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November 24, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving !!! from San Diego

Thanksgiving Day was a perfect Chamber of Commerce postcard day.   Not a cloud in the sky nor a ripple on Mission Bay.  Fran’s sister and her family live in Pacific Beach and we’ll celebrate with them.  But I forgot the camera!, so here’s a few pictures of the perfect day from my old cell phone.

We start our visit with a walk around Sail Bay toward South Mission and returning along the board walk.

Near the Catamaran Hotel on Sail Bay, would be a perfect day for a sail with a bit more wind.  But the SUP folks did not seem to mind.
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Even the birds are enjoying a lazy day near Santa Clara Point.  Most of the tourists on the ocean are also taking it easy.
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A game of Foot Volley is about the only action on the beach.  It is volleyball played without the use of the arms/hands – shoulders are ok.  At the higher levels the hitter can do a back flip and while upside down kick the ball over the net – their version of a spike.
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Oops not a single picture of dinner nor family.  You’ll have to take my word for it that it was awesome!  And of course I ate too much.  So the following morning Fran and I are up for another walk, but first I pile up the leaves in the front yard.  We do not have to leave the front porch to enjoy the fall colors – and the mess it makes.  As we turn toward toward Mission Bay on Clairmont Drive I’ve annotated some of the changes in the picture.  The area is changing, but in what direction remains to be seen.
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The birds are always plentiful in De Anza Cove.  A beautiful egret stand motionless awaiting breakfast.  The sandpipers are a little more aggressive in looking for breakfast, while the seagull appears to be their lazy guest.
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Walking past the Mission Bay RV Park I notice that it is quite full, well it is a holiday weekend.  Later I read that Hans and Lisa are here, welcome home Lisa perhaps we might get together this trip.

Each time we walk the park we once called home, another trailer has been or is being recycled.

There will be a meeting in a couple weeks as to what the final plan/plans will be for this area.  I should be able to attend.

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One thing is certain, the marsh lands will be extended to include the current Campland space.  Although not uncommon, it’s always a surprise to see a dolphin in Mission Bay.
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Kayak fisherman are also a common sight, but this has to be the first baptism I’ve seen performed at De Anza Cove.
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Our Thanksgiving was great, a reminder of all the family and friends we have to be thankful for.  I wish you the same blessings we have enjoyed.

November 20, 2017

Living Coast - Chula Vista’s Discovery Center

There is evidence of a native hunter gather population in the Sweetwater Marsh area 8000 years ago.  Today the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is a preserve allowing for the water fowl to return.  The Living Coast Discovery Center is located on Gunpowder Point just off the E Street exit from I-5 in Chula Vista, where a free shuttle carries visitors to the Discovery Center.

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The Discovery Center’s official greeter is a sea turtle at the main entrance.
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The animals within all the exhibits are rescue and cannot be released back into the wild.  So even though there is a definite zoo-like appearance, if the display animals were not protected here, they would not be alive today.  I expected a lot of sea life.
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I have just finished reading Camino Island by John Grisham, where the loggerhead turtle binds Mercer as young girl to her grandmother.  I’m not sure if I have seen one before, at least I’ve not made note of one before.  They get big, really big!
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In addition there are educational displays include composting and gardening.
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Although there were other attempts at businesses in the Sweetwater Marsh, the most successful was  Hercules Powder Company, which fermented kelp in 200 large redwood tanks to extract potash and acetone to make gun powder for WWI.  Footings for the tanks can be seen along the trail.
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There's also remnants of the pier where the kelp barges would unload.  From here the kelp was pumped up to the processing plant.
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A different view of Coronado and San Diego can be seen from the tip of Gunpowder Point.
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I was last here about 25 years ago, shortly after it opened.  Back-in-the-day there were few exhibits and less educational opportunities, but there were more trails and easy access to the marsh.  The trails today are wide and well maintained but not very extensive.   Unfortunately the signage along the trails has not held up well, either. 
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The trails are all spurs off a main out-n-back main trail.  Each of the spurs would terminate at a viewpoint with a rest area and a reminder to remain on the trail.
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I returned to the Visitor Center past a water garden, which uses selected plants to help purify the run-off water before it enters San Diego Bay - not sure why it is covered.   The selected plants are grown onsite in the hot house.
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Before getting on the shuttle back to the parking lot I took a side trip through the aviary.  Again I’m told these are all rescue animals.  Still has the zoo feeling of incarcerated animals.
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Despite the lack of an extensive trail system I still logged over 2 miles.  If you decide to go be sure to check groupon for 2-fer, $16 for two.  Or ask for the senior admission, although not advertised it will take 20% off the normal $16 admission price.