Monday, September 14, 2015

Alcatraz Island - The Rock

For those of you who are planning to visit San Francisco, do remember to factor in a few more days to explore this beautiful city !

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Due to the tight schedule, we could only stay for a day before driving off again the next day. From Anaheim, we drove to San Francisco with plans in mind to visit Alcatraz Island - The Rock and Golden Gate Bridge.

Initially, I was really disappointed when all tickets to The Rock have been sold out. We were even mentally prepared to queue in the early morning. I was really upset with dear deep inside because I have told him to book the tickets early and do not wait till the very last minute !  But I really have no idea how did he managed to book under JB Road Bike Tours. The tickets to Alcatraz Island came as a package with rental of the bikes as well.

The journey to San Francisco took about 6 hours drive. Our stopover was just to pack our lunch, toilet breaks and petrol top ups. To save time, we ate on the go while dear drove.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Passed by a cattle company along the expressway.
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Arrival in San Francisco
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

While we were stuck in a slow moving traffic,  I took the chance to snap some photos with my heart pumping away because our departure time to Alcatraz Island was scheduled to depart at 3.30pm. What if we could not make it on time !  Yes, we ran immediately to the pier upon touching down at the hotel. I won't forget for sure when I had Vera strapped onto me in the carrier, ran against the cold wind blowing in my face and a diaper bag.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Departure point for Alcatraz Island
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Pier 33
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Having doubts about her prison visit
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Scenic view of The Golden bridge from Alcatraz Ferry
( Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Skyline of San Francisco City
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
It was once the Alcatraz Prison on San Francisco Bay, now turned into a National Park.

Alcatraz Island from afar
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Spot the oldest light station on U.S. West Coast - Alcatraz Island Lighthouse
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
On the left :The Water Tower at the Recreation yard
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Where new inmates report used to report to as well as collection of their prison uniforms.
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS 
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS 
Common shower area for the inmates.
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

We opted to join in the 45 minutes, award-winning Audio Tour recorded by former Alcatraz inmates, correctional officers, and residents as they reminisced about life on the island as we walked through the cell blocks.

Putting on the audio device over his neck.
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS 
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS 
Recreation Yard
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS) 

The recreation yard was an area where the inmates could spend their little free time, had their dose of fresh air and the only perk to them would be the awesome scenic view of the Golden Gate Bridge from afar.

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS 
Block D - For solitary confinement
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

Block D confined inmates with the most serious offences or those who were unusually dangerous and violent. They called it "The hole" as there were no windows. The inmates were isolated in total darkness. I felt the coldness and "chill" when I stepped into the dark cell. Didn't spend more time there as I felt uncomfortable especially having Vera with me.  

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS 
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS 
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS 
Library for the inmates
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Do you know that tear gas canisters were installed in the dining hall in the event of riots. One of the most dangerous place where knives and forks were most easily available for them to fight with each other. 
 
Dining hall which was also known as "Gas Chambers"
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
  
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Listening to the story of Alcatraz Siege
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Gun Gallery
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)
Plans were made to attempt escapes. Vent holes in their cells were enlarged using their self-made drills during music hours such that the noises were being covered up without anyone realizing. Inmates made dummy heads with human hair, placed in their beds so that during the headcount at night, they were thought to be in the cell but in fact, they had crawled out through the small vent hole so that they would not be missed during night time headcounts. They used raincoats which were issued to them to construct rafts to escape from San Francisco Bay. Due to the strong currents and the super cold water, it is still not known if they have made it alive to the shores.
  
Dummy head made with human hair
(Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS)

Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS
Photo taken with Canon Power Shot SX530 HS 

Freezing out in the strong wind to have a picture taken with San Francisco City right behind me. =P    

We left Alcatraz Island by the evening, went back to the hotel and got the kids bathed before meeting up with a friend for dinner at Applebees.

Dinner @ Applebees
Love the colous of the sky in the evening
Here are some tips to share if  you are planning to make your visit to Alcatraz Island :
1. The Ferry Schedule, note that the first ferry for the island departs at 9am, runs between the island and San Francisco at about 30 -40 mins interval .
2. Closing hours are different for different season. The island closes at : 4.30 pm during fall, winter and spring months but at 6.30 pm for Summer. - Island is closed only on Christmas and New Year's Day or in extreme weather
3. Book early ! If you remember I mentioned at the beginning that all tickets were sold out ? Usually tickets will be sold out one week before during summer months and holiday weekends. 
4. Alcatraz night tours are available if you would like to experience the island in the evening. It caters to smaller crowds and the viewing of the dramatic San Francisco skyline is among the Night Tour's attractions. Visit www.alcatrazcruises.com for the schedule, prices, ticket availability & purchase.
5. Unpredictable weather as weather may have sudden changes. Usually during the summer, fog and wind are common and can be rainy during winter. I guess we were not used to the cooling weather there ? We were kind of freezing our butts off when the cold air blew into our face.
6. For parents bringing the little ones along, do note that there is only sale of bottled water at the dock-level store, should you need to buy any food, you can do so on the ferry. Food can only be consumed at a given picnic area, at the dock level.
7. Due to the steep roads, should there be visitors who are unable to make the climb up Alcatraz's road due to mobility issues, you can make use of their SEAT (Sustainable Easy Access Transport) electric shuttle that runs on a regular basis between the dock and the prison building.

Here, I conclude our Day 2 of our 13 days trip and my apologies for some misalignment. I am still trying to get it fixed.

Here's our planned Itinerary :
Pre Trip Preparation : Our Travel Essentials
Day 1 - Disneyland Theme Park in Anaheim, California

Thank you for reading and if you have enjoyed reading my posts, do follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram !  

Disclaimer : This is not a sponsored post. Canon Power Shot SX530 HS was solely for review purposes with thanks to Canon Singapore.  


No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...