Walking to the end of amazing Scripps Pier!

The long Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, jutting into the Pacific Ocean north of La Jolla Shores, is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The research pier is utilized by scientists and students who strive to learn more about our environment and the diverse life within it.

The public is usually restricted from going onto Scripps Pier, but those who register for a once-a-month tour get the opportunity to walk out to its very end. And that’s what I did today!

The tour–every second Saturday of the month (register here)–begins in front of the historic Scripps Building, then circles around several additional campus buildings until it reaches the foot of the pier. As our group walked along, the knowledgeable tour guide told us about the origin and history of the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and how its environmental and biological research benefits us all.

Then we came to the amazing pier and our sense of wonder grew…

The original wooden pier, built in 1916 with funding from Ellen Browning Scripps, was destroyed in 1983 by an El Niño powered storm. The current modern pier was built in 1988. Today it’s considered one of the world’s largest research piers.

Looking back at the foot of the pier we could see these tank-like water filters.

At the end of Scripps Pier is a pump station. The pier slopes slightly upward as you walk to its end. The reason? So that the freshly pumped seawater, propelled by gravity, will run down a covered trough that stretches along one side of the long pier.

The water, carefully filtered, is then used in the Scripps research labs on shore.

Walking out on the pier high over the beach, looking south toward La Jolla Shores. That’s the Village of La Jolla and La Jolla Cove jutting in the distance.

Now we’re gazing north toward the distant sandstone cliffs of Torrey Pines State Beach.

Many surfers were out today! A sunny San Diego day in December.

Looking back toward a portion of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus. (Scripps is a part of UC San Diego.)

We observed lots of guitarfish in the water below. When you’re swimming or surfing, you don’t necessarily see all that marine life beneath you!

Amazing views can be enjoyed from Scripps Pier. Looking down, we saw numerous surfers waiting for that perfect wave on either side of the pier.

We followed our tour guide to a group of container-like structures that were recently placed on Scripps Pier. Together they constitute a mobile facility that will be used for a one year atmospheric study by the U.S. Department of Energy.

A wide variety of scientific instruments, including radar, lidar, sky imagers and radiometers will measure cloud formation, reflectivity and other atmospheric phenomena.

We are approaching the end of Scripps Pier, where that prominent gray structure houses a seawater pump.

All sorts of small boats are kept near the end of the pier, where they can be lowered into the ocean to carry out research.

Notice something shaped like a Christmas tree atop the pump structure ahead? It lights up during the Holiday Season! (As do swags of lights along the length of the pier.)

Lifting a lid from that long trough that channels the pumped seawater gravitationally down the pier’s length. We saw barnacles, mussels and a live crab skittering around! (You can understand why those filters are necessary at the foot of the pier.)

There’s additional filtration near the pump!

I believe this device filters out the larger objects from the pumped seawater, before the water heads down the long trough. You can see some slimy seaweed stuck in it.

From this crane boats can be lowered to the ocean surface. On the left you can see the cage-like entrance to a descending ladder.

Our tour group came upon several people in wetsuits, just back from a dive!

A super friendly graduate student explained how they had dived at an artificial reef off Black’s Beach, to the north, near the Torrey Pines Gliderport. They photographed abundant sea life.

The wet spot is from their boat that was recently lifted!

That’s one long ladder down to the water!

I noticed many instruments on the roof of the pump structure, including antennas and wind gages.

And to one side is the Scripps Osprey Platform! (You can see it near the center of this photograph.)

A plaque on the pump structure. The Scripps Osprey Platform is dedicated to Art Cooley, a scientist who helped save the Osprey, Bald Eagle and Brown Pelican.

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I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Beautiful views at Sea Cliff Park in Del Mar.

A small pocket park by the ocean in Del Mar provides visitors with very beautiful views.

Sea Cliff Park is located immediately south of Powerhouse Park, and west of Seagrove Park, which is situated on the bluffs above it.

The unmarked entrance to Sea Cliff Park is a swinging gate. It leads from Powerhouse Park to a dirt path and a small, easy walking loop. The gate is just south of what Google Maps calls the Powerhouse Playground.

The drought tolerant vegetation of Sea Cliff Park is native to our coastal region. I discovered several plaques as I walked about, taking in the scenery. Two plaques were dedicated to loved ones.

I walked the short distance south to where the main path ascends to the railroad tracks. Then I turned back.

Surfers were out on the cloudy late November day. Looking down at the beach from the bluffs, I saw tide pools! I’ll have to explore them some day…

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to 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!

Oil painted beauty and a La Jolla walk.

Nature’s beauty between La Jolla Cove and Children’s Pool is stunning. Even on a gray Autumn day.

I walked along the ocean in La Jolla this morning and took photographs of rugged rocks, crashing waves, sea birds, and people quietly gazing toward the horizon.

Once in a great while I will experiment with my images and apply “artistic” filters using my graphics editor. I thought I’d try using the GIMP oilify filter for this batch of photographs.

Here they are…

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!

National Wildlife Refuge Week in San Diego!

A very special event was held today at the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. National Wildlife Refuge Week was celebrated! And the public was freely invited!

I arrived around noontime and started down the refuge’s nature paths toward San Diego Bay.

At one station near a brackish wetland pond, a friendly ranger was inviting kids (and curious adults) to play Bird Bingo! How many wild birds could visitors spot? I saw a beautiful Snowy Egret.

At a second station, rangers were encouraging people to dip a net into the nearby water. Netted plankton was then observed under magnification!

The event was a fun opportunity to learn about the value of wildlife refuges, where animal and plant life–some of which is endangered–can thrive undisturbed. And where we humans can reconnect with nature, absorbing all that goodness that awaits us in wild places.

San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge consists of the Sweetwater Marsh and South San Diego Bay Units, preserving coastal salt marsh and intertidal mudflat habitat.

What’s in here?

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Living Coast Discovery Center, SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife are working together on a captive propagation program to rear the endangered light-footed Ridgway’s rail…

I checked out the Bird Bingo first.

A Snowy Egret hunts for food in the pond.

Now heading through the wildlife refuge toward the Plankton Netting activity. I see downtown San Diego in the distance.

A curious kid was netting microscopic specimens.

At the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge today, there was much to experience and learn!

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!

Morning at the International Dragon Boat Race!

Today is the second and final day of the 11th Annual San Diego International Dragon Boat Race. Lots of action can be seen out on Mission Bay!

Enthusiastic teams from across the nation (including Southern and Northern California, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota and New York) plus international teams (I noted Vancouver, Canada) have come together on this sunny San Diego weekend to race in traditional dragon boats.

I arrived at the event in the early morning just as things were getting started. Team members were stretching and warming up, the boat captains were having their meeting, and then the action began!

As the first boats paddled out to the starting line, just beyond the dock of the San Diego Mission Bay Resort, a group of Scouts presented the colors for the National Anthem.

Then here came the dragon boats, each team furiously paddling to the beat of a big drum!

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!

A sunny Labor Day walk along the Embarcadero.

Please enjoy photographs taken today of a sunny Labor Day walk along San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Labor Day usually draws huge crowds to the waterfront. But this year the boardwalk was relatively uncrowded. I suppose the heat wave might have something to do with that, plus the fact the Embarcadero had no big Labor Day events scheduled this year.

I began with a visit to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. I then walked south to the pier at Embarcadero Marina Park South…

A sunlit sailboat on San Diego Bay, seen through the rigging of famous tall ship Star of India.

These guys were “learning the ropes” aboard Star of India. Sailors handling complicated tall ships have much to learn and remember.

Across Harbor Drive, the exterior of the County Administration Building is receiving a new paint job.

Inside the passenger deck of the Maritime Museum’s historic steam ferry Berkeley, a new drink called Aguas Frescas was being promoted by Minute Maid. Thirsty from the heat outside, I greedily guzzled two!

Walking south along the boardwalk past Portside Pier. It appears many others were also thirsty for refreshment.

Pollution Control Vessel Seaward Endeavor docked at the San Diego Cruise Ship Terminal. A multi-function ship for charter recently acquired by Hornblower, Seaward Endeavor was originally commissioned in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

People wait in line to board either the Coronado ferry or a San Diego harbor cruise–I didn’t pay close enough attention.

A Flagship harbor cruise heads out into the bay past USS Midway.

In the distance, docked at North Island, I see two active aircraft carriers: the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS Carl Vinson.

A young audience is captivated by the singing of friendly street musician Gary Reid.

Lots of vendors were set up for Labor Day near the USS Midway Museum.

All sorts of wares are displayed on tables along the boardwalk.

An artist had painted San Diego landmark statue Embracing Peace, often referred to as The Kiss.

A churro and esquites vendor pushes his food cart into place.

Embracing Peace, a sculpture based on an iconic 1945 photograph taken in Times Square at the end of World War II. The huge statue by Seward Johnson was originally called Ultimate Surrender.

Looking past a bronze service member, part of the “National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military” public artwork near The Fish Market restaurant.

Some people are partying out on the water.

Beyond the USS San Diego Memorial, construction continues on one of the new RaDD (Research and Development District) buildings.

Heading past Ruocco Park and Tuna Harbor toward Seaport Village. No huge crowds this Labor Day.

Almost to Seaport Village.

Folks pose by a Seaport Village fountain surrounded by touristy shops.

They say Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, so these Autumn-themed banners at the Alamo Flag shop should be popular.

Pink flamingos and beach lounges facing the bright blue water, however, mean summer!

Passengers get ready to board a San Diego Seal Tour. They’ll drive to Shelter Island and enter the water via a boat ramp there.

Musicians play to empty tables at Seaport Village.

Continuing my leisurely walk toward the Marriott Marina.

The silvery Marriott Marquis shines as usual.

A ladder way up there! A strange photo, right?

A perfect day to skate between the San Diego Convention Center and the Rady Shell.

And a perfect day to kayak, too!

An easy (but very warm) Labor Day walk arrives at the fishing pier at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

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!

One very cool place on a very hot day!

This Labor Day weekend we’re experiencing a big heat wave in San Diego.

Many are taking refuge indoors, relying on air-conditioning or fans. Others, who’d rather be outside, are heading to the beaches.

But there’s one outdoor place that’s even cooler than a beach. A pier! Particularly the always very “cool” Ocean Beach Pier!

Walk along the OB Pier’s nearly 2000 foot length and feel the refreshing sea breeze. Perhaps stop halfway out at the Walking On Water Cafe to grab a lemonade or ice cream.

Look at the banners flutter in the wind as gulls wheel overhead!

At the Ocean Beach pier’s end you are well out over the water. The ocean-cooled air is inviting, invigorating. The one cooler spot would be straight down, surfing or swimming.

And to think those people on the beach are practically frying on the sand!

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!

Beautiful fountain at Herrick Community Health Library.

A beautiful fountain invites meditation near the entrance to the Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library in La Mesa. I discovered it by pure chance while walking in La Mesa last weekend.

And, to my surprise, I learned the fountain, topped by a sculpture, is by none other than James Hubbell, whose mosaics also grace nearby Briercrest Park!

This public art in the Community Health Library’s outdoor courtyard is titled Moving Circles (O’s on the plaque). Water runs from the sculpture, then drips down from rugged stonework into a blue basin, where a watery mosaic ripples in the sunlight.

Moving Circles is dated 2002. I was told this particular project by renowned artist James Hubbell was separate from his work at Briercrest Park.

If you’d like to see those nearby park mosaics, which are also amazing, I took photographs of them, too. I posted those pics 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!

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!

Another stunning sunset behind tall ships!

Another stunning sunset in San Diego this evening.

I was walking downtown, along the Embarcadero, when the sun descended into storm clouds beyond Point Loma. The clouds had turned golden near the horizon.

I took these photographs with several tall ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego in the foreground.

I never tire of cool sights like this!

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!

Bright landscapes from memory in Balboa Park.

How would you illustrate your own memories?

An exhibition of art at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s Balboa Park features the “memories” of graphic designer Shuichi Hashimoto.

Should you walk into the garden’s Exhibit Hall, you’ll discover flowers and mountains and clouds and cities, composed quilt-like from many bright fragments. The exhibit is titled Moisture and Light–Landscape in the Memory.

The inspired creator of this unique beauty, Shuichi Hashimoto, is based in Osaka, Japan. According to the JFG website: Hashimoto believes that the persistent rain combined with the humid environment influenced the diverse culture of Japan.

One can see how streaks of light and drops of water in his artwork seem to shimmer and bubble throughout the bright memories.

As I looked upon these abstract landscapes, it seemed I was peering through windows spattered with sunlit raindrops.

You can experience these fantastic memories, too, at the Japanese Friendship Garden through May 7, 2022.

Enjoy a few examples…

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!