Brisbane, QLD

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


When we were in San Francisco we joined Tauck Tours. They took us for a catamaran sail on the Bay. While we waited for the yacht we walked along Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf. The pier was overtaken by sea lions some time ago.  The city built these pontoons especially for the sea lions so that the pier could be returned to humans again. The tourist kind.

 Why they all crowded on one pontoon when there were plenty for them to rest on, I don't know. Maybe they were keeping warm it was sunny but cold. 

Kissy kissy!

Our group boarded the yacht. We had a colourful and friendly captain. He looked like an old 'sea salt'.

Our tour guide on the left points out places of interest. Bill and I sat inside out of the wind except when we wanted to take some shots. We had a nice lunch on board.

 We passed Alcatraz and sailed towards........
 That well known icon of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, which is actually red. The bay and the bridge are often covered in fog but we were lucky on this day.

Yep we went right underneath.

On our way back to the hotel the bus stopped at the lookout so we could see the bridge from  different angles.
Then we drove over it to get home.
The tour directer promised us a surprise dinner for that night.


  1. my hubby is a salty old seadog, he would love this. i love the kisssy kissy and i was thinking the same thing, all crowded on one pontoon. what a great idea to put them there. i would be spending my whole day watching and snapping the sea lions.

  2. I would dearly love to take a cruise like this on San Francisco Bay. I really like the pictures you got of the bridge from the catamaran.

  3. I had no idea that the Golden Gate bridge was red - I thought it was grey. Or 'gold' would be more appropriate, wouldn't it?

    And dontcha think that seals have faces like dogs? Sometimes I flatten Milly's ears and she's a dead ring for a sea lion. (I know, I need to get out more).

  4. Sounds like so much fun - but - I did a harbor cruise in Oahu once and I got so darn sick I've never wanted to ever ride on water again. Yuck!

  5. Very nice photos. Some friend of mine recently cycled across the bridge...there sole or driving purpose for the trip to SF...he had studied the bridge... 1 mile in length..built ahead of schedule and under budget. Wow...what a deal you don't hear of much.

  6. I love the sea lions and the tour across the Bay, Diane. Amazing structure, that bridge. Thanks for the excellent shots which enables us to share the ride with you!

  7. That looks like a great tour, thanks Diane. Always great to see San Francisco and if we ever get out that way again I will definitely take the boat tour.

  8. Love that bridge! You might be interested to know that the strait that the bridge spans was named "The Golden Gate" in 1846 and that is why the bridge is called The Golden Gate Bridge. Here's a blurb I found: The Golden Gate Strait is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The strait is approximately three-miles long by one-mile wide with currents ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 knots. It is generally accepted that the strait was named "Chrysopylae", or Golden Gate, by John C. Fremont, Captain, topographical Engineers of the U.S. Army circa 1846. It reminded him of a harbor in Istanbul named Chrysoceras or Golden Horn.

    1. Thanks for that info. It explains why the bridge is not golden.

  9. Great Golden Gate pictures. I didn't know the Sea Lions came so close to the city. I saw some of them near Monterey and they really stink and are dangerous in the breeding season.


  10. Great tour and beautiful pictures. What was dinner? (Pragmatic and inquiring minds want to know.)..... On the Oregon Coast, the sea lions do that same thing, crowding into one bunch on one pile of rocks when there are lots of others available.) Just their thing I guess!

  11. Great photos Diane. Like Filip & Kristel above, I recall the sea-lions do stink! That was one aspect I do remember when I toured Pier 39. I kept thinking how will I eat if I can smell this "aroma" !!! Sea-lions here do the same thing, all huddle together, maybe they like the "pong" !! ha ha
    Thankfully the smell didn't get into the famous fish restaurants down there. I was hoping to do a tour of Alcatraz, but is was closed - maintenance work.
    I hope the tour took you for a meal on Pier 39, there is one World famous fish restaurant down there. Bookings are essential even back in the 1970's, maybe now you might have to book weeks in advance???
    I also recall that it was windy and far colder down on the waterfront, than in downtown SFO!
    Any videos with this tour, Bill?? I am prepared for anything now - ha ha!
    Great post, Diane.
    Colin (HB)

  12. I was going to say something about the smell too, but many have already.

  13. What great photos Diane! I think SF is fantastic, although very windy. Those sea lions are kings of the Bay.

    LOVED your Birthday Bear post - will you wear the cap yourself???

    Happy 21st, again!

  14. Awesome, Diane. Can't believe that my Aussie friends have seen more of San Francisco than I have ---and I've lived in the USA all of my life... ha ha


  15. WE spent a day on Alcatraz walking around, taking a little mini-tour around the cell area, the dining room, outdoor exercise yard and the warden's house area.
    Saw the cell Al Capone was assigned to, and also re-lived the episode when a bunch of prisoners got out of their cells, took a number of guards hostage and then had to hunker down as the Marines shelled the prison from the mainland.
    If I recall correctly, none of the breakout prisoners lived through it because they didn't have the correct keys to get out of the block & into the open, and 2 or 3 guards were executed.
    Might have happened in the late 1920s-early 1930s era.

    One of the mini-tour guides was adamant that none of the prisoners who escaped on another occasion [Clint Eastwood starred in the movie about that, remember ??] would have got through the currents on their floaties made out of prison issue raincoats and onto the mainland.

    I don't believe any of the 3 or 4 who finally got to the water's edge were ever heard of again.

    We stayed our 5 nites in SFO in late 2009 in the Marina Motel on Lombard, just a block away from 'eat' street: Chestnut Street. It's the Golden Gate end of Lombard away from the windy, curved street section of Lombard.

    We also did a boat tour out into the drink and under the Golden Gate. Did you notice how fierce the currents and tides were out there ?? Fearsome.

  16. Looks like a fun tour. I'm sure the sea lions are social animals and like being together to chat about their day. :-)

  17. Sea lions make me think of giant slugs. (Must be Julie's comment about mice in the silos that has me thinking wierd things tonight).

  18. My, you had a fun day of it on the bay in San Francisco! One of my daughters lives just over the bridge in Marin County. I never get tired of the Golden Gate views.

  19. The sea lions are certainly the great great grandchildren of the once I saw ! We have visited Alcatraz and I even have a picture of Mr. G. in Al Capone's cell:) !

  20. Absolutely beautiful, Diane. Thank you so much for sharing. As far as the otters go it seems to me like they enjoy one another's company. This is my guess, though.

  21. Love love that bridge! So photogenic but my fave is the salty sea cap! :)

  22. The pontoons were a great idea. Not surprised by the comments about smells, but was surprised to see the bridge is red. Thanks to Sara I now understand the name. Fascinating post, Diane.

  23. There are quite a few places along the West Coast where sea lions like to congregate. Almost every group I have seen seems to pile up like that, it is strange.

    Love your shots of the Golden Gate Bridge!

  24. San Francisco can get so cold, sometimes. I've seen tourists coem totaly unprepared for it. I've been lucky in the times I've visited, in late summer early autumn, as the weather is usually milder by then.

    The GG bridge is so photogenic. I enjoyed my walk across it on my last visit..soemday i will post those photos and!

  25. Diane these pic are wonderful. You take really nice pictures. Your trip sounds absolutely amazing. I love the sea lions. Their so cute.

  26. Diane, classic shots of the San Francisco. I love the sea lions and the beautiful bridge. I have been away on vacation and have to catch up on my blog reading. Wonderful photos.