Tar, varnish and paint on San Diego Bay!

Have you read those classic nautical stories where sailors are tasked with tarring ropes in a ship’s rigging?

Well, if you visited the Maritime Museum of San Diego today, you might have seen this age-old activity in practice. A museum volunteer was tarring the shrouds of Californian, official tall ship of California!

As I walked about the museum’s historic ships, I noticed the forward hatch of the 1904 steam yacht Medea had been recently varnished. And another volunteer was busy applying the second of three coats of paint to the railing of the San Diego harbor’s 1914 Pilot boat!

Even in calm San Diego Bay, the daily weather, salt and sun slowly ravage ships. The sun’s ultraviolet rays eventually break down everything, even tar. To maintain the beautiful vessels of a world-famous maritime museum requires elbow grease!

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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!

Learn about nature at Torrey Pines trailhead!

At Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, several popular trails (including the Beach Trail and Razor Point Trail) can be accessed from a small parking lot south of the Visitor Center.

At the trailhead visitors will see a wooden structure, the words Torrey Pines Docent Society, and many smiling volunteers who are happy to provide information or explain interpretative displays before you begin your hike. The structure is called the Trailhead Information Kiosk, or TIK for short. Docents greeting visitors here are called TIK Talkers!

I remember how, many years ago, this trailhead “kiosk” was nothing more than a portable table and EZ Up canopy. Today’s handsome, sturdy structure is a testament to what volunteer hands can create!

The Trailhead Information Kiosk is a great place to learn about Torrey Pines’ native plants and animals. There are signs detailing what hikers might encounter, photographs of wildlife, and cool models of insects, snakes and other animals.

Before beginning a short hike the other day, I paused at the TIK to absorb a little knowledge.

Reptiles of Torrey Pines

Birds of Torrey Pines

Insects

Flowering Plants of Torrey Pines

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

The Vintage Trolley: A Labor of Love.

Last weekend I rode the San Diego Trolley’s old PCC streetcar 530. I traveled a few stops on the Vintage Trolley’s downtown Silver Line loop.

As I looked about the interior of the restored 1940’s streetcar, I noticed a sign that I’d never seen before. Several paragraphs pay tribute to Ed Lindstrom, who was instrumental in restoring the Vintage Trolley vehicles operated by MTS.

Ed worked as a Light Rail Vehicle Project Coordinator and Electromechanic. Restoring the two streetcars that now run on the Silver Line–cars 529 and 530–required parts that are extremely difficult to find. According to the sign, Ed relentlessly sought the necessary parts from other transit agencies, collectors and museums. With some harder-to-find components, Ed got creative. He reverse-engineered and produced them specifically for the project!

To learn more about the PCC streetcar restoration, and see photos of how the old cars once looked, click here!

If you ever ride one of these nostalgic streetcars on a weekend, you can thank Ed and many others who’ve worked countless hours making a beautiful dream come true.

A LABOR OF LOVE.

Operation of the vintage streetcars in San Diego…began as a dream of Harry Mathis… A cadre of volunteers, led by our restoration manager, Dave Slater, has contributed more than 11,000 man hours of work on our fleet of PCC’s…

As a resident of downtown San Diego who loves riding the Vintage Trolley cars, thank you!

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!

Begin the adventure of a lifetime in San Diego!

Would you, or someone you know, like to embark on the adventure of a lifetime?

You can start that adventure this very moment. Sign up to become one of a select few: those who help sail famous tall ships right here in San Diego. Including the oldest active sailing ship in the world, Star of India!

Start down the path to becoming a crewmember and you’ll create incredible memories. Your background, age or experience don’t matter.

Today I watched from the poop deck of Star of India as two new museum volunteers learned to tie knots.

With training, which includes a special class that begins every January, you, too, can help operate the replica 19th century schooner Californian; the replica 18th century British Frigate HMS Surprise; the 19th century three-masted Bark Star of India; the replica 16th century Spanish Galleon San Salvador; and the 20th century steam yacht Medea.

Learn all about this incredible opportunity by clicking here!

Retired? No problem? A student? No problem. Don’t know anything about ships or sailing? No problem!

Begin this adventure and you’ll learn nautical skills and acquire knowledge that very few people share.

Afraid of climbing high into a tall ship’s rigging? No problem! When operating these historic ships, there’s plenty to do down on deck, too!

This afternoon I spoke to Jim, First Mate of Star of India, and absorbed all sorts of interesting information. He told me there’s something new to learn at the Maritime Museum every single day. And he’s been with the museum now for almost 50 years! (He started out working in the gift shop!)

Interested? Begin your adventure of a lifetime now, by clicking here. You’ll even have a chance to help sail the beautiful Star of India herself, when next she goes out to sea, in November 2023!

That would make for one amazing memory.

Two beautiful tall ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, Star of India and Californian, head out into the Pacific Ocean.
Two beautiful tall ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, Star of India and Californian, head out into the Pacific Ocean.

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 missed Red Shoe Day? Donate online!

It’s Red Shoe Day in San Diego!

Volunteers hanging out at busy intersections this morning were collecting donations for the Ronald McDonald House, which helps sick kids who are being treated at local hospitals, providing a nearby place for their families to stay!

Did you miss an opportunity to place some money in a red shoe this morning? Well, you can donate online. Do it here!

Thank you!

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!

Become an advocate for Balboa Park!

Balboa Park contains endless scenes of amazing beauty.

Do you love Balboa Park?

Would you like to support San Diego’s beautiful, amazing crown jewel, PLUS get exclusive Balboa Park insider emails, learn about volunteer opportunities, enjoy picnic meet ups, AND get a free Forever Balboa Park enamel pin?

Then become an official advocate of Balboa Park. It’s free!

Click here to sign up!

Or, if you’d like, you can support Balboa Park financially with a sustaining membership.

Your gift allows Forever Balboa Park to grow our robust volunteer corps, including Garden Stewards, Park Ambassadors, Tree Stewards, Info Desk Volunteers…revitalize, restore and enhance Balboa Park’s historic gardens, landscapes and public spaces towards best in class conditions…enables us to provide a world-class visitor experience through creative placemaking, maps, guides, tours, information, and critical amenities in the House of Hospitality…

I signed up to be an advocate. Will you join me?

Learn all about the program here!

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!

Smiling new volunteer at Maritime Museum!

Today was Samantha’s first day volunteering at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. From one who is a big fan of the museum–thank you!

I walked slowly around the museum’s historic ships in the early afternoon, watching Sunday volunteers at work, and learned a few new things. There’s always something different and interesting to discover here!

As you can see, along with Samantha, many were working to maintain the Star of India.

Applying a clear UV-resistant acrylic to the main deck of Star of India.
Volunteering, and being members of a sail crew, seems to produce smiles!
Out on the museum’s barge, I saw the Robert Sharp is now pink! Don’t worry, I was told, that’s just a primer coat.
Hammering away on the Star of India’s forward capstan.
A group was setting out on a Sunday sailing adventure aboard tall ship Californian.
I haven’t yet enjoyed a Californian sailing adventure, but I promise to, one day. Looks incredible!
There she goes!

Stay tuned for more photos from Chula Vista, Allied Gardens, La Jolla . . . and who knows where else!

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!

Join the San Diego River March in Mission Valley!

A beautiful morning photo of the San Diego River taken from Mission Center Road. This spot often floods and traffic must be diverted.

Would you like to help clean up the San Diego River? There’s a volunteer event coming up that might interest you!

I was in Mission Valley this morning when I saw a poster promoting the First Annual San Diego River March. This coffee, walk and cleanup is being put on by the Ecological Servants Project, a newly formed organization based in El Cajon.

The founder of the Ecological Servants Project writes in a newsletter how his difficult life was transformed, in part by an encounter with nature’s boundless beauty. He came to understand that life itself is beautiful.

I do know the San Diego River could use many helping hands.

The date for the volunteer cleanup is Friday, March 18, 2022.

You can find all of the details at their website here!

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!

Project Reo and three beautiful murals!

During my walk down Reo Drive in Paradise Hills last weekend I came upon three large, very beautiful murals. I snapped photos, of course!

I’ve since learned of Project Reo, an organization of active neighborhood families who have worked to improve and beautify the small business district along Reo Drive. Their work has included the painting of murals!

To the eyes of a curious guy walking through the community, those positive efforts are clearly successful!

You can learn more about Project Reo and the history of Paradise Hills by reading a great article here.

Large, colorful flowers greet those passing the Los Tapatios Mexican Food restaurant.
An abstract sun at La Palapa Market. The title of this mural is Radiating Vibrance. It is one of three large murals painted by students and local volunteers, under the guidance of Enrique Lugo, an art teacher in Chula Vista.
Painted cacti and succulents at the corner of Reo Drive and Cumberland Street.
Empanada lady, painted on west side of the same building at a later time by San Diego artist Shirish Villaseñor.

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!

Sparks, scrapes and chisels at the Maritime Museum!

Lots of fascinating activity today at the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

As I walked about, I noticed volunteers and sail crew members were working on several very different vessels in the museum’s world-famous collection.

Sparks were flying from the black sail of the B-39 Soviet-era Russian submarine. Its life, sadly, has come to an end. Preparations are underway to tow the badly rusted Foxtrot-class diesel electric submarine to Mexico where it will be scrapped.

After watching guys using a torch on the sub’s outer hull, I walked to the far end of the Maritime Museum’s barge where the Robert Sharp’s stern was being restored. A friendly worker with a heat gun was crackling old varnish, which was then scraped off.

When I stepped onto the deck of the historic steam yacht Medea, I noticed a woodworker carefully repairing the boat’s wooden rail where it had split.

The elegant Medea has a fascinating history.

Did you know that, in addition to Medea being a pleasure yacht that cruised the isles and lochs of Scotland, it was used by France during World War I, and by the British Royal Navy and Norwegian Navy during World War II?

Learn much more here!

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!