Colorful nature painted near Fiesta Island.

I discovered some colorful artwork last weekend during my walk around Mission Bay!

As I headed north along East Mission Bay Drive just past the entrance to Fiesta Island, approaching Tecolote Creek, I saw that images from nature had been painted on the low barrier that separates the small parking lot from the walking path. I spotted birds and fish and whales and flowers and all sorts of marine wildlife and native critters.

It appeared all of nature had gathered at my feet!

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!

An amazing Wyland mural cruises into San Diego!

An amazing, gigantic mural by the renowned artist Wyland cruised into San Diego this morning! The mural, titled Cruising with the Whales, is painted on the bow of the positively enormous cruise ship Norwegian Bliss, which was diverted into San Diego due to Hurricane Willa off Mexico.

Robert Wyland, who is based in Laguna Beach and Hawaii, has several works of marine art on display around San Diego. I’ve photographed a few of them, which can be spotted here, here and here.

Welcome to Earth and Imperial Beach!

An astronaut gives a Hang Loose hand signal as he hovers near a satellite high above planet Earth!
An astronaut gives a Hang Loose hand signal as he hovers near a satellite high above planet Earth!

Head into Imperial Beach along Palm Avenue and you’ll be treated to colorful art!

Here are some photos that I took yesterday!

A very cool space mural on one side of the AT&T building on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. By artists Todd Stands and Dave Frink.
A very cool space mural on one side of the AT&T building on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. By artists Todd Stands and Dave Frink.
As drivers head west down Palm Avenue, a mural featuring a gray whale welcomes them to Imperial Beach.
As drivers head west down Palm Avenue, a mural featuring a gray whale welcomes them to Imperial Beach.
Art on fence between Palm Avenue and the old salt ponds of south San Diego Bay, now part of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Reserve.
Art on fence between Palm Avenue and the old salt ponds of south San Diego Bay, now part of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Reserve.
One side of the AT&T building at 13th Street has colorful, spiritual jellyfish that seem to communicate electrically!
One side of the AT&T building at 13th Street has colorful, spiritual jellyfish that seem to communicate electrically!
The mural on the front of the AT&T building includes a big whale.
The mural on the front of the AT&T building includes a big whale.
And lots of super colorful shore birds.
And lots of super colorful shore birds.
Beautiful public art welcomes visitors to Imperial Beach.
Beautiful public art welcomes visitors to Imperial Beach.
Another whale in the mural.
Another whale in the mural.
A pod of dolphins swims across an electrical box.
A pod of dolphins swims across an electrical box.
More beautiful street art.
More beautiful street art.
I spotted a couple of native Eastern Pacific green sea turtles across Palm Avenue near 12th Street!
I spotted a couple of native Eastern Pacific green sea turtles across Palm Avenue near 12th Street!
Carly Ealey painted Cosmic Tides in Imperial Beach for Pangeaseed's Sea Walls Murals for Oceans.
Carly Ealey painted Cosmic Tides in Imperial Beach for Pangeaseed’s Sea Walls Murals for Oceans.

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!

Sea life mosaics at Solana Beach bus station!

Small sea creatures made of ceramic swim about a tile mosaic bench at a bus station in Solana Beach.
Small sea creatures made of ceramic swim about a tile mosaic bench at a bus station in Solana Beach.

Check out these colorful benches at a Solana Beach bus station on Pacific Coast Highway!

Passengers waiting for a North County Transit BREEZE bus at this station are surrounded by all sorts of sea creatures in the form of ceramic tiles. You can find the public art just north of Lomas Santa Fe Drive, on the west side of the Solana Beach train station. Bicyclists heading down Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail can also pause to enjoy the artwork.

The fun mosaics, decorating 11 concrete benches, were created by artist Michelle Griffoul.

Here are photos from several benches that you might enjoy!

Two of eleven concrete benches decorated with images of marine life on Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Lomas Santa Fe Drive.
Two of eleven concrete benches decorated with images of marine life on Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Lomas Santa Fe Drive.
A colorful fish, shell and seahorse among small blue tiles.
A colorful fish, shell and seahorse among small blue tiles.
Sit here and you can ride a dolphin that is swimming among abundant sea life.
Sit here and you can ride a dolphin that is swimming among abundant sea life.
More fun public artwork at a Solana Beach bus station.
More fun public artwork at a Solana Beach bus station.
Butterflies! It appears that not all of the images concern aquatic life.
Butterflies! It appears that not all of the images concern aquatic life.
More fish in their watery element.
More fish in their watery element.
More beautiful artwork at the bus station.
More beautiful artwork at the bus station.
A bike rider rolls past public art. This station is part of the Coastal Rail Trail in San Diego's North County.
A bike rider rolls past public art. This station is part of the Coastal Rail Trail in San Diego’s North County.
So much sea life it seems we're somewhere out in the nearby Pacific Ocean.
So much sea life it seems we’re somewhere out in the nearby Pacific Ocean.
A small school of beautiful fish swimming in blue tiles.
A small school of beautiful fish swimming in blue tiles.
Enjoy The Path.
Enjoy The Path.
The sun is shining atop this bench.
The sun is shining atop this bench.
I've spotted a whale!
I’ve spotted a whale!

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 phone or 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.

Cool environmental mural on Commercial Street.

Cool artwork painted by Dolan Stearns for the PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project in 2016 depicts the harmful presence of non-biodegradable plastic trash in the oceans.
Cool artwork painted by Dolan Stearns for the PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project in 2016 depicts the harmful presence of non-biodegradable plastic trash in the oceans.

I got off the Orange Line trolley the other day to capture photos of some cool street art on Commercial Street just east of 20th Street.

Like many other PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans artwork that one can spot around San Diego, this one has an environmental message about taking care of the ocean. The mural, which illustrates the harmful effects of plastic pollution on marine life, was painted in 2016 by Dolan Stearns.

The left side of the mural shows an ugly yellow head spewing pollution into the water.
The left side of the mural shows a big, ugly yellow head spewing pollution into the water.
The right side of the mural features a large pink whale.
The right side of the mural features a large pink whale.
The three-eyed whale has a mouthful of plastic junk.
The three-eyed whale has a mouthful of plastic bags, bottles, cups and junk.
The yellow human head, topped by city buildings and a smokestack, vomits disgusting trash into the blue ocean.
The yellow human head, topped by city buildings and a smokestack, vomits disgusting waste into the blue 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 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!

Sea Shepherd in San Diego after protecting Vaquita Porpoise.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's old Coast Guard patrol boat, renamed M/V Farley Mowat, is docked this weekend on San Diego's Embarcadero.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s old Coast Guard patrol boat, renamed M/V Farley Mowat, is docked this weekend on San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Yesterday after work, I noticed that an unusually decorated old U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat was docked along the Embarcadero, just north of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Naturally, I had to investigate!

Turns out the renamed boat, M/V Farley Mowat, is now owned and operated by an organization called the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, whose stated mission is to defend, conserve and protect marine ecosystems and species. They use direct-action tactics to expose and confront the illegal slaughter of marine wildlife at sea. I’d seen their exhibit aboard the steam ferry Berkeley during Earth Day on the Bay, where their representative explained that Sea Shepherd was like Greenpeace on steroids.

I spoke to a friendly crewmember near the Farley Mowat and learned they would be offering the public free tours on Saturday. The vessel has just returned from its second mission in the Sea of Cortez off Baja California–the wildlife defense campaign was titled Operation Milagro II. For a number of months, Sea Shepherd worked with the Mexican government in a marine refuge near San Felipe to identify and intercept illegal gillnet fishing which has reduced the population of the rare Vaquita Porpoise over the decades to just about 100 animals. This is commendable work! Sea Shepherd not only has permission from the Mexican government to patrol for poachers and pull up illegal fishing nets when encountered, but they are making observations concerning this endangered marine species. They are doing similar work to protect another rare fish in the region: the Totoaba Bass.

Working within the law in a positive way to protect these species is commendable and extraordinary! After doing some research at home, however, I learned that the organization is quite controversial. Some say they go too far. Some, including other environmental activists and organizations, have called them eco-terrorists. I don’t know enough to comment, but I do know that sometimes people with enthusiastic agendas and a sense of urgent purpose can lose their sense of humanity. The people I met yesterday and this morning when I walked again along the Embarcadero seemed like very nice people. I will say no more.

A very friendly, informative crewmember of Farley Mowat explained their recently completed mission, which was to defend the Vaquita Porpoise in Mexico's Sea of Cortez.
A very friendly, informative crewmember of Farley Mowat explained their recently completed mission, which was to defend the Vaquita Porpoise in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez.
Photograph of M/V Farley Mowat the following cloudy morning. Visitors were being given tours aboard the vessel.
Photograph of M/V Farley Mowat the following cloudy morning. Visitors were being given tours aboard the vessel.
Interested people and crew mingle before boarding the Sea Shepherd boat in San Diego.
Interested people and crew mingle before boarding the Sea Shepherd’s cool boat.  Public tours of M/V Farley Mowat are being offered this weekend in San Diego.
Looks like kids made some Thank You signs for Sea Shepherd!
Looks like kids made some Thank You signs for Sea Shepherd!
A tent near the boat featured gifts and information in support of Sea Shepherd. Defending Ocean Wildlife Worldwide.
A tent near the boat featured gifts and information in support of Sea Shepherd. Defending Ocean Wildlife Worldwide.
A detailed poster explains why sea turtles should be defended. Click to enlarge. San Diego's South Bay has its own small group of migratory green sea turtles.
A detailed poster explains why sea turtles should be defended. Click to enlarge. San Diego’s South Bay has its own small group of migratory green sea turtles.
Sea Shepherd stops in San Diego. They were featured in Animal Planet's television show Whale Wars. Farley Mowat will soon be on its way to another location on the high seas.
Sea Shepherd stops in San Diego. They were featured in Animal Planet’s television show Whale Wars. M/V Farley Mowat will soon be on its way to another location on the high seas.

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

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Take a San Diego Eco Tour . . . and benefit local students!

You can go kayaking on a cool Eco Tour and try to spot green sea turtles in San Diego's South Bay! Image courtesy of Ocean Connectors. Photograph by Harry Orgovan.
You can go kayaking on a cool Eco Tour and try to spot green sea turtles in San Diego’s South Bay! Image courtesy of Ocean Connectors. Photograph by Harry Orgovan.

If you’d like to take a cool San Diego Eco Tour, check this out!

At last weekend’s Earth Day on the Bay, I learned about some awesome Eco Tours on San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Experienced guides take you by kayak around the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge to search for green sea turtles, or by bicycle around San Diego Bay to view all sorts of migratory birds, or by boat off our coast to spot gray whales and other marine life! These tours are provided by Ocean Connectors.

Why am I blogging about this? What makes these tours so amazingly cool? Ocean Connectors uses the money they make from their San Diego Eco Tours to directly benefit local students! Every year, Ocean Connectors introduces hundreds of kids in the National City School District to the beautiful natural world along San Diego’s coast, educating them about migratory wildlife and stewardship of the environment–all at no cost!

That’s right! Thousands of students in Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Grades have had an experience of a lifetime thanks to Ocean Connectors. In their formative years, these young people, many from low-income situations, have ventured out from the city and have experienced profound wonders they otherwise might have missed. They are taken on fun and inspiring educational field trips that are sometimes described as the best day of their lives!

Thanks to Ocean Connectors, local school students can learn about marine wildlife during a whale watching tour off the San Diego coast. Image courtesy of Ocean Connectors. Photograph by Ralph Pace.
Thanks to Ocean Connectors, local school students can learn about marine wildlife during a whale watching tour off the San Diego coast. Image courtesy of Ocean Connectors. Photograph by Ralph Pace.

Seeing green sea turtles, wild birds taking flight, and majestic gray whales out on the wide blue water deeply affects a young person’s view of the world, teaches one about the web of life, helps one to grow into a thoughtful, responsible adult. I know this is true. Because I had a similar experience when I was growing up.

Back in junior high school, I went on a sea adventure with some classmates along Alaska’s Inland Passage. I saw breaching humpback whales, bald eagles, even an orca. That memory is still vivid in my mind. That unforgettable experience broadened my horizons, made me appreciate the wonders of nature, gave me a sense of belonging to a larger world, a world that should be carefully preserved. I’ve been an avid hiker and lover of the outdoors during my adult life, and I have no doubt my own personal adventure those many years ago is one big reason why.

So . . . have you been considering having your own unforgettable adventure in ecotourism? Would you like to possibly spot one of the 60 green sea turtles that spend part of their lives feeding on eel grass in San Diego’s South Bay? Would you like to bike around the Bayshore Bikeway and see hundreds, even thousands of wild birds? (And some are quite rare!) Would you like to head out onto the ocean with trained, knowledgeable naturalists, and see gray whales, dolphins, and a huge variety of other sea mammals and coastal wildlife?

Ocean Connectors’ mission is to educate, inspire and connect people to the outdoors. And one of those people could be YOU!

Click here to have your own unique Eco Tour in San Diego. Book a tour, and you’ll benefit kids in San Diego’s South Bay! It’s a win-win!

Someone learns about the amazing Eco Tours and the educational programs provided by Ocean Connectors during Earth Bay on the Bay at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Someone learns about the amazing Eco Tours and the educational programs provided by Ocean Connectors during Earth Bay on the Bay at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

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