City by the Bay; the Port of San Francisco

port of san francisco 001

I spent Friday, July 12, in the Embarcadero in San Francisco with my friends Kathleen Cooke and Lillian Lee. It was the first photo safari the three of us have done together. It was great.

shimmering scarf

Lillian and I met Kathleen at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. It’s pretty easy to get to; from Southbound 101, take the St. Francis exit, veer left. At the stoplight, turn left. You’ll drive about four blocks before you see the large, free parking lot for the ferry. The fog was still in, pearly gray, and I was wondering about our photos (although you can get great photos on a foggy day), but while we waited for the 11:40 ferry the fog began to thin, turning to silvery mist and then evaporating, leaving the thinnest veil of shell-pink mist overhead.

brother island

West Brother and East Brother Islands 

angel island and sailboat


Angel Island and Notorious Alcatraz

As our catamaran, Mendocino, shot across the bay I started adding trips to my now-I’m-retired-let’s-do-that list. First of all, a trip to Angel Island. Secondly, a tour of Alcatraz. I don’t know why, particularly; it’s certainly a site of untrammeled human misery, but the history and architecture of the island are fascinating. I’m writing a science fiction novel with a new prison built on that island so it would be worth it to see it up close and not just in a movie. (I say that, like,“Oh, I must do research!” The prison gets about two paragraphs’ worth of time in the book. But I’m just sayin’, it ought to be authentic, y’know?)

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Our view from the Mendocino


Neither clerk wanted to be in the picture, but I got a third ofsomeone. Sorry.

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Cowgirl Creamery

lillian and new camera

Lillian experiments with her new camera

We got to the SF Ferry Terminal shortly after noon and the place was bustling. A lot of people were tourists like us but many were in business clothes, coming down from the financial district to grab lunch. A number of local products are represented in the terminal marketplace; BeeKind, a Sebastopol business, Stone House Olive Oil, and Cowgirl Creamery, which is a Marin-based cheese-making concern with great cheese. Strauss Family Creameries, also based in Marin, is represented at the soft-serve ice cream place.

Pedicabs! A thing I’ve read about, but not seen in the US.  We don’t have many in my home town. The Embarcadero is full of them. (Pictures will follow in a later post.)

heermann gull

I had also never seen a Heermann’s gull before. When seen in contrast with the “local” gulls and kittiwakes, they are distinctive for their size (2/3 as big as the others) their nearly-red bills and black legs and feet. They are also shier and less aggressive than what I’m used to; almost a wallflower by seagull standards.

market street 002

Market Street

market street 14th floor

And Market Street

ferry terminal 14th floor

Ferry Terminal from the 14th Floor

After a spicy Thai lunch with a velvety Thai iced tea to wash it down, we visited a street fair at the end of Market Street. Kathleen wondered if the Hyatt Regency still had the exterior glass elevator, so we made our way up past road work and sewer work (phew!) to find out. They did not. The internal elevators are glass and look like old fashioned hour-glasses, or maybe large shot glasses gliding up and down. You can ride to the fourteenth floor without a key-card, so we did, and took some pictures from the public areas there.

men of the hyatt

The men of the Hyatt

Market Street is a pleasing blend of old buildings and new featureless skyscrapers. US Bank wins the award for most ugly bank building. The Federal Reserve is a mix of both; it doesn’t have gingerbread and fretwork, but it isn’t bland either.

dancing gull

Sheldon, the soft-shoe seagull (had a very shiny nose.)


bay bridge and people

Bay Bridge with people. Many more bridge and boat pictures coming.

We spent the whole day, catching the 7:20 pm ferry back, and never went for than four blocks from the terminal. We could have walked a few blocks (or taken a pedicab!) south and gotten a whole different array of pictures. We also came up with about a dozen other things we could do.

ferry terminal roof

Good friends, good weather, good food and good photo ops. Some days are good days. Some days are great days. This was a great day.

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4 Responses to City by the Bay; the Port of San Francisco

  1. Chad Hull says:

    All those nice pictures reminds me of how badly I need a vacation! I’m not sure I could manage to ever pull myself away from the cheese shop.

  2. Marion says:

    You should come out! San Francisco is wonderful, but there is more to the North Bay than just the city.

  3. Chad Hull says:

    I’ve been the San Francisco three and the state of California has banned me for life. Every time I go there is a catastrophic nature disaster. Earthquake the first time; mudslide the second; and the third time half the state spontaneously caught fire…

    All the damage aside I have a great time every time I go. Especially running around Sonoma and the wineries.

  4. Marion says:

    Earthquakes? Slides? Wildfires? Those aren’t disasters; that’s just Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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