Yesterday I went on the official tour to Alcatraz. Tickets are booked up days in advance but as I suspected, if you turn up just before the boat leaves and plead for a ticket they squeeze you in.


While I was waiting for the boat, had a quick catch-up with Jordan Carter. Unlike all the other times when we have both been attending the same conference, this was purely coincidental. Jordan had a 12 hour stop-over in San Francisco on the way home from Canada.


After the 10 minute boat trip, you get greeted with this sign as you arrive.


A standard cell. Bit you these prisons didn’t cost $1 million per prisoner 🙂


This is what they called the gun gallery. Very few guards would go in amongst the prisoners. Instead they would be up here unable to be reached but able to shoot as needed.


Shane (Frith) and Erica (Slater) trying out their new marital home. Erica is already missing her garden!

Shane is one of my oldest friends. We’re both attending the conference in Santa Barbara and holidaying before and after it.


A nice view of San Francisco from the island.


In some ways San Francisco reminds me of Wellington. Quite compact and lots of hills. It is a very nice city. However while our roads work their way over and around the natural curve of hills, here they just took their standard grid road system and planted it down, even over the hills. You can see what it results in.


The island itself from the sea.

The cost was a very cheap $16.50. This includes the return boat trip, admission to the island and use of an audio guide. The audio guide is excellent and takes you to all the good places. I was impressed to learn that this was the one prison which always had very warm showers. They did it so prisoners could not acclimatise to cold water and survive swimming in the ocean!

The island has a lot of potential if you could buy it. Shane and I agree you could turn the prison into a great paintball arena, and the old officers quarters could become an executive conference centre – would be highly popular.

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