“When the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on the bay, I want to be there in my city…” (Journey)

The Rock. Alcatraz.

We left Richardson Bay today for the Aquatic Park.  As we traversed San Francisco Bay, dodged ferries, tour boats, cargo ships, motorboats as well as other sailboats, we were able to circle “The Rock”.  Alcatraz. Another one of San Francisco’s highlights from another era.  Tickets to this now national park are often sold out 2-3 weeks in advance.  Only one company takes you on to the island tour, while many sub-operators can sell tickets for that one company.

This was pretty cool to float around the island in our own boat. Yes, Alcatraz has a pretty cool history too but you can read about that somewhere else.  One of the things about Alcatraz that we did not know, was that the families of the guards also lived there.  So there were buildings and services for the families needs such as schools, not just those needs of the inmates.  Okay onward to the Aquatic Park.  Oh- and a birthday shout out to our son, Tucker, who turns 21 today! It is August 31st!

An aerial view of the park.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The historic ships at Hyde Street Pier are on the left. The Historic District contains the Maritime Museum ( large, white building), grassy area, bleachers, beach and cove. Municipal pier is in the foreground helping to create the protected waters of the cove.

Woohoo!! We have a permit for the Aquatic Park of San Francisco!  What is this you might ask? Why would we be so excited?  This is right on Fisherman’s Wharf!  We have heard from several sailors that this was an awesome anchorage, close to everything, great views  AND this park is also a free anchorage!  There are some requirements such as your sailboat must be 40 feet or less, you must have a permit (the permit number we have has used each of the alpha-numeric characters at least twice with multiple dashes sprinkled in!) and any dinghy motor must be 5hp or less, your stay is limited to five days, there is required amount of time between visits, and maximum amount of visits per year.  Oh yes,  you do not anchor near the historic ships. What an opportunity, right?

Seriously! Check out this million dollar view!

This nugget could either be coal or a diamond.  There are so many possibilities for this anchorage that will likely not materialize for years due to local politics.  Two swim clubs access the beach nearest the maritime ships. There is no real dinghy space and they do not want you to secure your dinghy to the dock.  The swim clubs do not allow dinghies. The remainder of the beach is almost always filled with people – kids running and playing in the water, couples basking on the sand, families day out. The opportunity to dinghy from your boat to the beach and secure it to explore this electrified area is near impossible.  According to  a swim club member – people swim in this bay constantly hence the 5hp motor and slow speeds to avoid swimmers- the swim clubs were grandfathered in before the park and therefore there has been friction since.  During our entire stay of four days and three nights, there were only two other boats that anchored for one night and this was on a major holiday weekend. Most sailboaters would be willing to pay a $5 dinghy/day/parking to enjoy the wharf. There is an opportunity for the sail club to offer showers similar to gym services.  This would be easy money as there is limited boats in the park, however, it does not seem to be an interest for that. We did not let that stand in our way of enjoying the San Francisco waterfront.

Pier 39

Ahhh!! Pier 39!  It has all the sights and smells of a pier and so much more!! Restaurants, fruit stands, souvenir stores of all types.  Sneak around back and you will find a free comedy show as boisterous sea lions battle their way to the best spot on the platform, whatever the best spot might be.  Who knows, I’m not a sea lion!

Debbie B met up with Debbie and Paul of S/V Three Quarter Time and continued the walkabout.  They have been staying at a different marina. We entered an obscure building which houses the largest collection of coin operated displays and fortune tellers.  As macabre as it sounds, yes, we did put quarters in to see a French execution and an English execution. (It was for historical value!)  The days have been warming up and it is nice to be out of the rain.  One of the things on Deb’s shopping list has been a fly swatter.  These pesky things are getting brazen about coming onboard and sitting on you for company.  Deb walked to two drugs stores and a grocery store before finding two to bring back to the boat.  The war on flies is on!

The sun sets at the Aquatic Park beach.

Time for bed. Hmmm… This is interesting. As the night begins to settle in, the water traffic stills, and there is no whisper of wind.  Then why is the boat rocking side to side so? This would be a good time for you to revisit our “Welcome Aboard” page for the configuration of our pullman berth. This is quickly becoming reminiscent of the time we moored on the “wrong” side of Blake Island.  The rollers (waves) from the ferries and cargo ships had us bracing ourselves for a ride throughout the night.  Not restful.  What the heck?! All night long we would be teased with waves slowing down and stopping….for a minute.  Every time you thought it was safe to let go….  As John sleeps on the outside of the berth, his fear of falling out won out – he finished his night on the settee.  Hmmm…. must be something about tonight.

Various buildings and home fronts along the tour.
One of the Victorian painted ladies.

1 September 2017

Not that we are counting or anything… but is Deb on day four of her trip recovery? John always has a morning chore list of boat maintenance or clever ideas to enhance boat features. Mornings are his sanctuary time and Deb is careful to not interrupt by staying tucked in bed until the aroma of coffee is too tempting. Since we weren’t able to arrange tickets for Alcatraz, we did decide to treat ourselves to a double decker red bus tour that allows you to hop on and hop off near sites of interest as well as see the majority of sites with a guide.  Since we were settled into the Aquatic Park, we did not look at the anticipated weather for today… 106 degrees! Yes, San Francisco broke a record on the day we decided to visit the concrete jungle. There was no respite from this heat, cellphones were going off everywhere with notifications of heat warnings.  Many places in San Francisco do not have air conditioning, led to believe that the temperature here is moderate and AC isn’t necessary.   We are wondering if anyone has re-thought that idea after today.  Deb picked out two places that she wanted to return to tomorrow, however, all we can think of is getting back to the boat today.  No time like the present to try out the shower system…

No, you won’t find any photos of this yet. Yes, with it so hot and we were sweaty, a shower was necessary.  All the fresh salty water you want up front (bow of the boat) and the hot fresh water rinse will be waiting for you at the back of the boat.  Although we really thought we would be doing this in warmer water, here we were. Just us and hundreds of beach goers. Swimmers were cruising by, walkers on the pier, and kids with their families on the beach. Let’s hope there are less rollers tonight.  Again, who could disagree with this view for the night!

Ghiradelli Square from our Aquatic Park water view.


2 September 2017

This is how the day started off. Two old Salts.

“Blew out my flip flops, stepped on a pop top” – okay, wrong coastline, and it wasn’t his flip flops.  We were on a mission to save his Keen’s (favorite shoes) in which the stitching had started to come apart.    John had found a shoe repair person near the grocery store and we dropped them off yesterday and planned on picking them up today as well as following up on the other two points of interest Deb wanted.  It was 99 degrees today.  Dripping with sweat, heat alerts still going off on the cell phones, Deb reminded John of all the steps we were getting in this new lifestyle. Okay, where is this other place?  Two miles away?  Surely this place would be something to interest John.  Do you know where the term “shanghaied” came from?

Outside the new “Old Ship Saloon”.
The cleat from the old ‘Old Ship Saloon’.
The bronze plaque.

Old Ship Saloon.  Well, now it is the New ‘Old Ship Saloon’.  Evidently the ‘Old Ship Saloon’ was also a victim to the earthquake damage.  The original bar maintained parts of the hull from the demised ship.  The new bar only has the bronze plaque and the large ship cleat out front.  We were the first in today.  A shot and an ale. The bartender was a great conversationalist, offering information that we were looking for in the history of the building but also as a wanderer and traveler in life and sharing what it was like to live here in the city.  And he kept our water glasses filled.  And no one was “shanghaied”!

Ran into an old friend at Madame Tussaud’s.

We meandered our way back, starting around Pier 2!  The Aquatic Park is somewhere around Pier 42! Next stop however, would be near Pier 39 for some famous Bodouin Sourdough bread!  And an In-n-Out burger.  We were spent.

Pier 39
Boudin Sourdough Bakery
You didn’t! Yes, yes I did! and the round one? Called a Chocolate Volcano! Sourdough bread filled with chocolate. I think I have died and gone to heaven.

We picked up anchor after returning from shore.  As delightful as our view is, we are ready to head back to Richardson Bay and to sleep at night.



One thought on ““When the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on the bay, I want to be there in my city…” (Journey)”

  1. What a delight to get your updates and the pictures are amazing. You truly are taking us along for the ride. You probably wouldn’t have seen much more if you were inside Alcatraz and again amazing pics. Thank you, thank you. Pops will have such fun reading all the exciting adventures. Even about John blowing out his shoes. Good he found a cobbler, who’d a thunk. Hope you were able to stay in bed last night after moving the boat. Another lesson yes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *