The Ninja Librarian is on vacation, visiting family and hiking. So instead of a story, we've put together a few photos for today's treat, from a visit to Alcatraz Island in June.

Everyone knows about Alcatraz, the infamous prison on a hunk of rock in the San Francisco Bay. Having lived in the area for upwards of 30 years, we decided it was time to visit (thanks to out-of-town visitors. Would we ever see the sights in our own backyards if it weren't for guests?).

We took BART, the local subway system, to the waterfront (only to find that we could have parked there much more cheaply than the 6 BART tickets. Oh well!). That left us with a pleasant walk along the Embarcadero to the Alcatraz Ferry.
An SF landmark.
Once embarked, everyone is a tourist. Looking back at the city from the water is part of the tour.
The Coit Tower tops the hill in the background.
It's a short crossing, so the attention soon turns to the island. The top of the hill, much like those in San Francisco itself, is all that rises above the waters of the Bay. It's mostly rock, and being directly in line with the mouth of the Golden Gate, currents around the island are tricky. (I know this, because in a moment of insanity, a friend and I decided to kayak around the island, from SF. We did live to tell the tale, but it wasn't one of our brighter moves).
From a Civil War-era garrison, the Island belonged to the miliary through WWI. In 1934 it opened as a prison, possibly the most secured prison in the country. Today, it belongs equally to the National Park Service and the birds.
We were lucky enough to not only spot some adorable seagull chicks, but to find them at feeding time. If you take a close look, you can see that the mama bird is regurgitating a fine meal for the chicks.
The windward side is home to a substantial rookerie, including for egrets. Wind and the excitements of mating together made for a bad hair day for this guy.
All that was lost on the prison inmates, who endured life in the chilly and damp cell blocks.
Three tiers of cells.
A pretty bleak place to call home.
Each prisoner got a cell like this. They took up arts and crafts to stave off the boredom of long sentences. Even crocheting! (I suspect knitting wasn't an option).

While the Park Service has restored and maintained many of the buildings, others, like the Warden's house, have gone the way of most structures left alone in this climate for 50+ years.

When you get tired of history, the views from the island are worth a good look all on their own. The City to the south, and the Golden Gate Bridge to the west. We took time to enjoy the view before sailing for the mainland again.
Bay cruises and the Angel Island ferry all pass close by The Rock.
Golden Gate Bridge
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017
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