Category Archives: Out & About

My Christmas video for all y’all

Out & About

I went to Ocean Beach early on Christmas morning to get pictures and videos of 2015’s King Tide.

A “King Tide” coincides with a full moon and is the highest of the high tides for the year, excluding storm tides and tsunamis.

The King Tide for 2015 was about 7¼ feet.

While not nearly as exciting as storm tides, I got a nice video that includes several rainbows created by the ocean spray, smack dab in the middle of the video.

I didn’t see the rainbows until I got home and watched the video.

The area in the video normally is a wide, sandy beach full of people, even on cold winter days, “cold” being defined as temperatures below 60°F.

The area where I was standing normally is a dry bluff about twelve feet above the sandy beach, but just to get this Christmas video for all y’all, I stood in water and got significantly wet from the spray of the waves crashing a few feet from me.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Crazy, crazy people

Picture of the Moment

One of the highest high tides (a “king high tide”) in San Diego occurred this morning at 8:23 a.m., a whopping 7¼ feet.

Naturally I headed to Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach neighborhood sign

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The temperature was a very wintery 58°F and the wind was a blustery 33 mph.

Prior to November 2001, that would have felt like 40°F.

The post-November 2001 formula

wind chill formula

says that it felt like 52°.

(Global warming?)

I trust my bare, exposed ears, and they definitely tell me that it was more like 40°F.

There were people jogging in shorts and tank tops, playing football, walking their dogs….

….all just normal activities on a sunny summer day….

There were even photographers out taking pictures of the waves.

Ocean Beach waves

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crazy, crazy people.

When it’s effectively 40° outside, you should be inside.

Wait…………

Nevermind.

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Fly your own bird of prey!

Out & About

There’s no doubt that having nice weather for about 335 days a year provides opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and all that Mother and Father Nature have to offer. In fact, even for those other  30 days each year, the weather can be so interesting that one is encouraged to go out then!

With so many days of nice weather, entrepreneurs have created companies with many interesting things to do that don’t involve sitting at a desk behind a computer or staring at a smart phone screen. One interesting thing to do that I discovered recently is flying your own bird of prey.

Sky Falconry

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I discovered a group of people preparing to fly their own birds of prey recently, near the Torrey Pines Glider Port, all listening intently to the instructions on how to do this properly so that the raptors don’t bite your nose off or grab hold of your arm and take you for a sky ride….

Sky FalconryPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bucket List.

If you’re looking for something unique to do, contact Sky Falconry and book a Basic Falconry Lesson, a Hawk Walk, or a Photo Hawk Walk. These events are not inexpensive but I bet they provide once-in-a-lifetime memories.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Carmelite Monastery of San Diego

Out & About

As one drives (or rides the Trolley) through Mission Valley, one tends to notice the magnificent homes perched high up on the ridges, like these:

img_6232 mission valley homes stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosOne of the homes looks to be even more magnificent than the others:

img_2881 carmelite monastery san diego stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is the home of the Carmelite Monastery of San Diego.

According to their web site, the Carmelite Monastery is “daughters of St. Teresa of Avila who profess an allegiance to Jesus Christ by living a consecrated life of silent, solitary prayer in a small community of sisters….”

Carmelite Monastery of San DiegoPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Carmelite Monastery of San Diego is of The Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and is rooted in contemplative tradition. The nuns of the Carmelite Monastery are more properly known as Discalced Carmelites, meaning that they adhere to the Carmelite reformation begun ca. 1550 by St. Teresa of Avila.

The Carmelite tradition itself was founded in 1204 by a group of hermits who came together under the rule given them by St. Albert of Jerusalem. Eventually, due to “strife and unrest” in the Middle East (sound familiar?),  the hermits moved to Europe. The women’s branch of the Order began in 1452.

Four American women returning home from the Carmel of Hoogstraten founded first community of religious women in the thirteen original States. After establishing a Carmel at Port Tobacco in Maryland in 1790, the moved to Baltimore in 1830. A Carmel was founded in Boston in 1890, which founded the Carmel of Santa Clara (California) in 1906. From Santa Clara came the foundresses of the San Diego Carmel in 1926, headed by Mother Emmanuel of the Passion as the first Prioress.

The cornerstone of the church reads January 4, 1932 (in Roman numerals). It also has this inscription:

IN NOVINE
PATRIS ET FILII ET SPIRITUS SANCTI
DEO GRATIAS IN AETERNUM
J.D.P.

According to Google Translate, that is Latin, meaning “In newspapers, Father and Son and the Holy Spirit thank God for ever.”

The Carmelite Monastery of San Diego is located at 5158 Hawley Boulevard. It’s not easy to get to but is worth visiting if you have the time.

Carmelite Monastery of San Diego Carmelite Monastery of San Diego Carmelite Monastery of San Diego Carmelite Monastery of San Diego Bas relief at a San Diego monastery

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#16: Whaling Station Site

San Diego Historical Landmarks

My plans to explore San Diego’s historical landmarks in numerical order came crashing down this morning when I realized that I could not get to San Diego Historical Landmark #16, Whaling Station Site, because it is smack dab in the heart of Naval Station Point Loma.

Whaling station site location

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In other words, it is inaccessible to the general public. What! How can a historical site be inaccessible? Oh, the nerve….

The site is next to the San Diego Submarine Base, and if you take a boat tour of San Diego harbor you can sometimes get great pictures of submarines.

Submarine and tugboat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There’s a road, 209 on the map but Rosecrans on all the street signs, that goes through the middle of the naval base and Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is directly above the submarine base, so if you stop and walk to the edges of the cemetery, you can get good pictures of the submarine base and submarines currently in port.

San Diego submarine base

San Diego submarine base

Submarine base

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Continue on Rosecrans out to Cabrillo National Monument and enjoy the best views of Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Island Naval Air Station, and downtown San Diego.

North Island Naval Air Station and downtown San Diego from Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma

Shelter Island and submarine base

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Whaling Station Site is where shore whaling had its start in San Diego in the 1850s. Shore whaling involved shore sites where whalers cut up the whales they had taken in the harbor and at sea. The blubber was boiled down for oil, which was coopered and stored for shipment at the site. The San Diego whaling station produced as much as 55,000 gallons of whale oil annually.

Shortly after the United States Government took Ballast Point in 1869 for military, quarantine, and lighthouse purposes, the whaling station was forced to move.

I did find out that the Whaling Station Site is accessible one day each year, on October 14, when is when Cabrillo National Monument was founded.

I guess you know where I’m going on October 14, 2016….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the San Diego Historical Landmarks series, go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Testing for horsepower

Out & About

The first time I went to Houston was 1973 when I was 18. I was mesmerized by the freeways, especially the “spaghetti bowl” interchanges in and around downtown. When I moved to Houston in 1977, I often would drive out of my way just to drive the spaghetti bowls. Of course, that was back when gas was 59¢ a gallon….

Here in San Diego we don’t have a lot of great spaghetti bowl interchanges but one of my favorite is the interchange in Mission Valley where Interstate 8 passes under Interstate 805. It’s a huge interchange. Looks like this:

Interstate 805/Interstate 8 interchange in San Diego's Mission Valley

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s possible to see Tokyo to the west and New York City to the east from the top of the 805…..

Going north is a long, steady climb, while going south is a steeper, shorter climb. Both sides make for a great test drive in a new car if you’re searching for horsepower….. Just sayin’.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Fletcher Cove Park & Overlook Park in Solana Beach

Out & About

San Diego County has over 70 miles of coastline.

The first time I made it to San Diego, in 1973, two friends and I were on a timeline, created by yours truly, for visiting the national parks, national forests, national monuments, and cities with a population of more than 100,000 west of the Mississippi River, all in a little over three months.Male lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

So we skipped the beaches, preferring the San Diego Zoo as our San Diego attraction.

My second visit to San Diego County was in May 1992. I drove the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to Monterey. At the first vista point, I thought to myself, “I could live here some day.”Blacks Beach

Eleven months later I was back in San Diego, to stay.

During my first year living in San Diego, I made it a point to visit all the named beaches in the County.

When Staycations became fashionable with the Great Recession, I decided to revisit San Diego County beaches. One that I visited recently is Fletcher Cove.

Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As you’ll notice, Fletcher Cove Park was not there until 2007. I suspect there was a little beach, as there still is, but this illustrates why it is always worthwhile to go again to somewhere you’ve already been.

Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The park also is known as Pillbox because of its history as a gunnery installation during World War II.

According to sources, “the beach gets wider at low tide but pretty much disappears at high tide.”

Fletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s easy to get to the beach from the park because you simply walk down a sloping ramp, much better than some beaches where you have to play like you’re a goat and traverse the sandstone cliffs that are 200 feet high.

There are public showers and restroom facilities as well as picnic tables and a basketball court located on top of the bluffs next to the Marine Safety Department Headquarters. There also is a nice community center in Overlook Park which is right next door to Fletcher Cove Park. Only an ugly chain link fence separates the two but that is of little consequence since the picnic tables and walkways are full of mosaic beauty; you’ll never notice the fence.

Overlook ParkFletcher Cove Community CenterFletcher Cove Community Center

Fletcher Cove Park Fletcher Cove Park Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A train station for the Coaster is three blocks away, Pacific Coast Highway and downtown Solana Beach are a block away.

Lifeguards are on duty year round, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the winter months, and from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during the summer months.

Fletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove Park Fletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosThe parking lot serving both Fletcher Cove Park and Overlook Park is at 111 S. Sierra Avenue in Solana Beach.

Map location of Fletcher Cove Park and Overlook Park in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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