Sausalito Ferry


As I board the MV Golden Gate ferry, for my daily commute from Sausalito to San Francisco, I see that the fog is once again a thick blanket across the middle of the bay, although at least a quarter of each of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge are visible as is Angel Island. At this hour of the morning, it is cold on deck so I scurry inside to the warm cabin to watch the ever-changing scene outside which is never the same no matter how often I make this trip.


Fog clouds sit like a pale wash of lavender mauve above the teal green sea, and small whitecaps are visible across its surface. A lone speedboat steadily makes its way toward the bridge, whose towers are rapidly losing their visibility to the incoming fog. It is a dramatic picture and one I would like to capture, but alas the boat has vanished all too quickly into the cool embrace of this pervasive sea cloud, which we ourselves have now entered as well.

When the ferry passes within fifteen feet of a buoy, I wonder where Alcatraz is as I watch white-capped waves rolling slowly but unceasingly toward us. Then I realize the vessel must be directly in front of the mouth to the bay, though at a distance, for this is where the waves tend to form. The ship suddenly slows down and is barely moving when I hear the moans of the foghorns calling lovingly to each other. A red-orange and white pilot boat passes by, heading in the other direction, and then I feel the rolling motion of the waves quite strongly, but a minute later, the pilot boat too has disappeared.


Now at last, I spy the vague outline of the rocky isle known as Alcatraz on the left, desolate and empty except for its avian inhabitants. San Francisco lies straight ahead sitting mainly in the sunlight, with the flat Marina district bright and white, in sharp contrast to the fog bank, which hugs the city’s many hills and the Presidio on it’s far west side, as it reaches up to the tops of Twin Peaks so that only Sutro Tower, the gigantic tower that sits near Mt. Parnassus, is perceptible. The twin symbols of San Francisco in the summer — the only two things visible above the fog — both red, perhaps to offer caution and warning as well as signs of life beyond.

Unexpectedly a tall ship appears out of the fog, flowing easily with the current, catching the morning’s gentle breeze in its sails, and stirring within me a longing to be on it sailing to some exotic faraway land.

AP Photo:John M. Harris

AP Photo – John M. Harris


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