkeley.
America carefully approaches the dock behind the steam ferry Berkeley.
Time to tie her up to the dock.
Time to tie her up to the dock.
A member of America's crew leaps through the air to secure the beautiful ship, a replica of the racing schooner that ushered in The America's Cup.
A member of America’s crew leaps through the air to secure the beautiful ship, a replica of the victorious racing schooner that ushered in the America’s Cup.
Welcome home, America!
Welcome home, America!

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 new main deck is nearing completion!

The Star of India's deck replacement is approaching completion! The starboard side looks shiny and new!
Thanks to donations, volunteers and hard work, the Star of India’s wood deck replacement is approaching completion! The starboard side looks shiny and new!

Yesterday I took advantage of my Maritime Museum of San Diego membership to freely step aboard the Star of India, with the intention of seeing how the main deck’s replacement is progressing. Wow! The beautiful, shiny new deck appears to be almost finished! According to a friendly guy in the ticket booth, the deck improvement project should be completed in a matter of days! I can hardly wait to see the finished work!

The poop deck has been beautifully refurbished, using modern materials and construction methods.
The poop deck has been beautifully refurbished, using modern materials and construction methods.
One side of the Star of India's main deck now appears as it did when the ship was brand new, 153 years ago!
One side of the Star of India’s main deck now appears as it did when the ship was brand new, 153 years ago!
A bridge was erected so that visitors boarding the historic tall ship could cross the port side where construction is underway.
A temporary bridge was erected so that visitors boarding the historic tall ship could cross the port side where deck reconstruction is underway.
Crossing a temporary bridge above the deck of the Star of India, the world's oldest active sailing ship!
Crossing a temporary bridge above the main deck of the Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! Occasionally I make cool discoveries! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!