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San Francisco (Nov 7th) Trip to Alcatraz

On Sunday Kay had planned a trip to Alcatraz. Redington and I had never been there. Redington was psyched to go because his Tony Hawk video game uses Alcatraz as a skating park. Turns out he recognized many of the buildings as skating areas. This trip included Mark but we left Holly at home with her grandmother.

We started out at the pier. A foggy day again but the sun was able to make itself felt as the day progressed.

Alcatraz from the Ferry

The ferry ride was short and the distance did not look too great to swim. Then one noticed the tides made it appear we were in a river, it was so strong. As we got closer the view got clearer.

Closer View of the Island

The dock is on the north side of the island which is further to the right of this picture. The following photo shows that side of the island with the water tower. The water tower and dock building still have the 'Indians Welcome' graffiti when some Native Americans occupied the island for 16 months in the mid-1960's.

View as We Near the Dock

Once on shore we hiked to the top of the hill to where the cell blocks were. Here we listened to an award winning audio tour. Below Redington tries out a cell for size. He is listening to the audio tour on the headphones. (Did I mention it is award winning?)

Redington in a Cell!

Mark and Redington listen together the stories of the men kept in isolation in this part of the prison (part of the award winning audio tour). Though the regulations forbade it, many of the men were kept in complete darkness for weeks at a time. Some men occupied their minds taking imaginary journeys or as one did invented a game trying to find a button he tossed onto the cell floor.

Listening to the Tour in the Isolation Area

While Melanie checks out an isolation cell Redington tries out the doors to see if they still work.

Redington tries to Lock Melanie into an Isolation Cell

A Happier Melanie in the Prison Yard

After visiting Alcatraz we went to Pier 39 for lunch with a view of Sea Lion TV. There was much drama as the big males defended their platforms while trying to primp themselves up for the few unclaimed females.

Lunch with the Sea Lions

After lunch we walked down towards the tall ships for what has to be the best tourist bargain in San Francisco. For $5 for adults and kids free with 5 or 6 ships to explore. We spent the most time on the Balclutha. There was a field trip of 5th graders on an overnight stay. It was such fun watching them respond to the barked orders of the first mate with serious choruses of "Yes Sir Mr. Pond!" Kay learned some important parenting tips from this visit.

The Balclutha Rigged Ship

Afterwards it was time to head to the airport. Redington and I had a grand time and both wish to thank Kay, Mark, Holly, and Melanie for such an enjoyable visit.