San Francisco Ship Spotting – Afternoon into Evening

Continued from the previous post.

The new cruise ship terminal at Pier 27:

Pier 27 cruise terminal

It wasn’t open open when I visited the city last year.

Upper floor of the Aquatic Park Bathhouse:

Aquatic Park Bathhouse

Work still being done.

Due to lack of time, I didn’t get to spend time on board Balclutha (sad 😦 ). Still, at least I got a glimpse of the ships at Hyde Street Pier.


Eppleton Hall

YM Modesty:

YM Modesty

YM Unison:

YM Unison

My first decent cormorant shot! Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax azurites):

Double-crested cormorant

Interesting blue-green eyes.

View across the water to Sausalito:

toward Sausalito

Hornblower’s San Francisco Belle:

San Francisco Belle

A bunch of pelicans on the wing:

pelicans on the wing

Veteran at Pier 17:


From what I gather, this tug was formerly Delta Audrey (seen last year).

Part of the Exploratorium, a container set up to produce sound, a work entitled Bosun’s Bass:

container bosun whistle


(Unfortunately it wasn’t working at the time.)

People out for an evening stroll along Pier 7:

Pier 7

Black-crowned night heron:

black crowned night heron

Inside the Ferry Building:

Ferry Building interior

Ferry Building with lights, looking back on the way to catch the bus:

Ferry Building lit up

A long, but good, day.


San Francisco (Tuesday, August 12) – Last Day

The last day of my vacation arrived all too soon. My flight home was early in the afternoon, so I had some time to kill.

Morning light on the Golden Gate Bridge:

morning light on Golden Gate bridge

A series of gull photos:

gulls on the beach

gull walking away

gull portrait

gull marine debris

More ship spotting…

CMA CGM Centaurus:

CMA CGM Centaurus

Pichincha, which arrived the same day I did, heading out to sea:


Interesting that the US Army Corps of Engineers has boats.

John AB Dillard, Jr:

John AB Dillard Jr

Hanjin Hamburg:

Hanjin Hamburg

Fishing boat Mya Nicole with hopeful seagulls:

Mya Nicole

What not to eat:

fish sign

Great blue heron:

great blue heron

Eppleton Hall:

Eppleton Hall

Ferry arch at Pier 43:

ferry arch pier 43

Tracks leading up to the arch:

tracks at pier 43

Jeremiah O’Brien:

Jeremiah O'Brien

Piles at Pier 41:

piles pier 41 2

piles pier 41 1

Sticker art:

stickers pier 41

Pilot boat Golden Gate:

pilot boat Golden Gate

I stopped by the Musée Méchanique. It’s a coin operated arcade full of a lot of antique machines. Fascinating, but also a bit creepy at times.

Here’s one machine with a maritime theme, which invites you to “Laugh with Jolly Jack”:

Jolly Jack

Jolly Jack detail

More sticker art:


Time ball at the SFMNHP Visitor Center:

time ball

I wish I could have wandered around a bit more, but it was time to say goodbye and head off to the airport.

San Francisco (Monday, August 11)

I had intended to swing by the SUP building (having passed it while a passenger in my friend’s car) first thing in the morning to get a closer look at it. A late start and a glance at squashed that idea.

Ooo Manoa arrival! Time to make my way back to the waterfront. (Yes, I am a sad ship geek.)

I found the solar powered MUNI bus stop shelters fascinating:

bus shelter

We need stuff like this here in Hawai‘i.

I got off the bus and waited for a cable car.

One going in the opposite direction from where I wanted to go:

cable car

I know. Touristy. But, hey, it’s fun!

Across the street from Hyde Street Pier:

across the street from Hyde St Pier

Sadly, the Park store is no longer there in the building on the corner. I remember happily stocking up on nautical books when I visited while it was still open. It’s a shame, really.

And…there’s Manoa!

Manoa Golden Gate Bridge


I’m so used to seeing her in Honolulu Harbor, it’s nice to see her in San Francisco Bay for a change. (It’s that perspective thing.)

I had quite a bit of time before my 1300 appointment at the Research Center, so I lingered to do more ship spotting.

APL Philippines:

APL Philippines

USCGC Bertholf:

USCGC Bertholf

Sirius Voyager:

Sirius Voyager

Seal (as opposed to sea lion) spotting:


On the way to get something to eat, I stopped at the Aquatic Park Bathhouse building to see if there was anything new. On the street level, some things had been moved around. There was also an exhibit on the history of the U.S. Customs Service.

The upper floor was still sadly underutilized. Apart from the radio exhibit, there was only a display of some photos related to the America’s Cup (not my cup of tea).

Some details:

wheel light fixture

Plimsoll line on pillar

davits on pillar

After lunch, it was a short and pleasant walk over to Fort Mason, for the “work” part of my trip. I went to check out what FOC materials the NPS has. I must say the three hours I was there went by all too quickly.

One of the reference photos (not the greatest because of my shadow) I was allowed to take with the fancy phone:

FOC pic sample

Building E at the Fort Mason complex:

Fort Mason Bldg E

The stern of the brigantine Galilee in the parking lot area:

brigantine Galilee

After leaving Fort Mason, I went back to Hyde Street Pier.

Crane for the work being done on the pier:

crane for pier work

Shhhhhhhh…One of the highlights of my vacation was being allowed to go aboard Eppleton Hall or “Eppie,” as she is fondly called.


frames 1

frames 2

Consett mark on frame



The familiar-looking details were strangely comforting.

CA Thayer (ongoing work):

CA Thayer


Balclutha bow

Another shot showing repairs (doubler plates) to the hull:

Balclutha repairs to hull

San Francisco (Thursday, August 7)

My flight arrived at San Francisco early Thursday morning.

I had decided to use public transportation to get around the city. The first thing I had to do was to get from the terminal to the BART station. Fortunately, there was a tram:

Red Line to BART

BART train:

BART train SFO

After getting off at the Embarcadero Station, I found a nearby Walgreens and got a Clipper Card. Very useful. Also proving to be invaluable was my smartphone, Google Maps, and a public transportation app.

A short walk and street car ride brought me close to Hyde Street Pier.

Curb along the way to San Francisco Maritime NHP:

Richard Henry Dana curb

A friend and I had made arrangements to go for an afternoon sail on board the park’s schooner Alma.

While waiting, I watched work being done aloft on Balclutha:

work aloft on Balclutha

Harsh commentary from a seagull:

seagull commenting

Alma’s pennant:

Alma pennant

It was a bit blustery out on the bay, but I totally enjoyed being on a ship that actually sails (for a change).

Sailboat zipping along:


View from Alma toward Sausalito:

twds Sausalito from Alma

A peek at some Coast Guard boats in Horseshoe Bay:

Coast Guard boats

Golden Gate Bridge, with tops hidden by fog:

Golden Gate Bridge


Golden Gate Bridge detail

Time passed all too quickly and soon we had to return to the pier.

In the evening, I tagged along with another friend to Berkeley for pool and dinner.


Some details related to past posts.

FOC could use a gangway set up similar to this:


Balclutha‘s port side port:

Balclutha port side port

Starboard side port:

Balclutha starboard side port

This post wouldn’t be complete without some shipspotting.

CSCL Winter:

CSCL Winter

Tug Ahbra Franco assisting Pichincha:

Ahbra Franco assist



ETA: A bit of bad timing. Due to work on the piles, most of Hyde Street Pier was closed to the public (Mondays through Thursdays), which meant no access to the ships. Boo.

End of Wapama

Glad I had the chance to see her last year.

Last Day – 20 February

A return to SFMNHP to see the other ships.

First, a stop off at the Aquatic Park Bathhouse building, which was designed to resemble a ship. I visited the building during my last trip to San Francisco. From what I remember, there were more displays then and the interior of the building seemed much darker. A lot changes in 10 years.

The lobby now houses a few very nice sailing ship models and part of the Niantic.

Niantic’s copper sheathing:

copper sheathing Niantic

Then, there are the striking surrealist murals on the walls. They were painted in the 1930s by artist Hilaire Hiler and depict various underwater scenes.

Some details that appealed to me:

Hiler mural detail 1

Hiler mural detail 2

Ad on the side of a bus stop on the way to Hyde Street Pier:

Hawaiian Air ad

The first stop was the wooden schooner CA Thayer. She is in the process of being restored.*

CA Thayer work in progress

Wood detail:

CA Thayer wood detail


CA Thayer knees

View toward stern:

CA Thayer twds stern

Loading ports:

CA Thayer loading ports

Located between CA Thayer and Balclutha is the sweet little paddlewheel tug, Eppleton Hall. Love!

Eppleton Hall name

It’s a shame she is not in better condition:

Eppleton Hall

The ferry Eureka:


A volunteer hard at work on the steam tug Hercules:

Hercules volunteer

Detail of the hull of the replica shrimp fishing junk Grace Quan:

detail hull Grace Quan

Balclutha’s Plimsoll Line:

Balclutha plimsoll line

A Pepto-Bismol-colored starfish (Pisaster brevispinus?), looking like it’s hanging on for dear life:


Seen on the bumper of a car in the parking lot of the Beach Chalet:

slow down bumpersticker

😀 The same car also had “North Shore” and hibiscus stickers.

Thanks Brush! Lots of fun and learned a lot!

*ETA: Brush mentioned that parts of Wawona were saved and will be used in the restoration.

Ship Moot – 17 February

What could be better than a combination of friends and ships?

My friend and I arrived at the SFMNHP visitor center via a shuttle from the airport. We were going to take public transport, but the shuttle turned out to be a good idea.

We were a bit early, so we wandered off down the street toward Fishermans Wharf.

The famous sign:

Fishermans Wharf sign

Friendly Western gull (Larus occidentalis):

Western gull

We met up with a friend who drove into town to meet us and Brush. While waiting for Brush, we decided to have a look at the USS Pampanito at Pier 45. Submarines aren’t really my thing, but it was interesting as a new experience.

We were just about done looking at Pampanito, when I got a call from Brush. It was about time for lunch, so we all decided to have something to eat before going to see the ships at Hyde Street Pier.

Hyde St Pier sign

I was eager to go aboard Balclutha. I had seen her 10 years ago during a previous visit to San Francisco, but had not gone aboard her or any of the other ships. Along with FOC, she is one of the five Clyde-built sailing ships left in the world (the other three being Glenlee, Moshulu and Pommern). She is similar in size to FOC, but with three masts and a steel hull. Like FOC and Star of India, Balclutha also sailed under the Hawaiian flag at one point in her career.


Having Brush there to show us around the ship was awesome. The tour started at the fo’c’sle and moved on from there.

View aft from the fo’c’sle head:

Balclutha view aft

We were standing on the poop deck, when a peregrine falcon (Falco peregrines) appeared. The falcon flew around, hovered over the weather deck, and eventually landed on the rigging.

peregrine falcon

A young boy asked where the ship’s guns were. Brush told him that Balclutha was a merchant vessel and didn’t carry guns. I was amused by the boy’s reply. He pointed out that the ship should have guns to protect the cargo.

While we were examining the chart house, one of the other visitors popped in and let Brush know that there was a dead pigeon on the weather deck.

decapitated pigeon

Yeah, it was gross. Our friend, the falcon, had decapitated it.

A small crowd gathered around the pigeon before Brush picked it up and put it in a bag:

Brush with dead pigeon

It was interesting to note the similarities and differences between FOC, Star of India, and Balclutha.

Salon detail:

Balclutha salon panel detail

Stern loading ports:

Balclutha loading ports

Frames with rust stains:

Balclutha rust stains

Side port:

Balclutha side port

Manufacturer’s mark on beam:

Balclutha mark

COATS = Coats Iron Works in Coatbridge, Scotland?

Alaska Packers’ Association (APA) house flag on porthole cover:

Alaska Packers house flag

The Star of India also had APA porthole covers, but the ones I saw were covered over with white paint:

Alaska Packers house flag SOI

Perhaps the most interesting part of the tour was getting to see the hold. On Balclutha, it’s a working space. It’s something we don’t have on FOC due to her tanker configuration—the only readily accessible area, being the pump room.

Balclutha working hold

Balclutha hold

Of special interest was the ballast system:

Balclutha ballast

FOC has fresh water ballast (in her tanks). This is a problem, which we have to solve. Unfortunately, we can’t put in large blocks like those on Balclutha because we are limited by what can fit down the hatches to the tanks.

Balclutha’s rudder:

Balclutha rudder

I could have lingered all day on board Balclutha, but it was getting late and we had to leave.