We’ve rambled and wandered and gone further than we thought, then doubled back to the waterfront, enjoying Pier 39 and the seals and Hard Rock Cafe. We finished lunch and got out of the restaurant around 2 pm. Al wanted to check out the submarine and the Liberty ship, so he headed off to those, while I went back to the ship (subs and military/wartime ships don’t interest me at all).
I watched the harbour, which was alive with boats – freight of all sizes, business, police, pleasure, tour and sailboats. I enjoyed the scenery of the bay, which is completely dominated by Alacatraz Island – you just can’t get away from it, and it’s THE major tourist attraction on the waterfront.
I saw at least three different Alcatraz tour companies, and there was prison themed tourist merchandise everywhere, which, for the record, disgusted me. Sorry, but I just don’t feel right about capitalizing on someone else’s misery and from the little I know about Alcatraz, it was a miserable, miserable place. When we come back, I’ll probably do the tour, just because prisons and prison culture interests me, and for possible use in my writing, but buy a tourist thing to say I’d been there? No thanks.
So, I have to say I just don’t understand some things about modern life. While I was enjoying the view and busyness of the harbour, I noticed a police boat zoom by just aft of us. I could see enough to see there were two young ladies, dressed as if for a party, on the boat. I assumed, this being a police boat, they weren’t there to sample wine and hors d’oeurves. The boat disappeared behind the buildings at Pier 39, and I figured they were being offloaded there to be transported to the cop shop. But about 15 minutes or so later, the boat reappeared, young ladies still on board and as free as they’d been before. Go figgur? The boat headed to the opposite shore and I lost track of them in the busyness of the harbour. So, what was up with that? Or do I want to know, even?
The ship was loading right under our cabin, so I watched that – saw our cellar master out there, checking to be sure all the wine was delivered. Apparently there was some mixup in Vancouver and not all the wines ordered got to the ship. So we’ll get our Carmenere after all.
There was a lot of movement on the pier – Forklifts moving huge loaded pallets from hither to yon, stacking them up in a neat line near the open cargo holds, and then moving more pallets around the pier. There was a lot of “put pallet A here, then move pallet B, C, D and E over there, then move Pallet A to Location 4, then move C, D, and E over to location 9, then reverse it all and move everything back to where it was and then do it all again, only the other way this time.”
And are we really going to consume THAT many cigarettes in 17 days? An entire pallet piled taller than a man, all some kind of cigarette (not being up on American brands (or Canadian for that matter, anymore) I have no idea what they were – red and white is as close as I could get). A lot less wine than smokes being loaded on, I noticed. Three pallets of flour (that’s a lot of flour – those were 100 pound or better sacks!) and lots and lots of unidentifiable boxes, crates and loads being lined up to get the stuff on the ship.
Several people were gathered around watching one guy destroying somebody’s vintage Mustang. That was entertaining, at least to all the dock workers assembled. He sat in the car, started the engine, gunned it and we watched as steam and smoke poured out from underneath it and gears ground and squealed and groaned and (probably) sheared. He got out and said, “Gee, sorry about that!” I could hear the grin in the voice from 8 decks up, as he got out, slammed the car door and walked away. Since the car disappeared sometime before sunset and there were no cops showing up to arrest anybody, I assume that nothing really awful happened, but wow!
Getting the big trucks out after they emptied the loads was interesting – it’d back up, somebody would frantically signal a stop while somebody else got the forklift to move the pallets in the way, which were then deposited exactly in the place the truck needed to be next, the truck would do the fill of the first back & fill, then start the back of the second one, then somebody would frantically signal a stop while somebody else got the forklift to move the pallets just moved to a new position, which was, you guessed it, right in the way of the next back in the back and fill. And this was also while the driver was trying very hard NOT to bump any of the other 18 wheelers and trailers that were cluttering up the pier waiting for their turn.
The gulls and other birds didn’t seem to care about all this, and just hung around waiting for food to be dropped:
Al got back in good time, but the ship’s departure was delayed. First because the loading was extremely slow (you didn’t figure that out, did you? <g>). We were supposed to be away at 5, but at 4:30 they still had over 90 pallets to load onto the ship, and then because someone was taken ill and had to go by ambulance to the hospital.
By the time the lines were ready to be thrown off, we were back in our stateroom, and watched as a mid-size, brand new sedan drove up to the aft lines. (It was too dark to get any decent photos as this happened). A man and woman in fairly nice evening dress got out, and thingee holding them. Attached them to the car somehow and backed the car up enough to let them then lift the lines by hand over the top of the “thingee” (I lack the proper term) on the pier. Those ships lines are heavy suckers! Got back in the car, drove up a few feet and unhooked those lines from the pier. Then drove to the bow of the ship, got out, unhooked those lines and then drove off the pier. Very strange, but I guess that’s how they do it here.
It was after sunset before we finally were under weigh, so we didn’t get the photos of approaching and going under the bridge in the evening light, but did get some of the other bridges and the city skyline as we left.
The Coit Tower as the sun sets
Sunset in the bay, looking west
The bay at twilight
(Late breaking note: the person walked off the ship to the ambulance, so it wasn’t as bad as it might have been – I hope they’re okay.)
A lovely, tiring day, and definitely, some of my heart stayed behind!
We have two days at sea coming up – wine, women and song, blue skys and deep seas, and a tour of the ship.