Sunday, May 21, 2017

2017 CROSS-COUNTRY ROAD TRIP - 4-28-17 - SAN FRANCISCO - PART 3

Friday, April 28th, 2017
San Francisco
Part 3

So, here we are, setting out on this wonderful boat ride and everyone seems to be having a good time...  



including us.



Our fellow boat riders were a family from Japan, a family from Puerto Rico, a young couple whom I thought might be honeymooners, a lady on her own, and another family who looked like a brother and a sister and their families which included a toddler and a babe in arms.  



Then there was Captain Jim and First Mate Anthony.  Gregg and I had a lovely chat with Anthony when we were the only ones on the boat.  Captain Jim was still selling tickets up top.  Anthony told us that his heritage was Greek, that he came from Florida and was heading back there next year.  He was getting his hours in so that he could pass for being his own Captain.  He was looking forward to being in the same line of work in Florida as he loved this life.  He told us all about the area and was interested in us also and asked lots of questions.  A real nice guy, a people guy.  The Captain was great too.



We were all given safety instructions before the boat took off from its moorings and shown where all the life vests were.  We were told that it might get a little choppy at times.  We found that when the big ships went by we got caught in their wake, and that was like a mini roller coaster ride.   


 Anthony warned everyone when he could see it coming.  Fortunately we all took it in good part and most laughed through the whole up and down motion.  Even the little ones were laughing. 



Loved it, so much fun!



I enjoyed looking at all the other boats on the water.




And there were kite surfers also.  You can barely make them out through the window.  That's when things started getting a little squirrely.



This happened all incredibly fast.  I could see that a kite-surfer was coming closer to the boat, but he was traveling at such a high rate of speed, this is all I got.  A view of his kite strings.



What happened next was one of the most bizarre spectacles I have ever seen.  One of those guys came sailing passed the boat at what Gregg thought was 16 to 20 knots.  He threw a full can of beer into the boat, also coming in at a high rate of speed, which bounced off the arm of the lady sitting on the stern.  Fortunately she wasn't badly hurt but I bet she had a big bruise, and a story to tell that night.  It could so easily have hit her head.  It could have hit one of the children.  

 

There was a third kite-surfer, not in this video, who was the one who threw the can.  I remember seeing this maniacal look on his face, probably full of adrenilin from that fast kite ride I'm assuming, as he sped by. These guys are hitting quite a speed.  I personally thought he was going to hit the end of the boat, and that we might have an emergency on our hands.  All this happened in split seconds and before we knew it he was gone, as fast as he had appeared.  We were all in momentary shock, including the Captain and Anthony who rushed over to see if this lady was hurt, and worried about the rest of us.  We were more concerned for this lady.  Crazy!  What on earth that man was thinking when he did something so incredibly idiotic I have no idea, and who on earth takes a full can of beer on a kite ride anyhow?   If we had Superwoman sitting there she could have dragged him onto the deck by the scruff of his neck and given him a breathalizer.  



And so we continued onto the Golden Gate Bridge, after Anthony had made sure we were all okay,  The sight of that iconic symbol took our minds back to a happier and less confused place.  



We were told it was tradition to make a wish when we went under the bridge.



I have seen the Golden Gate several times but never from right underneath it.



I read the following information here.




It took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge.  Construction began on January 5th, 1933 and was finished in 1937.




The bridge is named after the Golden Gate Strait. which is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.  Around 1846 an American Military topographer and explorer, John C. Fremont, named the strait 'Christophylae', because it reminded him of the Byzantium Harbor 'Chrysoceras' or 'Golden Horn'.  (This is near Constantinople, today called Istanbul.) 





In honor of the bridge's opening, chief enginer and designer, Joseph Strauss, wrote a poem entitled "The Mighty Task Is Done."

At last the mighty task is done;
Resplendent in the western sun
The Bridge looms mountain high;
Its titan piers grip ocean floor,
Its great steel arms link shore with shore,
Its towers pierce the sky...."

You can read the rest of that poem here.



I didn't realize we were also going to get a trip round Alcatraz Island.


Facts you may not know about Alcatraz, which I found here.



Military prisoners were Alcatraz's first inmates.


Al Capone was one of the first prisoners to be sent to Alcatraz.  He actually played a banjo in the prison band called the Rock Islanders.


36 prisoners tried to escape Alcatraz.  26 were captured, six were shot to death and two drowned.


Alcatraz was named after birds.  Pelicans were the first residents of the island.  When a Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala first sailed through the Golden Gate Strait in 1775, he christened this rocky outcrop "La Isla de los Alcatraces", meaning "Island of Pelicans".


There were 336 cells in B and C Block.  The National Park Service states that there were originally 348 but 12 were removed when stairways were installed at the end of each cellblock.  There were 36 segregation cells and 6 solitary confinement cells (actually known as confinement chambers by many inmates) in D-Block.



After the prison remained dormant for six years, Native American activists occupied Alcatraz in November 1969.


There are several more interesting facts, and it will expand on some of what I shared above at the website.


So we found ourselves making our way back to shore, after our wonderful boat team told us many more interesting facts about Alcatraz.  They certainly kept us entertained for the entire hour we were out there, and knowing that they did this several times a day, and were still able to keep it all fresh, was admirable.  


I even got to see my seal.


He looks comfortable doesn't he?  

By the way, did you see the story about the young girl being pulled into the water in British Columbia by one of these guys?  It took everyone by surprise.  You can see the video here if you would like to check it out.  It all ends happily but is so incredibly scary to watch, and is another reminder that these animals are wild, and feeding them can be a dangerous thing to do.  The seal mentioned thought her dress was food, and he lept out as if grabbing a fish, and pulled her into the water.  It is obvious that people had been feeding this seal for quite a while and it knew where to come to get it.  It happened so quickly (just like our kite surfer).  They look cute and cuddly but well, we need to keep a safe distance, not only for our sakes and the sake of our children especially, but for theirs too so that we can enjoy them for a very long time.

  
We docked, we got off our boat and thanked Captain Jim and First Mate Anthony profusely.  The ride was only $15 a ticket, the best $15 we ever paid out for an incredibly enjoyable ride.  They were great and the boat ride, apart from the wacky beer throwing kite-surfer incident, was a whole lot of fun.  At this stage of the game I much preferred it to a trip to Disneyland, and I kid you not.


We were heading back to the car and had walked quite a ways, stopping off at one of the places to get a long, cool drink.  Truth be told I was so tired it was one of those times when you just put one foot in front of the other.  This young man was nearby watching us walk by.  He doesn't have to be a body language expert to know that he had a potential fare.


He yelled over and asked if he could give us a ride.  Once again Gregg shouted no thanks and quick as a flash I said 'YES PLEASE!!!!"   Once again Gregg looked at me as if I had developed another personality.  "You want to get in that thing?" he said.  "Do you think he can pull the two of us?"  I looked at Gregg a little narrow eyed I have to say and no, I don't do that too often only when I am desperately exhausted and almost on my knees.  And it wasn't as if he was going to have to take us up Lombard Street, it was a nice flat run!


I looked at the young man and smiled sweetly.  "Can you take us to our car?  It isn't too far away."  He said, "Sure, hop on!"  Now, I will admit it was a little tricky getting into that contraption, not something I have done before, but he kindly turned around so that he was next to the curb and I didn't have to climb up quite so high.  What a wonderful bike-buggy, and a wonderful young man.  


He was super fit and sailed us down the road, weaving in and out of traffic, very carefully, like it was a breeze.  I can't remember his name but he was originally from Marietta, Georgia and enjoying life in San Francisco for a while.  He chatted amiably all the way back, with a few tour guide facts, and it wasn't long before he dropped us right near our car.  I could have kissed him.


Gregg turned round to me as we sat in the car and said, "I'm glad we did that.  I was feeling kinda tired."  He laughed and I smiled sweetly.  Did I role my eyes at the same time?  Maybe!  Yes it was a great ending to our trip to San Francisco, and the car was relatively cool from being under cover.  

We got on the freeway and drove the hour-and-a-half in traffic to his sister's house, and I napped going back.  Gregg says I sure can fall asleep real fast when I am in the passenger seat. Once we start rolling it doesn't take that long.  (I brought our nice comfy pillows with us from home.)

And I silently thanked all the people we had met that day for helping to make it such a great one.  I daresay we will be coming back to this city one day.  I will look forward to it.




62 comments:

  1. Wonderful photos! It looks like you had a great time (apart from the moron throwing a beer can in your boat. That could have been really bad. My husband is originally from San Fransisco and I was able to visit him there before he moved to Texas to be with me. It's a wonderful city - but hideously expensive to live in. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

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    1. How interesting Jayne and I agree, there is no way we could afford to live there. Lovely to visit though.

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  2. The water certainly does look choppy!

    That kite surfer was an idiot!

    Yes, the story about the seal made the news here.

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  3. Amazing to me that no one on the boat got sick from those waves! But that idiot kite surfer should not be allowed in the air again! But I suppose one does not even need a license to do this, so he will continue with his hi jinks. That seal video is something else, and so fast! So Alcatraz is really Pelican Island! Very cool! This one day would have been enough adventure to last me a year!

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    1. I wondered a couple of times when I looked at at least three of the passengers who may have been feeling the motion. I don't know what the rules are for kite-surfers. Not acting crazy should be one of them. If he carries on like that I think karma may catch up with him eventually. I have been having extra sleeps since I got back :).

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  4. The kite surfer was a thoughtless oxygen thief.
    Loved the rest of the tour with you.
    And how lucky you are. I am told that if the driver has to stay awake so do I.

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    1. Great way of putting it EC. I often don't realize I am falling off to sleep until the first snore :)

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  5. What a wonderful tale of a wonderful adventure. I admit... I am a wee bit jealous. It just sounded like so much fun. Glad the lady wasn't hurt with the beer can. Some jerks are just unbelievable.

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    1. Thank you Latane and I agree about the beer can thrower.

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  6. I was born and raised in the Bay Area, and I worked in broadcasting in San Francisco for many years. And like all other natives I never went on a bay cruise until I had some out of town visitors. Your pictures made me homesick. Nice post!

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    1. Very nice to meet you Bill and great to know someone who is a San Francisco native. Sorry the pictures made you homesick but I sure am glad you stopped by. Have a great week :)

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  7. That boat ride looks like so much fun! I enjoyed your videos.

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  8. What a fabulous boat ride And everyone seems to have had great fun. There is nothing like being on the water and seeing everything from a difference angle. Wonderful post, superb photos.

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  9. Oh, my, Denise. What a day. That with the full beer--so thankful it did not hit a child, or well, glad it did not hit anyone in the head or face. And I had not heard about the seal...I bet you were glad to be home that night. Did you know about the seal thing when you seen that one, or did you find out about it afterwards?

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    1. It certainly was a full day Rose, we were very thankful too. I only learned of the seal incident yesterday when I saw it in one of the online newspapers I read.

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  10. Awesome boat tour! Bad that someone threw the beer can! And it was so disturbing seeing the sea lion attack that little girl (thankfully unhurt) from Your Tube! But, glad your tour was overall quite good. Really enjoyed the photos!

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    1. Thank you Marie, so happy everyone was okay.

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  11. Beautiful photos, Denise, and I loved the videos, too! I am just glad that nobody was seriously hurt. I enjoyed seeing all the smiling faces in your first video and I felt like I was right on the boat, too! :)

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    1. Thank you Linda :) I was glad too. The happy mood from everyone was definitely catching :)

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  12. Nice to see photos of the places which i have known from films have a great week

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    1. Thank you Gosia, I am happy to share them with you.

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  13. Next time you go there will you take me with you? Yes, I am envious, I would have loved being on choppy waters and seeing the sights.

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  14. Replies
    1. Thank you Francisco, a hug and a good week to you also :)

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    1. Thank you Jacqueline, it was a lot of fun :)

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  16. That is an amazing way to see the sights! I love your photos. CRAZY story about the kite surfer...where's Super Woman when you need her! Hugs!

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    1. Thank you LD, couldn't have said it better myself :) Hugs from me too.

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  17. Hello, the boat ride does look like fun. Except for the crazy kite surfer. The view of the bridge are fabulous. Great series of photos! Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

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  18. priceless shot of you and the golden gate bridge. I love the way the wake looks in some of the shots. so beautiful...

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    1. Thank you Sandra, it was quite an experience. I agree about the wake of the boat, it fascinates me to see the patterns created by ploughing through water.

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  19. Wow … what an adventure with so many highlights. I watched the roller coaster ride and wondered if anyone felt seasick. About the thrown can, it only takes a split second and a bad decision to cause a lot of damage so I’m glad everything turned out well in the end.

    Yes, the BC incident with the seal really is a shock and a stark reminder that animals aren’t Disney characters and we really shouldn’t feed animals in the wild.

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    1. Thanks Penelope, by the end of that hour I was wondering about a few of my fellow travelers. It was one heck of a bumpy ride. Split second, very true. And yes, we must all treat animals with a lot of respect and I like your analogy, not like a Disney Character. It's what we grow up with.

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  20. Very nice, everyone looked so happy on your boat ride, that's the way it should always be.

    Great pictures.

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  21. Wow what an amazing day Denise. So many things to think about. First, I can forgive the seal that you linked to, but good gosh not that nasty kite surfer. What awful behavior -- great thing for the tourists to witness.

    Otherwise what a wonderful experience the whole day was though. We'd certainly rather do this than go to Disneyland.

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    1. Thanks Sallie, it truly was I could forgive that seal too, he was after all following his instincts and ended up being totally confused. Just glad the little girl was okay. The kite-surfer, that's another story. He was old enough to know better. Disneyland? I'll take this boat ride any day :)

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  22. What a fun day you had. I love that sunbathing seal.

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  23. Wow! I have been thinking of doing this for my birthday. Thanks for the scouting trip, Wonderful post. I love the bridge as I loved Diamond Head in a way: my local wonder. And your shot of the Marin side of the bridge does look like home to me now. You can see Mt. Tamalpais in that shot also. She is sort of shaped Like Diamond Head! Glad you had a safe and fun trip

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    1. I think you should Cloudia, and am happy I planted a seed. I remember walking up Diamond Head a few years ago, it was amazing that view. I am lucky if I can climb a stepping stool these days, lol. Next time I go to SF I will look for Mt. Tamalpais. Totally missed it this time. A good excuse to go back :)

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  24. Looks like you had a great time. Water looked a tad choppy but fun and beautiful!

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    1. That's what surprised me, I had no problems with the up and down of the boat when we had the wakes. It was such a great time.

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  25. Another very interesting post with some great photographs.
    It looks like you had a great time ... apart from the idiot throwing a beer can in your boat, that could have been so very nasty.
    Loved the seal ...

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan, thankfully he didn't cause any more harm than a bump on that poor lady's arm. Bad enough I might add. I expect she was very sore that night. The seal was lovely wasn't he?

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  26. What a lotmof experiences you had on this boat ride. And I agree that the beer can incident was dangerous and an idiotic act. Glad no one was hurt. Thanks for the into and links about Alcatraz.

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    1. Thank you Beatrice and you are very welcome :)

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  27. wow what thrilling journey my friend.
    i enjoyed the videos .thank you for telling lot about this glorious bridge.
    your beautiful smiles revealing the happiness you had during this riding.prisoners and little girl stories sadden me .

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    1. Thank you baili, and you are very welcome. I have often wondered about the little girl since this scary incident occurred.

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  28. Wow that was an adventure, I'm sure glad no-one was badly hurt. How on earth could he kite surf carrying a can of beer in the first place?
    Looks a fabulous cruise otherwise, love your videos
    Wren x

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    1. Thank you, and I was wondering that myself. Denise x

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  29. Oh, what a great story! I enjoyed every bit of it. I like those buggy rides, too. I rode on two in India -- one was a horse drawn carriage from our hotel to the Taj Mahal, and one was a bicycle drawn carriage from our hotel to the Ganges River. Lots of fun!

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    1. Thanks Gigi, and how wonderful to have a carriage ride to the Taj Mahal, and also a ride to the Ganges River. What a great memory that must be.

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  30. This sounds like it was such a lot of fun...
    Darn, I have to leave now... Taking mom to doctor's appointment.

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    1. Thanks Kay and I hope your mom's doctor's appointment went well.

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