A beautiful mural full of hope in City Heights!

A beautiful mural was painted last month in City Heights that is full of hope. You can find it on the side of Corey’s Market Liquor at the corner of University Avenue and 36th Street.

Created by artists Melody Del Los Cobos (@chicanalilly) and Armand Montiel (@artbyarmand), this is the 30th mural of the ever-growing #theavenuemuralproject drive-through art gallery, which stretches along University Avenue between Interstates 805 and 15.

A whale in the vast lonely ocean gives life to a tree, and has its own lighthouse for direction. It is swimming into butterflies, a symbol of transformation. There is always hope and new life lurking there within one’s own self.

To the left of the whale mural is a small tree painted red, white and blue. It is the work of Skyler Montiel.

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!

Gray whales breach at Birch Aquarium!

Have you seen those huge gray whales breaching in La Jolla? They emerge from a pool of water near the front entrance of Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography!

The impressive whale sculptures stopped me in my tracks during my visit to the aquarium a couple weekends ago. Together they are titled The Legacy. This awe-inspiring public art was created by artist Randy Puckett.

According to his website: “At the time of its installation in 1996, THE LEGACY was the only life size bronze sculpture in the world of any of the large whales: at 39 feet 10 inches tall, it was the second largest bronze sculpture ever cast in the U.S. This life size work features a breaching Gray Whale and calf, and the diving tail of a third Gray Whale displayed in two fountains….”

Families and kids approaching Birch Aquarium from the nearby parking lot are absolutely wowed by these monumental sculptures. You understand the immense size of a gray whale when you stand right next to them.

I noticed two identical plaques placed at The Legacy…

In Memoriam Edward W. “Ted” Scripps II

“I have long hoped to do something for the institution. I seem to have the same salt in my veins as did my grandfather.”

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

UCSD

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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Amazing look at a gray whale off San Diego!

Today I went on an amazing winter whale watching adventure!

We were able to watch a gray whale as it migrated south toward Mexico along the coast of San Diego!

I and other passengers aboard the Adventure Hornblower tour ship left San Diego Bay as the sun broke through morning clouds, and we set about searching for whales and other marine wildlife off Point Loma.

Not only did we get a great view of a gray whale repeatedly surfacing, spouting, then fluking before its longer dives, but we spotted a pod of feeding dolphins out on the beautiful Pacific Ocean, too!

I must say the crew of the Adventure Hornblower was super nice and provided a really memorable experience!

Here come my photographs…

As I waited on the Embarcadero for our departure, I was able to rest on a bench and regard our whale watching ship, the Adventure Hornblower.
Looking back at the city as we head across San Diego Bay toward the ocean.
As we cruised down the channel, we got a good look at beautiful Point Loma.
I see two iconic landmarks in San Diego! The Old Point Loma Lighthouse, and the slender statue of Cabrillo to the right of those Torrey Pine trees.
The end of the Point Loma peninsula. We’re almost out on the wide Pacific Ocean!
We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect early January day. It was a good idea to wear layers and a jacket, however!
Here and there you’d see other boats out on the blue ocean. Those hazy mountains way in the distance are in Mexico.
This big fantastic sailboat had reported seeing a whale. The captains of competing tours cooperate out on the water, sharing their sightings, for the benefit of all.
We’re slowly, carefully nearing a solitary gray whale as it journeys through the ocean.
A spout! The passengers all rushed forward!
Our first look at a fluke!
This gray whale has lots of barnacles! Hence the gray appearance.
We keep following at a safe distance, not wanting to disturb a graceful giant of the deep.
Wow! A great zoom photo of a spout!
The gray whale has spouted, leaving a watery mist above. The enormous mammal begins to dive under again.
Another fluke, which means the gray whale will be submerged for perhaps five minutes.
As we head back in to San Diego after a couple of amazing hours on the ocean, we pass many sailboats heading out. Beyond the one in this photo is Point Loma’s modern lighthouse, down near the water.
The hazy downtown skyline is up ahead in the distance, on the other side of Coronado.
After entering San Diego Bay, we slowly swung by the live bait barge to check out lots of sea lions.
What a life. Catch a few fish, take a lazy nap in the San Diego sunshine.
Getting closer to home.
Back at the Embarcadero. That’s the Coronado Ferry about to dock in front of us.

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!

Bottlenose dolphins off San Diego!

Today I headed out into the wide Pacific Ocean aboard the Adventure Hornblower. We were going to look for whales!

Sometimes you can find blue whales–the planet’s largest animal–feeding at the Nine Mile Bank, which is an underwater mountain range deep in the ocean west of San Diego.

You might recall I went summer whale watching last year. I blogged a good description of what the experience is like here.

We didn’t spot any whales on this unusually foggy, hazy summer’s day, but we observed two pods of dolphins.

The first was a small pod of common dolphins not far from the harbor’s entrance.

About four miles out of San Diego Bay we slowed down to enjoy the view of a large pod of very active bottlenose dolphins! The captain said they appeared to be travelling south together, not feeding. There were some baby dolphins, too, but I failed to capture any good photos of them.

It’s hard to photograph suddenly surfacing or leaping dolphins–at least it is for me and my little camera. I’m usually much too late reacting.

But here come several photos you might enjoy!

The cool thing about whale watching in San Diego, you’re almost guaranteed to see lots of dolphins. And if you don’t see any whales, Hornblower Cruises gives you a voucher to enjoy another free trip!

For me, heading out into the wild, beautiful ocean is an amazing experience every single time.

I got my voucher! Maybe I’ll try again this winter, when numerous gray whales are migrating along our coast!

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!

Underwater mural in Silver Strand tunnel!

Three pedestrian tunnels pass underneath California State Route 75, connecting the west and east sides of Silver Strand State Beach. If you choose to use the south tunnel, you might want to put on some scuba gear!

That tunnel is home of a long, very cool mural that depicts life above the water and beneath it.

Silver Strand State Beach occupies a section of the peninsula between Coronado and Imperial Beach. Much of the life painted in the mural can be observed from the park’s two shores.

Walking along coastal habitat by either the Pacific Ocean or San Diego Bay, you will observe many birds, including snowy plovers, great blue herons, least sandpipers, black skimmers, marbled godwits, long-billed curlews, snowy egrets, endangered California least terns, brown pelicans, seagulls and a variety of ducks.

Out in the water you might also spot surfacing seals and dolphins! But if you want to see a whale up close, you’ll need to dive into the tunnel!

This very cool environmental mural was painted in 2009 by Imperial Beach artist Jaime Rayon, with some help from young members of The Art Kids, in partnership with the nearby Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

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!

Huge blue whale at Wienerschnitzel drive-thru!

Apparently I’m not the only mammal who loves hot dogs and chili cheese fries. There’s a huge blue whale that likes to hang out at the Wienerschnitzel in Point Loma!

I see this exact same whale swimming right next to their drive-thru every time I head down Rosecrans Street!

This very cool whale mural was created by artist Leonardo Nado (@leonardonado.33) back in 2018. I checked out his Instagram page and noticed he really likes to paint whales!

I went on a long walk around Point Loma today, so I had the opportunity to take close up photographs of this street art. Then I walked up to the Weinerschnitzel window and ordered a big chili cheese fries with lots of napkins!

(Maybe I’ll try the craft beer around the building at Goodbar next time. The whale seems to be heading that way.)

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!

Huge whale spotted beside Pacific Highway!

If you’ve ever driven down Pacific Highway south of Old Town, there’s a good chance you’ve spotted an enormous whale!

That whale was painted by muralist Chris Konecki in 2016 for PangeaSeed Foundation’s environmental project Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans. (Many more amazing murals were created by other artists during this same citywide event.)

The big, colorful whale mural is on the side of BJ’s Equipment Rentals, between Wright Street and Estudillo Street. The title of this mural is Just Passing Through. Look closely and you’ll see scuba divers around the whale, either spray painting graffiti on the whale or removing it!

Vandalizing a beautiful living whale would be a horrible thing to do. Endangering these magnificent creatures with pollution in the oceans would be just as reprehensible.

Let’s keep Earth’s oceans clean!

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 summer whale watching trip in San Diego!

Wow! Talk about a fun summer adventure! Today, thanks to Hornblower Cruises and Events, I enjoyed a summer whale watching trip out in the beautiful Pacific Ocean off San Diego!

I and other passengers aboard the Adventure Hornblower cruised out of San Diego Bay and continued many miles west of Point Loma in search of blue whales, the largest animal on planet Earth.

Spotting these enormous mammals, which move through the oceans in a constant pursuit of food, can be a hit or miss proposition, but it was such a sunny, perfect day and the wide ocean was so calm and blue, I didn’t really care what we might happen to discover!

We did see numerous pods of dolphins almost everywhere we turned. They fed and played in the gentle swells nearby, and didn’t seem to mind the big ship full of pointing humans passing overhead.

I took lots of photos, but dolphins break the surface unexpectedly then quickly melt back into the water, so my small camera just managed to get a few decent pics. You have to be there to feel the excitement, not to mention the fresh wind and bright sunshine. It’s an incredible, magical experience!

Had this been a winter whale watching trip, we would likely have seen gray whales as they migrate along the California coast to and from Mexico. During the summer it’s possible to spot a variety of other whales, including blue whales and humpback whales, but these species don’t follow a predictable route of migration.

Our captain took us a good distance out into the open ocean. All hands searched the horizon when we reached the Nine Mile Bank–an underwater mountain range teeming with sea life where blue whales often feed. On our way out we spotted the distant spout of a Fin Whale–the second-largest species on Earth–but were unable to successfully see it up close.

On our way back to San Diego we approached another boat that might have sighted a whale. We turned off our motor and silently drifted in, watching carefully, but we saw only dolphins and a group of feeding gulls and pelicans. The other boat had a drone hovering over the water, but it didn’t seem to find what it was looking for.

As we neared the channel into San Diego Bay, friendly people from the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park gave a short educational presentation, complete with close up photos of blue whales, an example of the filter-like baleen that these huge whales use to collect four tons of tiny krill per day, and a toothy dolphin skull. Kids enjoyed learning about all the cool marine life and had many questions!

I should mention, the summer whale watching trip included a narrated tour of the north part of San Diego Bay, where you always see something new. Including sea lions! It’s just as fun and interesting as a regular harbor cruise.

Because we didn’t spot a whale today, every passenger got a voucher for another free whale watching trip, or a harbor cruise on San Diego Bay. You can bet I’ll use mine!

Find out more about this awesome four hour summer whale watching adventure by visiting Hornblower’s San Diego website here!

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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!

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!

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.