At first we were not going to visit Alcatraz. Then several friends and acquaintances highly recommended the trip. Turns out its one of the top attractions in San Francisco.
The thought of seeing a crumbling concrete structure on a small island in the middle of San Francisco Bay just didn’t seem that appealing however we figured there must be a reason so many people said it was a ‘must see’. Plus I knew there would be some great shots of the San Francisco skyline.
The grounds had a number of gardens, first installed when Alcatraz was an military fort and then later by inmate trustees.
And did you notice how small the cells are??? No wonder men went ‘stir crazy’. Not to mention they could often hear the sounds of women laughing, music, and ‘the good life’ wafting over the waters from nearby San Francisco clubs and bars.
Alcatraz prison itself turned out to be pretty interesting, especially the information on the various escape attempts over the years. At least two of the prison escapes resulted in the prisoners never being captured or seen again. The official party line is they are ‘presumed dead’ but you’ll never convince me some of them didn’t make it shore.
Especially the threesome that, over a period of months, drilled thru the concrete wall in their cells (see the hole in the picture above), built a raft out of rubber raincoats, and then escaped one foggy night. The raft was later found deflated on a nearby island but authorities claim the men drowned.
I don’t buy it…. In fact MythBusters, one of my favorite shows since they feature the practical application of science to prove/disprove various myths and urban legends, recreated the entire escape, including making a raft with home-made glue and paddling to an island. Result: totally plausible.
We had beautiful weather for our trip over; the San Francisco Bay can get very windy, cold and foggy but our weather was close to perfect.
We saw several boats in the bay getting ready for America’s Cup races but we didn’t see the newer catamaran design being used by Larry Ellison, Oracle’s founder.
We also explored Pier 39: live entertainment, restaurants and shopping galore! The ultimate tourist trap but we had fun.