Ringing in the new year in jail

Well kinda. I don’t do serious New Years resolutions but I do use it as a time to figure out an action plan for the next year. One of the things I want to do more in 2009 is get out and see more of California and use the camera more. My goal is one cool thing a month. In this vein we’d planned to hit Alcatraz, something I’d been wanting to do for ages.

As we started driving up we ran into quite a bit of rain. We really need the rain out here so that was nice, though I wasn’t looking forward to a full day of rain on our big day in prison. We did get to see a really big, gorgeous rainbow for a good 20 minutes on the road north.

Rainbow

We had some time to kill so we ate lunch on Fisherman’s Wharf and walked around the piers in the drizzle. We eventaully headed down to our ferry to ride over to Alcatraz Island.

Alcatraz ferry

As we got on the boat the weather began to break and we started to get sunny blue skies. Yay!

Blue skies

The view of San Francisco, the Golden Gate bridge, and Alcatraz island from the ferry boat is incredible – worth the trip.

Alcatraz island

The prison at Alcatraz is impressive. Every man had his own cell. They only had around 300 cells in all. The guard with guns were kept up behind a fence on the second level. There was a pulley system where the guards sent their keys up so that the inmates couldn’t grab the keys. The jail had a lot of technological innovations – a system to shut all the cell doors at once, the first rudimentary metal detectors, and so on.

Cell

Fun fact: Al Capone, a resident of Alcatraz, died of syphilis. I did not know that.

They allowed staff to live on the island, so there were full families with kids living on the island. Those buildings haven’t been kept up and are kind of gorgeous in their abandonment.

Out buildling

There’s a nice walk around the outside of the island with a stunning view of the bay. Seriously gorgeous.

San Francisco bay

Anyway, the tour was very cool, the views were stunning, and we had a great day. I’ve got a bunch more photos up on my flickr site so go take a look. Credit to my husband who was working the camera yesterday.

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