Sunday, May 20, 2018

Time Spent in Alcatraz and More

Welcome to John's Island

[Another long post ... As always, feel free to skip some or all.]

From the Postcard Collection

A weekly meme for postcard collectors, Postcards for the Weekend, offers collectors a chance to share postcards matching a certain theme. This week the theme is "costumes."  At first I didn't think I would have a card for costumes, but then, how about this one? Thanks to Maria for hosting the linkup.

A postcard celebrating the First Issue of
Superman Comics, June, 1939

Back of the unused "Supercard"

Description from the card.

Sky Watch

I missed several Seattle sky photo opportunities in early May while away from the city. However, here are a few from recent days. This time of year the sun sets so far north on the western horizon that the views from home don't include the water of Puget Sound. Looking out over a ridge in the Magnolia neighborhood the Olympic Mountains are visible in the distance.

May 6th  8:16 PM

May 7th  8:31 PM
As is customary, I'm linking up with Skywatch Friday where bloggers like to share their sky photos. Stop by and enjoy. Thanks to Yogi for hosting.

About half an hour before sunset looking west
over Puget Sound.
May 8th  8:02 PM

May 16th  8:29 PM

May 18th  8:36 PM

Ship Watch

By way of introduction and for new visitors, my view from home allows me to watch the marine traffic coming and going from the Port of Seattle. I enjoy identifying ships and snapping photos. 

MSC Container Ship Letizia departing Seattle
enroute Port of Long Beach, California.
May 9th  5:21 PM

Two sailboats provide some scale on our view of Puget Sound.
The near land is Bainbridge Island
and in the distance foothills of the Olympic Mountains

Similar to the May 8th Sky Watch photo, this view includes a bulk carrier
anchored just west of Elliott Bay Marina and a tiny sailboat near
the right edge of the photo.
May 8th  8:01 PM

May 8th  5:53 AM

Tug and barge arriving, probably from Alaska.
May 8th  5:09 AM

Holland America's Eurodam arriving in Seattle at dawn.
May 8th  5:12 AM

Holland America's Zaandam arriving Seattle
on the morning of May 7th  6:25 AM

Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas docked at Pier 91 in the foreground.
Celebrity Solstice arriving just above.
May 18th  5:30 AM
Celebrity Solstice just about to enter the Cruise Ship Terminal
May 18th  5:47 AM

SBI Capoeira Bulk Carrier Departing with
Cross-Sound State Ferries just above.
May 17th  7:24 AM

USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74)
Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier
cruising around Elliott Bay
May 17th  5:45 AM
Time Spent in Alcatraz

I've been away from the homestead for a couple of weeks. While away I spent some time in Alcatraz. Yes, that famous maximum security Federal Penitentiary. Possibly you've been there, or watched "Escape from Alcatraz", staring Clint Eastwood. I was in San Francisco and finally had the opportunity to tour the famous prison. It was fascinating! Being a "clicker nut" I took a ton of photos. Since this blog has become a sort of journal for me, I'm including my favorite photos out of the large number taken.

The tour for Alcatraz begins here at Pier 33 in San Francisco where
you might board a vessel named Escape for the 15 minute cruise to the island.

After stepping off the ferry to the island, you are greeted by a National Park Ranger
who provides an orientation for the tour. The Ranger here had just asked how
many are visiting from outside the USA and it looked like that was most
of the group.

Alcatraz is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area
GGNRA is managed by the National Park Service

One of the first sights is this Guard Tower

The tour begins with a long uphill climb. You'll be going up
about the same height as a 13 story building.
The day was May 3rd and the bay area was cool and overcast.
The dampness of the environment was evident.

On the way up you'll pass Alcatraz Gardens. I had no idea that
some prisoners kept neat gardens as part of their "work" assignment.

Today's blooms in Alcatraz Garden

Diagram to get oriented at entrance to Main Prison

After entering this gate an excellent audio tour is available.

Tour narrators include correctional officers and former inmates.

Overview of the cellblock.

A typical cell.

As a furnished cell may have appeared.

Isolation cells were provided for unusually dangerous
or violent inmates.

Isolation cells 12, 13, and 14 can be seen here on the
lower level.

Looking out of an isolation cell.

The famous escape description.

One of the actual cells used in the escape.
These four cells were only recently added to the public tour.

Paper mache head made by prisoners to fool guards
into thinking they were asleep. Sheets and towels were
used for the body.

The recreation yard.

Tiny window in cellblock gave prisoners a glimpse of freedom
across the bay.

Control Room

My pic of their pic of Warden's Office

Most elaborate and finely detailed model of the island ever produced.

After finishing the tour and stepping outside looking
across at San Francisco

Kind of scene prisoners probably didn't want to see.
Sounds from the city were haunting.

On the way back down to the boat landing. The clouds are clearing,
it's warming up, and the blue sky made
for a beautiful day. Hard to imagine the agony
of confinement on this island.

Last glimpse back at the island as we return to mainland.
The boat dock is at the far right in this photo.

Name of the shuttle boat = Alcatraz Flyer
The full tour took about 3 1/2 hours.
Almost back to the city in this photo.

Update: Clipper Race Around the World

Our post of April 22nd featured the Clipper Race Around the World. The sailboats left Seattle on April 29th and, in Leg 10 of the race, sailed down the West Coast to Panama. The winner of Leg 10, Dare to Lead, completed the race in 17 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes, and 20 seconds. The boats will now transit the Panama Canal and prepare for the next race start, Panama to New York City, scheduled to begin on June 3rdRead more on the Clipper Race Around the World website.

More Circling Year Calendar 1917

We're keeping up-to-date with the Circling Year Calendar we started publishing in our January 15th post. The story on why we're reprinting a 1917 calendar is there.

Noble Thoughts
As nothing reveals character like the
company we like and keep so nothing
foretells futurity like the thoughts over
which we brood.
Newell Dwight Hillis

Thanks for stopping by John's Island.


  1. Thank you for this wonderful post, John. I especially loved the tour of Alcatraz, and the pictures of the cells. So many people on that tour! And your skywatch pictures are, as always, so wonderful. :-)

  2. I wouldn't never thought of superman for today's theme of Maria's link! I like how on the back of the postcard is written "supercard". It really is.

    Also like to see the pictures of your tour. Wow, it seems a very interesting our. No doubt I would like to do it myself. Thanks for sharing them.

  3. "While away I spent some time in Alcatraz."

    I'm glad they finally caught you!! ;-D

    Looking through these photos, I am imagining a gristled old prisoner many years ago being told, "One day, people will pay good money and ride a boat to come here and look at your cell!"

  4. You find some interesting things to report. I think I read a book about the guy who studied birds and left us with some tremendous knowledge.

  5. John,this post has so many fascinating pictures. Sunsets,mountains and of course the ships are all things that fascinate me.Alcatraz is likely quite interesting as well.I am so glad that this is not a place you or I need to live in.Have a wonderful week.

  6. Hello John, I took the Alcatraz tour years ago. Your photos bring back memories of our trip. The cruise industry must be booming in Seattle, I am sure it is good for the local businesses. Lovely views of the boats and sky. Have a happy day and new week!

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  8. Never been to Alcatraz and liked be able to see it with you. : )
    I've seen a few movies about it though.
    Beautiful sky photos. Always nice to stop by and visit.
    Have a happy day.

  9. Great post this week John loved the sunsets but you surpassed yourself with your visit to Alcatraz long goal I have visited was the one next to my old school in Reading. I'm envious of you with your visit

  10. Well of course, Superman! That's a novel thought for this theme! Thanks John! ;-)


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