Saturday, April 18, 2009

What is Jail Island, Alcatraz? -1

You drive in San Francisco city. You drive from Union Square area heading north toward Fisherman's Wharf, taking Leavenworth Street. Around the place where Leavenworth comes across Lombard Street on the top of the hill, the road starts to be downhill. In front of your wind shield, lower part of your eye sight, you are now viewing northern part of San Francisco Bay. You will recognize there is an island, shaped really like a huge battleship, with sharp steep edge standing rectangular from ocean surface.

You are watching Alcatraz Island known as "Jail Island" in San Francisco Bay.

I have known the name "Alcatraz" from movies and stories even before I came to San Francisco. It is world famous (or infamous). It was 1985 when I saw it from Fisherman's Wharf. I talked to myself. "Is it the island which is famous "Infamous?" as inescapable island jail?" The island had a unusual shape as I mentioned. The both edges of the island was not slope, they were sharp steep cliff as I mentioned above. It also looked like a huge ship. It gave me an impression immediately that it is a big "Battleship", not usual ship. But, other than that, with shiny California sun shine, it did not look like a jail at all.

In addition, the island looked too close to the Fisherman's Wharf to be "an inescapable island jail". I am a swimmer. I can swim 2-3 miles with no problem. I know the danger of making mistake on measuring and estimating the distance to my goal point for long distance swimming in ocean. It can kill me. Roughly measuring only the distance from Wharf's coast to Alcatraz, I was confident the distance is short enough that I can swim to the island.



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Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

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8 comments:

Peter Baca said...

Hi Shaw,

I was waiting for your post to Alcatraz! It is a very interesting place.

I took a tour when we were in San Francisco one time. They say it is haunted! I don't know about!

The tour guide indicated that the strong tides keep people from swimming to or from the island. They have made so many movies about Alcatraz .

Thanks for the post!

Best Regards

Pete Baca
The Car Enthusiast Online

Shaw said...

Hello Pete,

Yes, it is another very interesting place to visit in Bay Area. Also it is a part of interesting history. I hope you enjoy my post.

Thank you for your comment.

Shaw Funami
FIll the Missing Link

Giovanan Garcia said...

Hi Shaw

I have heard the reason that they closed down Alcatraz was that someone did escape from Alcatraz.

It is an interesting place, so many movies have told stories about it.
Thanks
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. it looks pretty horrible and as Pete says the strong currents are extremely dangerous - from what I've heard ..

so either you won't have tried swimming it & you'll be telling us more tomorrow .. or you've gone and disappeared to the depths of Alcatraz!!

thanks for introducing us to Alcatraz ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Giovanna said...

Hi Shaw,
There is a lot of history with Alcatraz, thanks for giving us a little history!
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Shaw said...

Hi Giovanna,

I will talk about the reason of closing in later articles. Please keep coming.

Thank you for your comment.

Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

Shaw said...

Hello Hilary,

I don't scare you, I promiss. (LOL)
Alcatraz is unique prison. It is interesting place to visit. It is more so because it is getting not so easy to get ferry ticket. Too many sightseeing people want to visit.

Thank you for your comment.
Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

Shaw said...

Hi Giovanna,

Thank you for your coming again. It is historically interesting place. Please enjoy the pictures nad histories of this unique jail island.

Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link