Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An Afternoon on the Estuary

Saturday I spent some time on the Alameda-Oakland estuary.  It's a narrow body of water that separates Alameda from Oakland.
The postcard looks eastward down the estuary roughly 80 years ago. The white arrows show my route, a circumnavigation of Coast Guard Island, formerly, Government Island. Oakland lies to the left and Alameda to the right.

The Alaska Packers salmon fleet used to overwinter here.

Wooden sailing ships preceded the plastic version.

Jack London kept his boat, the Snark here prior to taking off for the South Seas and writing The Cruise of the Snark.
A little ways up the estuary is the Archer Daniels Midland flower mill.
Which was formerly the Sperry Flower Mill.  Apparently Californians at bread even a century ago.
On Saturday, the estuary was more calm and less crowded with boats than in the post cards.  Coast Guard Island lies just ahead.  The view is to the west.  Normally there would be three or four Coast Guard cutters docking at the island, but this week they seem to have gone somewhere.
Here is the bridge that connects coast guard island to Oakland. Just off to the right is a marina and between the marina and the bridge is an area that is out of the shipping lanes and a place where boats can moor. In the past, there were seldom any boats here, but about a year ago, boats from the marinas would start anchoring here, apparently no longer able to pay the rent.  
One of the boats was tied up to a pier for a few weeks and then sank or was scuttled.  It's been like this for a year now.  
But perhaps because of hard economic times,  the free, mobile and unencumbered fleet of derelict boats is increasing.  In all, there were about 8 boats moored here without benefit of access to electricity or water.  But the rent is cheap.

And when you need to get to land, you use this improvised dock with water bottle floatation. I think this counts for post-apocalyptic.

And tied to a ramp is a raft or punt.

I don't think it sank.  The tide was just high.  The fellow who owned it tied it just a little too tight to the dock and when the tide came in, the side of this beauty was caught under the ramp.  Note the outboard motor mount at the back of the raft.

And when you don't have a motor or gas, there's locks for oars. The whole thing was quite well constructed but abandoned and appropriated by the free boat crew.

And then I stopped taking pictures and got busy paddling, once around Coast Guard Island.

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