Hello Friends and Family,

1977 - San Francisco & Marin County

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

In terms of land area, San Francisco is a relatively small city. As a result, just about anywhere you happen to be in The City, you will be able to spot famous landmarks. Most of you probably know or can guess that this is a photo of Alcatraz Island. Their website states, "This small island was once a fort, a military prison, and a maximum-security federal penitentiary. In 1969, the Indians of All Tribes occupied Alcatraz for 19 months in the name of freedom and Native American civil rights."

Note that access to the island was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is being re-opened in phases. If you have never been there, do take a tour on your next visit to San Francisco (hopefully vaccinated and carrying your mask). I think the tour is quite interesting.

Along the shoreline of the Bay is the San Francisco Maritime Park and Museum, containing many historical artifacts from the maritime history of The City. Moored outside is the CA Thayer, a wooden-hulled, three-masted schooner, designed for carrying lumber. She was built in 1895 and sailed with a small crew of only eight people, the captain, four seamen, two mates, and a cook. She was recently restored.

Unfortunately, due to Covid, the facility is temporarily closed — check before planning a visit.

This two-masted sailboat caught my eye. I have long cherished a dream of being rich enough to afford one of these beauties. When I lived in Rio Del Mar (south end of Santa Cruz), I even took sailing lessons — albeit in a much smaller boat than this. But the big bucks never trickled down to me so I was left with my dreams, a number of lovely photos, and some losing lottery tickets thrown into the trash. 😎

This shot is from the beach on the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate. Note how rough the ocean is — lacking the protection that the San Francisco Bay provides for boats, both large and small — but it is fun to look at.

The building on the right side of the photo is a famous San Francisco landmark, the Cliff House, a popular restaurant with fantastic views. This structure is actually the third iteration of the restaurant — the previous ones having been destroyed by fire and earthquakes. It is currently closed and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Authority is trying to obtain a new vendor to resume operations.

Just beyond the Cliff House (and not visible from this vantage point), one will find the remains of the amazing Sutro Baths, built in 1894. Adolph Sutro's dream for the Baths was to provide a healthy, recreational, and inexpensive swimming facility for thousands of San Franciscans. A classic Greek portal opened to a massive glass enclosure containing seven swimming pools at various temperatures. There were slides, trapezes, springboards, and a high dive. The power of the Pacific Ocean during high tide could fill the 1.7 million gallons of water required for all the pools in just one hour. The Baths could accommodate 10,000 people at one time and offered rental bathing suits and towels for patrons.

Unfortunately, the facility fell on hard times, and in 1964, developers began demolition, planning to replace the Baths with high-rise apartments. In 1966, a fire destroyed what was left of the Baths; as a result, The City did not pursue the high-rise apartment plans. The ruins are left for the curious to view and envision what it was like in its prime.

Time to cross the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County — first stopping to look back at the City. Can you spot a few landmarks such as Coit Tower, the Transamerica Building, and the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge, the latter connecting San Francisco and Oakland? You may recall that during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a portion of the eastern section's upper deck collapsed onto the lower deck and the bridge was closed for a month. (I was on vacation on Maui at the time and I recall the crazed announcers shouting that the bridge had collapsed. As a result, I learned to take the "headlines" with a grain of salt — the actual damage and loss of one life were bad enough but nowhere near what they made it sound like.)

Some of my favorite places in Marin County are Sausalito (pictured here), Tiburon, and Muir Woods National Monument.

I remember Scoma's Restaurant as a fabulous dining establishment — a bit expensive but very nice. I just checked online and it has survived the pandemic and is open for business. Just think about dining above the water of the San Francisco Bay. Way cool.

One of the very interesting features of Sausalito is the large number of houseboats that people actually live on (like a floating condo). In case you cannot read the sign on the back of this one, it's the Wooden Shoe. I cannot imagine living on a houseboat but I think it would be fun to experience.

By the way, I just happened to notice that VRBO is advertising houseboats for vacation rentals. The first one they listed was only $155 per night. Maybe when I win the lottery, I'll stay a few nights.

Oh, how nice — another one of those big sailboats I mentioned earlier. When I put my photographer hat on again, I also have to admire the pattern of light reflected on the front of the boat — a very interesting artistic effect.

And next, another view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin County side. Probably a million photographers have captured this view. It's a good one.

This view is probably the most photographed vantage point of the bridge. I just love the way the fog rolls off the Marin hillside and through the bridge cables.

Here, that same fog layer can be seen enveloping The City's shoreline. Feel free to compare this view to the fifth photograph above. Welcome to San Francisco.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com