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!

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!

Evening storm clouds from the Cabrillo Bridge.

Enjoy this collection of photographs that I took yesterday evening, as I walked into Balboa Park across the Cabrillo Bridge.

The sun was setting and clouds were darkening as a storm rolled in. The early October storm would produce spectacular lightning all around San Diego.

As I began east across the Cabrillo Bridge, the California Tower was illuminated by the very last rays of sunlight. I periodically turned west to catch sunset color above Bankers Hill.

Knowing that rain was on the way, I debated heading back home. I’m so thankful I didn’t. Because the lightning-filled concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion turned out to be something very rare and special–likely one of the most extraordinary concerts in the organ’s 106 year history. Yesterday I blogged about that experience 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!

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Leaves begin turning by the river.

Today is the first day of Autumn. The days are becoming noticeably shorter.

A few leaves down by the San Diego River have already begun to turn. Even through the weather has been hot due to our current Santa Ana conditions, the trees know summer is over.

I took a couple photos of Fremont cottonwood leaves changing their color in Mission Valley this morning. Some yellow has begun showing in all the green.

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!

A water saving demonstration landscape in La Mesa.

If you live in San Diego and love having a beautiful, lush garden in your yard, but also want to save water, there’s a fine demonstration landscape full of drought tolerant native plants, trees and flowers you can check out in La Mesa. The demonstration landscape can be found on two sides of the Helix Water District building at 7811 University Avenue.

I enjoyed looking at the demonstration garden last weekend and took photographs. According to a sign, water can be saved by not only planting vegetation native to the San Diego region, or well suited to our arid climate, but by installing a drip irrigation system under a layer of mulch to prevent evaporation. A smart irrigation controller can adjust watering times based on the weather.

Having such a WaterSmart landscape can help “beautiful plants and trees thrive on half, a third, or a fifth of the water a traditional lawn needs.”

If you can’t make it to La Mesa, go to the Helix Water Districts’ website and check out their Sustainable Landscape page here. You’ll find lots of great ideas, including numerous plants that you might use!

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!

Dramatic clouds reflected from windows!

After I got off from work today, a little before sunset, the sky above Mission Valley was full of dramatic clouds. The weather has been unsettled lately.

As I walked past two tall glassy buildings, dark gray and bright white cumulus clouds in a blue sky were mirrored in the windows…

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!

Walking through Little Italy in morning rain.

This morning I walked through Little Italy in a light rain.

Holding my camera under a big umbrella, these are the images I captured…

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!

Photos of high winds downtown.

San Diego is now experiencing very unsettled winter weather. High winds, rain, even thunderstorms and a funnel cloud or two. Lots of snow in the mountains to the east.

Today the wind throughout downtown was unusually strong. Especially by the water. Not quite the devastating winds we experienced one night five years ago, when numerous boats were driven into the rocks along the Embaracadero and sank. (You can see those tragic photographs here.)

But I saw flags flapping wildly, palm trees bending as if they were made of rubber, and I had to constantly hold onto my hat!

When I reached San Diego Bay, which is usually calm, I was surprised by the stormy, foaming waves. It always amazes me that deep water can be disturbed powerfully by wind along its surface.

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!

More ghostly photos of downtown fog.

I must confess I love taking photographs in fog. Especially a downtown fog, that can swallow large buildings whole!

Often the tops of high skyscrapers melt into a ghostly gray nothingness.

Well, as you can see, it was rather foggy this morning in San Diego!

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!

A foggy Labor Day morning by the water.

After two days of sweltering heat in downtown San Diego, early this morning it was nice and cool. Fog had rolled in from the Pacific Ocean overnight. Perfect for a long Labor Day morning walk!

I set out very early while most of the city was asleep. Once the sun had risen and there was sufficient light for photographs, I took out my camera. The fog lingered throughout my walk. The sun was just breaking through as I arrived home mid-morning.

These photos begin at the G Street Pier, where several fishermen were already up and getting ready for another day out on the wide ocean. I proceeded around Tuna Harbor, through Ruocco Park and Seaport Village, did a loop through Embarcadero Marina Park North, continued past the Marriott Marina, and ended up near the fishing pier at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

I haven’t captioned these photos. I like how the fog provides a sense of mystery. But you might notice construction continues on the San Diego Symphony’s new outdoor summer concert venue, The Shell.

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!