Photos aboard Scripps research vessel Melville!

Ready to board R/V Melville from San Diego's Broadway Pier before the research ship is retired.
Ready to board R/V Melville from San Diego’s Broadway Pier before the research ship is retired.

The research ship Melville retired today. For five decades scientists aboard the ship helped to expand our understanding of the oceans, marine biology and planet Earth. I headed down to the Broadway Pier on San Diego’s Embarcadero this morning, because for one rare and final time the general public was invited to tour this legendary ship!

The R/V Melville, the oldest active ship in the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System fleet of marine research ships, was launched by the Navy in 1969. Operated by the world-famous Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, the vessel has undertaken 391 research cruises and steamed a total of 1,547,080 nautical miles. A fact sheet distributed to today’s visitors also notes that the Melville logged over 90 equator crossings and has hosted around 7,116 scientists from 237 institutions. That amounts to a lot of knowledge gained!

The amazing oceanographic research ship was named after George Melville, an arctic explorer and Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. One interesting fact: the ship was used in the filming of the 1976 movie King Kong!

I took these photos as I enjoyed this fascinating final tour of the ship. I hope my captions accurately describe what I saw. (If they don’t, please leave a comment!) Some of the interior shots are a bit blurry. I apologize.

The Melville is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of UCSD in La Jolla.
The Melville is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of UCSD in La Jolla.
One of many friendly, helpful people who've served on the history-making ship.
One of many friendly, helpful people who’ve served on the history-making ship.
The tour started at the bow. Downtown San Diego skyline in background.
The tour started at the bow. Downtown San Diego skyline rises in the background.
Excited people climb up toward the pilot house of Melville.
Excited people climb up toward the pilot house of Melville.
The shiny ship's bell!
The shiny ship’s bell!
Huge number of buttons, knobs, switches and dials in the pilot house of Melville.
Huge number of buttons, knobs, switches and dials in the pilot house of Melville.
A second photo of the complicated ship control console.
A second photo of the complicated ship control console.
The ship's log is open on some navigational charts.
The ship’s log is open on some navigational charts.
Looking out porthole from the chief scientist's quarters below deck.
Looking out porthole from the chief scientist’s quarters below deck.
The chief scientist during research cruises slept here.
The chief scientist during research cruises slept here.
The library, lounge and study contain shelves of books and several interesting displays.
The library, lounge and study contains many shelves of books and several interesting displays.
Graphic in library depicts the R/V Melville.
Graphic in library depicts the R/V Melville.
Portrait of George Wallace Melville, the ship's namesake.
Portrait of George Wallace Melville, the ship’s namesake.
Bronze plaque commemorates the Melville's launch date in 1968.
Bronze plaque commemorates the Melville’s launch date in 1968.
Painting by artist Chuzo of the Melville hangs in a corridor near some stairs below deck.
Painting by artist Chuzo of the Melville hangs in a corridor near some stairs below deck.
Meal hours are posted on door leading to the cafeteria.
Meal hours are posted on door leading to the cafeteria.
Visitors check out the mess hall where crew and research scientists enjoyed a break, to eat, talk and share knowledge.
Visitors check out the mess hall where crew and research scientists enjoyed a break, to eat, talk and share knowledge.
One can choose bug juice or milk. I'll take milk, please!
Hungry folks can choose bug juice or milk. I’ll take milk, please!
Numbered mugs on the mess hall wall. Number 1 belongs to the captain.
Numbered mugs on the mess hall wall. Number 1 belongs to the captain.
Several masks, ethnic artifacts and marine objects decorate the walls of the cafeteria.
Several masks, ethnic artifacts and marine objects decorate the walls of the cafeteria.
A look at a shipboard laboratory where various materials could be analyzed.
A look at a shipboard laboratory where various materials could be analyzed.
At the photo's center is a winch control. Video monitors help scientists visualize their work underwater.
At the photo’s center is a winch control. Video monitors help scientists visualize their work underwater.
Gauge registers up to 75,000 pounds of tension!
Gauge registers up to 75,000 pounds of tension!
Massive A-frame at stern of Melville. The working deck contains exhibits for people to check out.
Massive A-frame at stern of Melville. The working deck contains exhibits for people to check out.
Sea Soar is an undulating towed vehicle used to collect real-time information, from the sea surface to a depth of 400 meters.
Sea Soar is an undulating towed vehicle used to collect real-time information, from the sea surface to a depth of 400 meters.
This outdoor area can be closed off during rough weather so that work can be performed when conditions are poor.
This outdoor area can be closed off during rough weather so that work can be performed when conditions are poor.
M.O.C.N.E.S.S. Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System allows oceanographers to catch zooplankton and measure environmental properties like salinity and temperature
M.O.C.N.E.S.S. Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System allows oceanographers to catch zooplankton and measure environmental properties like salinity and temperature.
Kids examine a rock dredge, used for the recovery of heavy material on the ocean floor.
Kids examine a rock dredge, used for the recovery of heavy material on the ocean floor.
Van Veen Grab for ocean floor sampling. When it hits bottom, the jaws close and grab a sample of sediment, rocks and creatures.
Van Veen Grab for ocean floor sampling. When it hits bottom, the jaws close and grab a sample of sediment, rocks and creatures.
Seismic Sound Source for sub seafloor acoustic imaging. Towed behind research vessel in conjunction with hydrophone streamer arrays to image the sub-seafloor geologic structure.
Seismic Sound Source for sub seafloor acoustic imaging. Towed behind research vessel in conjunction with hydrophone streamer arrays to image the sub-seafloor geologic structure.
Heavy machinery available on the complex ship includes multiple winches, cables, cranes.
Heavy machinery available on the complex ship includes multiple winches, cables, cranes.
Ocean probe with multiple sensors near an A-frame at ship's side, where it might be lowered by cable into the water.
Ocean probe with multiple sensors near an A-frame at ship’s side, where it might be lowered by cable into the water.
CTD and Water Sampling Rosette measures conductivity, temperature and depth with a variety of sensors. Other chemical and biological parameters can also be measured.
CTD and Water Sampling Rosette measures conductivity, temperature and depth with a variety of sensors. Other chemical and biological parameters can also be measured.
The super strong cable runs from here to one of two A-frames, where equipment can be towed or lowered.
The super strong cable runs from here to one of two A-frames, where equipment can be towed or lowered.
One of many powerful winches on the research vessel Melville.
One of many powerful winches on the research vessel Melville.
View from Broadway Pier of A-frame jutting from the Melville's side.
View from Broadway Pier of A-frame jutting from the Melville’s side.
Farewell RV Melville. The human race learned much during your decades of service!
Farewell R/V Melville. The human race learned much during your many decades of service!

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Huge new scoreboard installed at Petco Park!

Giant crane in Petco Park's outfield has installed a huge new scoreboard!
Giant crane in Petco Park’s outfield has installed a huge new scoreboard!

As you might have read in my last blog post, this morning I walked around Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. Guess what I saw! An absolutely hugemungous, super ginormous new scoreboard has been installed for the upcoming 2015 season! The high resolution board is the third largest in Major League Baseball, surpassed in size only by videoboards in Seattle and Kansas City. With a screen so big, why bother watching the action on the field? (Just kidding.)

I noticed a variety of other preparations underway around San Diego’s cool downtown stadium. Here are a few more pics…

This high resolution videoboard is the third largest in Major League Baseball!
This massive high resolution videoboard is the third largest in Major League Baseball!
Guys get some ticket machines ready for the upcoming 2015 baseball season.
Guys get some ticket readers ready for the upcoming 2015 baseball season.
Hosing down seats behind the Beach. The ball field is being prepped for professional baseball after the recent Monster Jam event.
Hosing down seats behind the Beach. The ball field is being prepped for professional baseball after the recent Monster Jam event.

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Cool pics of old La Mesa railroad depot and train!

Dad and son check out old steam locomotive on display at La Mesa Depot Museum.
Dad and son check out old steam locomotive on display at La Mesa Depot Museum.

I’ve driven past the La Mesa Depot Museum many times over the years, but have never stopped to check it out. Today I remedied that very unfortunate situation!

Here’s a ton of cool pics. The small display train and historic railroad depot are found along Spring Street near the center of La Mesa, in San Diego’s sunny East County. I walked from south to north with my camera.

A friendly volunteer told me a little bit about the locomotive, reefer (refrigerator) car and caboose on exhibit, plus facts about the old La Mesa depot and San Diego and Cuyamaca Eastern Railway line. The depot is La Mesa’s oldest building and the only surviving San Diego and Cuyamaca Railway Station. Over the years it has experienced a colorful history, serving as an antique store and a worm farm! Please refer to the interesting signs, and my captions. Hopefully you get an idea of how awesome this place is!

The La Mesa Depot Museum is operated by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, which displays many old trains in Campo, an hour’s drive east of San Diego near Mexico. I went there with my family when I was very young and took a fun train ride. I plan on going again one day!

Locomotive was donated after 43 years of service to the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association.
Locomotive was donated after 43 years of service to the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association.
Looking up into door of steam locomotive Mojave Northern Railroad #3.
Looking up into door of steam locomotive Mojave Northern Railroad #3.
Old No. 3 originally hauled lime from a quarry near Victorville, California.
Old No. 3 originally hauled lime from a quarry near Victorville, California.
Part of the complex machinery and controls in the steam locomotive's cab.
Part of the complex machinery and controls in the steam locomotive’s cab.
Pacific Fruit Express reefer car on display at old train depot in La Mesa, California.
Pacific Fruit Express reefer car on display at old train depot in La Mesa, California.
Southern Pacific Railroad caboose can be boarded free by visitors on Saturdays, 1-4 pm.
Southern Pacific Railroad caboose can be boarded free by visitors on Saturdays, 1-4 pm.
I saw a bunch of people during my short visit. There were many excited kids!
I saw a bunch of people during my short visit. There were many excited kids!
Entering the caboose, to check out what life was like working on the railroad.
Entering the caboose, to check out what life was like working on the railroad.
The conductor had high windows to see around the train during operation.
The conductor had high windows to see around the train during operation.
A freight train's conductor or crew could sit up here to see in every direction.
A freight train’s conductor or crew could sit up here to see in every direction.
That's quite a climb, even for a tall guy like me!
That’s quite a climb, even for a tall guy like me!
The small La Mesa depot sits near tracks now used by the San Diego Trolley Orange Line.
The small La Mesa depot sits near tracks now used by the San Diego Trolley Orange Line.
The depot opened in 1894, and this 44-star flag would've flown above it.
The depot opened in 1894, and this 44-star flag would’ve flown above it.
Information sign outlines the early history of La Mesa's train depot.
Information sign outlines the early history of La Mesa’s train depot.
Historical photograph of a train stopping at La Mesa.
Historical photograph of a train stopping at La Mesa.
In the early 20th century the depot was sold and moved on various occasions.
In the early 20th century the depot was sold and moved on various occasions.
McKeen Car at the La Mesa Depot.
McKeen Car at the La Mesa Depot.
This very small building contains lots of cool stuff!
This very small building contains lots of cool stuff!
City of La Mesa Historic Landmark No. 6 on side of 1894 train depot.
City of La Mesa Historic Landmark No. 6 on side of 1894 train depot.
Ticket office in depot contains various old telephones and a telegraph.
Ticket office in depot contains various old telephones and a telegraph.
The telegraph key still works!
The telegraph key still works!
Telegraphic messages were received here!
Telegraphic messages were received here!
Looking out through ticket window at the tiny train depot waiting room.
Looking out through ticket window at the tiny train depot waiting room.
In one corner of the office is an old-fashioned manual typewriter.
In one corner of the office is an old-fashioned manual typewriter.
This old wood stove still works and provides a lot of heat!
This old wood stove still works and provides a lot of heat!
Signs bring to life the old train time table and Western Union office.
Signs bring to life the old train time table and Western Union office.
An old railway hand cart for hauling freight or luggage.
An old railway hand cart for hauling freight or luggage.
Sign tells complex story of the San Diego, Cuyamaca and Eastern Railroad.
Sign tells complex story of the San Diego, Cuyamaca and Eastern Railroad.
Here comes the San Diego Trolley, approaching the nearby La Mesa Boulevard station.
Here comes the San Diego Trolley, approaching the nearby La Mesa Boulevard station.
The La Mesa Depot Museum is a fun place to visit on a Saturday afternoon!
The La Mesa Depot Museum is a fun place to visit on a Saturday afternoon!

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Fresnel lens in Old Point Loma Lighthouse museum.

Looking up at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse in Cabrillo National Monument.
Looking up at the Old Point Loma Lighthouse in Cabrillo National Monument.

Everyone likes to explore the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. You can climb up the winding staircase and peer into several interesting rooms where the lighthouse keeper and his family lived. But the small museum in the nearby assistant keeper’s quarters contains the true marvels of science and art. Come inside and let us have a quick look!

The assistant keeper's quarters next to the lighthouse today contains a small museum.
The assistant keeper’s quarters next to the lighthouse today contains a small museum.
Sign outside lighthouse shows huge Fresnel lens which guided ships with focused light 400 feet above sea level.
Sign outside lighthouse shows huge Fresnel lens which guided ships with focused light 400 feet above sea level.
The heart of a lighthouse is the lens and lamp. 19th century lenses are works of art made of polished brass and glass.
Sign at entrance to museum.  The heart of a lighthouse is the lens and lamp. 19th century lenses are works of art made of polished brass and glass.

The highly polished Fresnel lenses utilized by lighthouses are beautiful objects. They refract and reflect light, creating prismatic colors when viewed from certain angles. It’s almost a miracle that a small flame in a lamp can be magnified to the extent that ships far out at sea can easily see it and be guided to safety. Light intensified by lenses in this museum could be seen 18 to 24 miles away!

This 3rd Order Fresnel lens was used by the New Point Loma Lighthouse, built in 1891 down by the water.
This 3rd Order Fresnel lens was used by the New Point Loma Lighthouse, built in 1891 down by the water.
An optical wonder, this huge lens is an amazing, highly polished light bender.
An optical wonder, this huge lens is an amazing, highly polished light bender.
Diagram shows how a complex Fresnel lens functions.
Diagram shows how a complex Fresnel lens functions.
The base of the heavy Fresnel lens with chariot wheels visible.
The base of the heavy Fresnel lens with chariot wheels visible.
There are different orders of size, as illustrated in this display.
There are different orders of size, as illustrated in this display.
Augustin Jean Fresnel (1788-1827) was an accomplished engineer and scientist. Fresnel lenses are used in many modern applications today.
Augustin Jean Fresnel (1788-1827) was an accomplished engineer and scientist. Fresnel lenses are used in many modern applications today.
Small museum by Old Point Loma Lighthouse contains various very cool exhibits.
Small museum by Old Point Loma Lighthouse contains various very cool exhibits.
This small 5th Order lens lighted the Ballast Point Lighthouse from 1890 to 1960.
This small 5th Order lens lighted the Ballast Point Lighthouse from 1890 to 1960.
Log book of daily expenditures for oil, wicks and chimneys.
Log book of daily expenditures for oil, wicks and chimneys.
This clockwork of gears slowly turned the light above.
This clockwork of gears slowly turned the light above.
The keeper's service box contained cleaning supplies and delicate tools for maintaining the lamp.
The keeper’s service box contained cleaning supplies and delicate tools for maintaining the lamp.
The Coast Guard removed this large Fresnel lens from the New Point Loma Lighthouse in 2002.
The Coast Guard removed this large Fresnel lens from the New Point Loma Lighthouse in 2002.
Looking at the iconic Old Point Loma Lighthouse and small museum beside it.
Looking at the iconic Old Point Loma Lighthouse and small museum beside it.

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Bike share stations pop up around San Diego.

DecoBike bikeshare location on Broadway between Santa Fe Depot and America Plaza.
DecoBike bikeshare station on Broadway between Santa Fe Depot and America Plaza.

During my walks around San Diego in the past few months, I’ve noticed new bike sharing stations popping up at various locations. The green-signed docks still contain no bikes, but according to articles I’ve read the program is supposed to finally begin this month, after many delays.

Bike sharing in San Diego will be facilitated by DecoBike, a company based in Miami, where a similar system has been installed. They plan to eventually have around 180 electronic rental stations and 1,800 standardized bicycles.

San Diegans and city visitors will be able to rent bicycles for one-time use, or purchase a monthly or annual membership. The number of bikes available at any station will be visible in real time on DecoBike’s online station map.

According to signs at each bikeshare station, renting a bike will cost $5 per half hour, $7 per hour, or $12 for two hours. Memberships will cost $15 for one day, $35 for one week, or $50 for one month.

Looks interesting. Perhaps I’ll do a little more bicycling!

New bike sharing locking docks in East Village just north of Petco Park.
More locking bicycle docks in East Village, just north of Petco Park.
DecoBike bikeshare stations feature a touchscreen, instructions and a row of bike docks.
DecoBike bikeshare stations feature a touchscreen, instructions and a row of bike docks.
Sign shows rental and membership rates.
Sign shows rental and membership rates.
Another bike sharing station on El Prado near the west end of Balboa Park.
Another bike sharing station on El Prado near the west end of Balboa Park.

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