7 November 2005 (posted 4 December)
No sooner had I laid down my twenty-one dollars and boarded the boat than we were off.
They have a great system for handling their international audience. As you board, youíre asked to take a headset and receiver which relays a commentary to you via a series of different channels, a different language available on each. A very instructive commentary, it was impeccably timed to the progress of the boat.
Apparently Ghirardelli Square is actually a very famous chocolate factory, something I was completely unaware of and much in its favour in determining priorities for my remaining days here.
We passed the Marina district and of course, I was eagle eyed for the Safeway, but given the lack of relief in this area of reclaimed land, it was never likely that I could pick anything out. Continuing past the Presidio we passed the southern supports of the Golden Gate Bridge, designed to span over the top of a historic fort, then navigated under the bridge itself.
As we approached the southern tower, I realised that the position of the sun offered a fantastic opportunity to capture the tower in silhouette. Rather than trying to judge the perfect moment, I just kept snapping as we sailed underneath. I scored not only a plethora of great individual shots, but a great series documenting our progression under the bridge which will look amazing if I present it well.
There was lots of interesting info about the bridge itself, how it takes its name from the passage it crosses, which for many years was undiscovered by Spanish explorers since an optical illusion courtesy of the mountains behind conceals its entrance, just like the entrance to Milford Sound in New Zealand.
After skirting around the bay, we found our way across to Alcatraz; while it had been recommended to me from several quarters, it wasnít at the top of my list. Iíd made the snap decision on this cruise largely because of the bridge, but it was interesting nonetheless to see the prison closeup and hear a little of its history, even though Iíd largely heard it before courtesy of Tales aka Michael and Thackís initial meeting.
After Alcatraz, we got a great view of the Bay Bridge, earlier and longer than the Golden Gate yet nowhere near as famous, and the city itself as we returned to it. The church where Marilyn Monroe married somebody was pointed out, the Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill and of course, the Transamerica Pyramid, the most instantly recognisable building on the San Francisco skyline if you exclude her bridges; Iíve captured it from all over the city.
Cheers, Rob ;)