Not only did I find elephant seals and monarch butterflies last Sunday, the day started just after sunrise with about 25 sea otters at the main pier in Morro Bay. A nice surprise.
I posted eight images in a flickr album: 2017 Morro Bay.
Jan. 15, 2017: Elephant seal pup and mother at Piedras Blancas Seal Rookery north of Cambria, California.
After facing extinction by 18th and 19th century hunters, the elephant seals have made a recovery.
In 1892, only about 100 elephant seals remained alive on Guadalupe Island off of Baja California. They were completely gone from the California coast. In the 1920s, Mexico and the United States granted elephant seals protected status. Since then, their numbers have grown.
In 1955, elephant seals were spotted on Ano Nuevo Island near Santa Cruz, California. In 1990 they were first reported on the beaches south of the Pideras Blancas Light Station. In February, 1992, the first pup was born. By 1996 nearly 1,000 pups were born.
Thus, February, 2017, is the 25th Anniversary of first elephant seal pup born at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal rookery. Today nearly 25,000 elephant seals and pups line the beaches north and south of the Point Piedras Blancas.
Starting in 1997, boardwalks and parking areas have been constructed allowing visitors easy viewing of the elephant seals. The beaches, including the rookery, became part of the California State Parks in 2006.
On Jan. 12, 2017, President Obama placed the Piedras Blancas Light Station into the California Coastal National Monument.
I've posted twenty more images in this flickr album: 2017 Elephant Seals.
Jan. 15, 2017: A Monarch butterfly poses at the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.
About 10,000 Monarchs currently are at the Pismo Beach location posing for hundreds of visitors and their cameras. I found the single fellow, above, right next to the highway.
The site averages 25,000 Monarchs, so numbers were actually down this year. The Monarchs form clusters on tree branches hanging with wings down. This provides shelter from rain and warmth. The cluster's weight also provides protection from strong winds dislodging the Monarchs.
The wintering Monarchs live six months. The migrating Monarchs each live about six weeks for a total of five generations each year.
There are about 200 known wintering sites for the Pacific Coast Monarch migration. These sites are active from late October through February.
The Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove has onsite docents from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.daily. Talks are given at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
I posted 18 images in this flickr album: 2017 Monarch Butterfly Grove
Jan. 8, 2017: Images of the S.S. Victory Lane museum ship in San Pedro, California, taken with iPhone hipstamatic app.
Launched on May 31, 1945, the S.S. Victory Lane was delivered to the Maritime Commission, War Shipping Administration on June 27, 1945. The vessel served in World War II, Korea War and Vietnam War.
On Oct. 18, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed H.R. 2032 into law transferring the S.S. Lane Victory to the United States Merchant Marine Veterans of WWII. The organization took possession on June 7, 1989. The ship was towed to Port of Los Angeles and given a restoration into a museum ship.
On Dec. 14, 1991, the S.S. Lane Victory was designed a National Historic Landmark.
For the next two decades, the S.S. Lane Victory operated out of the Port of Los Angeles. The “Victory at Sea” day cruises were very popular. But due to needed boiler repairs, no cruises are currently planned.
One hundred and fifty Victory Ships were named for educational institutions. The S.S. Lane Victory is named after Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. The college was named after co-founder Dr. Isaac Lane, a former slave who became a Methodist Preacher. So indirectly, the vessel is named for Dr. Isaac Lane.
The ship is opened daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for self-guided tours. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children. Two of the ship’s cargo holds have been converted to museums.
A total of 534 victory ships were built in the United States. Three remain as museum ships. The S.S. American Victory is in Tampa Florida. In 2013, I toured the S.S. Red Oak Victory is in Richmond, California.
Link to 2017 SS Lane Victory flickr album.
Link to 2013 Red Oak Victory flickr album.
Dec. 18, 2016: Christmas Tree Lane on F and G streets in downtown Oxnard, CA.
Every December I love to visit and photograph holiday lights. This year's highlights were Gemini Street and Waverly Avenue in Camarillo; Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills and Christmas Tree Lane in Oxnard.
In Camarillo and Oxnard, walking is the best way to take in the lights. In Woodland Hills stay in your vehicles as the streets around Candy Cane Lane are narrow with no sidewalks.
Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Years!
My related flickr albums:
2016 Oxnard Christmas Tree Lane
2016 Woodland Hills Candy Cane Lane
Oct. 3, 2016: Former school building, now a chapel in Shaniko, Oregon.
In 1900, the railroad arrived and Shaniko quickly becoming the “Wool Capital of the World," as Oregon ranchers could quickly ship their products to Portland. Population soared to 500 in 1910. But in 1911, another railroad line through Bend, Oregon, by-passed Shaniko allowing wool and other farm products a better transportation route. Shaniko starting a slow decline.
In 1942 the railroad has pulled out. Today it’s nearly a ghost town with about 30 residents.
A healthy preservation program has kept many Shaniko buildings is good condition. Summer brings plenty of tourists. A festival - Shaniko Days - is held the first weekend in August.
The center of town is dominated by the two story Skaniko Hotel and Cafe. But the building is closed - a developer pulled out over ten years ago. But there are plenty of gift shops, small museums and old cars to check out.
My planned two hour stop became and entire afternoon. I've posted about 60 images are in this flick album: 2016 Shaniko, Oregon.
Oct. 3, 2016: Stonehenge replica at Maryhill, Washington taken with iPhone hipstamatic app.
On a bluff overlooking the Columbia River sits a full size replica of Stonehenge. Built by Maryhill, Washington, founder Sam Hill, the replica is a monument to local residents killed in World War One.
Hill's Stonehenge is his version of the original built by the Druids, but instead of large stones, he used modern concrete blocks.
A good history is provided by a plaque at the site:
The structure before you is the first monument in our nation to military personnel who gave their lives in World War 1. Mentioning 13 young Klickitat County men, it also serves as lasting reminder of the works of Samuel Hill, patron of this region. He established a townsite here, with postoffice, hotel, general store and nearly 10 miles of experimental paved roads, and the Maryhill Museum three miles to the west – all on his own land. His tomb is 50 yards distant, on the opposite side of this monument.
The design duplicates in size and original from England’s famous Stonehenge (dated 1900-1350 B.C.) on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. When Hill, a Quaker pacifist, visited England during the 1914-18 conflict, saw Stonehenge and was told it had been used for human sacrifices to pagan gods he remarked: “After all our civilization, the flower of humanity still is being sacrificed to the god of war on fields of battle.” From that inspiration came this monument, built by Hill. On July 4, 1918 the altar stone was dedicated. The full structure was completed and dedicated May 30, 1929.
Today the sacrifice legend is generally discredited. Current belief is that Stonehenge was a device used by stone-age astronomers to measure time and mark seasons of the year by observing positions of the sun and moon. …
I've posted over 30 images in this flickr album: 2016 Stonehenge replica.
Then there's Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska: 2013 Carhenge
Sep. 29, 2016: Carved head of calf for the Historic Carousel and Museum project in downtown Albany, Oregon.
During my recent drive to Oregon, I visited to the workshops of the Historic Carousel and Museum project in downtown Albany, Oregon. This is a community project to build a new-old fashion musical carousel. Each carousel horse is being hand carved by volunteers.
Work has been proceeding slowly since 2005, but the finish is now in sight. The final Historic Carousel and Museum is under construction When I visited the steel framing was being assembled.
The Historic Carousel and Museum website reports that over 152,000 hours of work have already gone into making the custom carousel horses.
During my visit, Harry Lagerstedt, 91, (below) was working on a carousel horse named "Buck.: He's dedicated The 4th of July Holiday horse to his wife Carol who passed away six years ago.
I posted 15 additional photos in this flickr album: 2016 Historic Carousel
Full size model of a Pteranodon - one of the largest flying animals of all time with a wing span of over 20 feet.
Prehistoric Gardens, near Port Orford, Oregon, is located in a coastal rain forest - the perfect location for a dinosaur display.
Ernie 'E.V.' Nelson, loved dinosaurs and in 1953 started building full size replicas. In January, 1955, he opened Prehistoric Gardens. Eventually 23 full size dinosaurs roamed his property.
Nelson passed away in 1991 and the park is now run by his grandchildren. Unlike other roadside attractions along the 101, this park is well maintained and shows few signs of its age.
Flickr gallery: 2016 Prehistoric Gardens
Sep. 28, 2016: The former Ship Ashore gift shop and museum in Smith River, California.
Just south of the Oregon border, along U.S. Highway 101, sits the “Ship Ashore.” The former 500 ton, 1920s yacht was a combination billboard, gift shop and museum, but closed about five years ago.
In 1965, a dozen tractors pulling cables in unison, dragged the vessel a quarter mile inland. The dry land voyage took ten hours.
The “Ship Ashore” started as the Caritas, a private yacht built in 1925 at Krupp Iron Works in Kiel, Germany. Purchased by U.S. Navy on December 1, 1941, the Caritas became the USS Garnet, a coastal patrol yacht numbered PYc-15. Armed with a three inch gun, machine guns and depth charges, and a crew of 50, the USS Garnet spent the war conducting patrols around Hawaii.
In 1946, the Garnet was sold and ending up as a restaurant in Smith River, California. In 1965 she made her last voyage - on dry land.
An April 20, 2015 article in Super Yacht World online magazine offered up the former Caritas as a “restoration opportunity” for someone with several million dollars of loose change.
My flickr album: 2016 Ship Ashore
My thoughts on images past and present.