Tag Archives: out and about

Out & About San Diego — #6: Sheraton Harbor Island is a great place to stay when you come to San Diego

Out & About San Diego

#6
Sheraton Harbor Island
is a great place to stay
when you come to San Diego

This post is dedicated to Al and Peggy Cunningham, aliens who live north of the border in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

Al and Peggy were all set to come to San Diego to visit in September 2010. Just a couple of days before they were to get on the airplane, one of them (won’t mention any names) realized that HIS passport had expired. Trip canceled.

I was out and about San Diego on a whale watching cruise yesterday, and as the boat left San Diego Bay, it passed right by the Sheraton Harbor Island where Al and Peggy had reservations. I thought it would be nice of me to take some pictures of what they missed.

Here we have the Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from the Bay at sunset:

Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from San Diego Bay

 

The Sheraton Harbor Island is right across the street from the San Diego International Airport. As you’re coming from the airport exit, this is the view of the Sheraton Harbor Island:

 Sheraton Harbor Island as viewed from the airport

 

There are no bad rooms at the Sheraton Harbor Island, and most rooms, if not all of them, have a view of downtown San Diego, which looks something like this when the sun is setting:

Downtown San Diego as viewed from the Sheraton Harbor Island

 

If you know anyone moving to the Toronto area in Canada and need some great real estate agents, contact Al and Peggy Cunningham, voted “Best people in real estate in 2011,” their sixteenth year receiving that recognition.

Pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D.
Post-processing using Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Location, location, location….

Picture of the momentLocation, location, location…

This is the first in my Picture of the Moment series. You’ll always be able to identify this series by the logo in the upper right corner. This series is more picture, less text.

 

Buoy with seagulls and seals

 

The seagulls have the view;
the seals are closer to the swimming pool.

 

x marks the spot

 

Pictures taken by Russel Ray on January 27, 2012, using a Canon 550D.
Post-processing done in Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About San Diego — #6: When your average yacht just won’t do….

Out & About San Diego

When your average yacht
just won’t do….

One of the problems with living in San Diego is that there is always something going on, and there doesn’t seem to be a 24-hour news channel devoted to telling us everything that’s happening. Alright, so maybe that’s not really a problem that impacts life….

Yesterday I went on a whale watching cruise. We are at the height of the whale migration along the Pacific Coast, and even though I’ve been in San Diego for 18 years, this was my first whale watching cruise. We saw plenty of whales, dolphins, pelicans, seagulls, and, upon returning to San Diego Bay as the sun was setting, this:

Attessa IV in San Diego Bay, January 27, 2012

Attessa IV in San Diego Bay, January 27, 2012

 

That’s the Attessa IV, one of the world’s great mega-yachts. It is a whopping 330 feet long. How long is that? Well, on February 5 the New England Patriots and New York Giants will be playing in the Super Bowl on a football field that is 300 feet between end zones.

Attessa IV was built in 1999 as the Evergreen, owned by Chang Yung-fa, chairman of the Evergreen Group of Taiwan. Evergreen the yacht was bought in 2007 by Dennis Washington, who regularly shows up in the Top 100 of Forbes list of the world’s weathiest people and currently ranks 58th in America. After buying Evergreen, Washington had it completely renovated into what it is now, Attessa IV.

If you didn’t quite see it in the above two pictures because your eyeballs were popping out, Attessa IV has its own helicopter and helipad, just in case you have to go somewhere a little faster, I guess.

Attessa IV's helicopter

 

The way the rear rotor is covered is used by the military for noise abatement, so this is also a modern, quiet helicopter.

Read more about the Attessa IV, and see pictures of the interior, at Boat International. Read more about Dennis Washington at Wikipedia.

Pictures taken by Russel Ray on January 27, 2012, in San Diego Bay using a Canon 550D and post-processing done in Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About San Diego — #5: Go to the Zoo, come home with….

Out & About San Diego

I have an annual pass to the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park. I go at least once a week to one of them.

The Zoo occupies 100 acres while Safari Park has 1,800 acres.

The Zoo is in Balboa Park near downtown San Diego, while Safari Park is near Escondido, about 45 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.

Safari Park was founded in 1972 while the Zoo was founded as part of the 1915 Panama-California International Exposition.

Both the Zoo and the Safari Park are internationally recognized botanical gardens. When you go to either of them, then, it’s always worthwhile to spend some time looking at the flora, too.

Since it’s been raining off and on for the past several days, something that’s rare in San Diego, the photographers are out en masse looking for those magical pictures with water on them.

I got mine at the San Diego Zoo:

Passionflower

Passionflower

  

That’s a passionflower (Passiflora sp.), one of my top five flowers. There are about five hundred species of passionflowers but only nine are native to the United States. Most of them are vines, and San Diegans like to grow them on their chain-link fences to lessen the ugliness of that type of fence. You can see the chain link fence in the background of those two pictures.

Passionflowers have a unique structure, and once you’ve seen one, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever forget it. You’ll be able to identify that “weird vine with a beautiful flower” that’s growing on your neighbor’s fence.

The passion fruit is quite large for a vine, and the fruit of Passiflora edulis is actually called passionfruit and used for food and juice in many parts of the world. I can attest to the flavor of the passionfruit since I have enjoyed many a passionfruit margarita at Islands burger restaurant in San Diego’s Mission Valley. Hmmm, maybe it’s the alcohol that’s flavorful?

Pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D and post-processing using Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

  

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About San Diego — #4: Go to an orchid show, come home with….

Out & About San Diego

Three friends and I went to Balboa Park to go to the San Diego Orchid Society’s winter show yesterday. I came home with 132 pictures of orchids, but I also came home with this picture:

Monarch butterfly in San Diego

  

That’s a male monarch butterfly. A female would have a little black dot on its wing.

After leaving the orchid show, we went over to the Botanical Building, just a few hundred feet away from where the orchid show was. The Botanical Building was also full of orchids but nothing that we hadn’t already seen at the orchid show.

That beautiful monarch butterfly was sitting outside the entrance to the Botanical Building when we went in. I would have stopped then to take its picture, but there was already a group of photographers waiting their turn. Since I have pictures of monarch butterflies, I decided to skip the monarch line.

When we came out, our monarch was still sitting there but there was no line. So I quickly made a line of one and came home with that picture.

Right next to where the monarch was sitting is a California milkweed (Asclepias californica), which I just identified tonight while writing this post. Monarchs love milkweeds, basically needing them to survive.

During the summer the milkweed is full of monarch caterpillars:

Monarch caterpillars, September 2011, San Diego

  

Monarch caterpillars, September 2011, San Diego

  

Monarch caterpillar chrysalis, September 2011, San Diego

  

Here is a picture of the flowers of the California milkweed:

Flower of the California milkweed

  

Pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D and post-processing using Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

  

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About San Diego — #2: Barn owls

Out & About San Diego

#2: Barn owls

On January 4, 2012, I headed out and about to attend an educational presentation about raptors. The presentation, by Sky Hunters of Lakeside, California (A on the map below), took place in Alpine (B):

Lakeside (A) and Alpine (B)

The presentation featured an American kestrel, a red-tailed hawk, a western screech owl, and a barn owl. Here are three pictures of the barn owl:

Barn owl

Barn owl

Barn owl

The barn owl (Tyto alba) is the most widely distributed of the owls, occuring throughout the world except in polar and desert areas. It is a year-round resident of California, has become accustomed to human activities, and can be found in every county. It gets up to 18 inches long with a wingspan up to 48 inches and likes to roost and nest in dark cavities in trees, cliffs, and buildings.

This barn owl is injured and cannot be released into the wild. It makes its home at Sky Hunters, a nonprofit organization educating the public about raptors, promoting raptor conservation, and rehabilatating injured birds. Sky Hunters has a U.S. Federal Fish & Wildlife permit for rehabilitation, education, and eagle possession, as well as a California State Fish & Game permit for rehabilitation and education.

Sky Hunters depends on volunteers and donors to carry out its mission. If you would like to donate money, food, or any of the other items they regularly need, visit Sky Hunters funding.

Several years ago when I was doing a home inspection, I found a barn owl in the roof eaves keeping a very close eye on me:

Barn owl in the roof eaves

Barn owl in the roof eaves

I love seeing wildlife  in zoos and aquariums, and at presentations, that I might not otherwise see, but there is something special about finding the wildlife in their natural habitat and being able to snap a picture of them.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography celebrates 20 years

 Out & About San Diego

#1: Birch Aquarium
at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
celebrates 20 years

The Birch Aquarium is now celebrating 20 years in its current location (it’s actually 109 years old) by offering 50% discounts on admissions on the twentieth of each month through September 2012. (Seems like it should have been a 20% discount….). It is located on Expedition Way in La Jolla with spectacular views of La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean.

Location of Birch Aquarium on Expedition Way in La Jolla, California

The Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and occupies just over 64,000 square feet. Its display tanks contain 175,000 of water with over 5,000 animals representing 380 species.

Seahorse at Birch AquariumFeatured exhibits include:

  • a 70,000-gallon kelp forest tank
  • a 13,000-gallon shark tank
  • Tide Pool Plaza where you can touch starfish and sea cucumbers
  • Coral Reef featuring the nautilus and lionfish
  • Over a dozen different species of seahorses (Birch Aquarium is a world leader in seahorse breeding)

Birch Aquarium is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Regular admission is $14 for adults, $10 for seniors,
$9.50 for children ages 3 to 17, and children under age 3 are free.
There are various other discounts available so be sure to check the Birch Aquarium web site.

Birch Aquarium