After the little detour for a moment of grief, we are now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
On Brandi’s actual birthday, we drove down to San Francisco and took a boat to Alcatraz Island.
You may have heard of it; many a movie has been made about the Federal penitentiary that used to sit on it, as well as a short-lived television series just last year. Our favorite movie, of course — because as I have mentioned we are Clint Eastwood fans — is Escape from Alcatraz.
Our family had taken this little tour of Alcatraz in the distant past. I don’t remember how old Brandi was that time, but I do remember we managed to get Mom out there — a true feat since she doesn’t care for water at all. I wasn’t much impressed with the tour that time; I remember we would have had to pay extra for the audio-guide for a self-tour, so we just wandered around “The Rock” — as Alcatraz is affectionately known and which is the title of another great movie — on our own.
Nowadays, Hornblower Yachts has the official concession for Alcatraz tours from the National Park Service and the difference was amazing, most notably because the self-guided audio-tour is included in the ticket price.
I learned a lot on this trip. I paid particular attention to one escape attempt I had never heard about before, which resulted in the U.S. Marines dropping grenades on the roof of the prison to try bring an end to the stand-off that resulted from the escape attempt. The “Battle of Alcatraz” took place from May 2 through May 4, 1946, and resulted in the deaths of two correctional officers, one of whom had hidden the final exit key the prisoners needed to complete their escape.
Here are the photos I took around the story of this escape attempt:
Although I can’t find any reference to any movie made about this bloody battle, I did find this short clip from The Travel Channel.
This is a picture of the floor where the grenades hit; the gray areas are the pockmarks from the grenade explosion.
Of course, there were many photo ops along the trip; I took 64 pictures total. Although I won’t bore you with all of them, here are a few that stand out:
I haven’t forgotten; I promised a picture of the ghosts of Alcatraz. I was actually taking a picture of the inside of the morgue. The window was clear. The picture should have shown a nearly empty space, with an old generator-looking thing toward the back of the room. What I got instead was this:
Sunspots? Ghosts? You tell me. I’m inclined to think they’re spirits myself.
Have a good week.