Trip to the USS Pampanito

Yesterday I braved Fisherman’s Wharf to go see the World War II submarine the USS Pampanito.  The submarine is tucked away and I would have never found it just by walking around I’m sure.  I don’t spend much time down at the wharf because of the tourist but I thought this would be interesting to see.  I mean growing up in the middle of Ohio you don’t get to see many ships of any size.

If you’re going and you have an iPhone I would HIGHLY suggest that you download the self guided tour/podcast.  The podcast is done really well and it was very informative.  You can find a link to download the tour on the Pampanito’s website.  Plus a lot of other information about the USS Pampanito.

The USS Pampanito is almost 312 feet long.  It held 80 seamen (70 enlisted and 10 officers).  I’m not sure how they all fit in there and I sure can’t imagine anyone over 5’11” finding it very comfortable being a crew mate. As you might imagine it was pretty tight quarters.  The mentioned that the submarine made its own fresh water but that it wasn’t much.  The guys would only shower and/or bath ever 7 to 10 days.

There are tons of factoids that I learned while touring the boat.  I would highly recommend downloading the podcast and taking the tour.  Visit the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association’s website and find out more details about the USS Pampanito, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien  and other historical boats docked there at Fisherman’s Wharf.

It’s important to know where we come from and out countries history.  This was an important part of World War II which many people alive today don’t know anything about.

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Views from the San Francisco Bay (Estuary)

The Kitty Kat
So my latest travel was with San Francisco Whale Tours.  It was a ninety minute tour out on the San Francisco bay and Eva was the marine biologist that was with us on the trip.  Being from Ohio it just amazes me every time I go out on the bay.  This is my 3rd trip out on the bay I believe and I still love the view from the boat.  This boat in particular is named the Kitty Kat.  The boat takes you out and under the Golden Gate Bridge and returns going around on the back side of Alcatraz island.

While we were out on the water we saw some Harbor Porpoises playing in the water, some seals swimming and sunning themselves, and various birds.  The Harbor Porpoises are a smaller version of a dolphin and they are black.  The seals were all in the water so the best guess is that they were harbor seals.  The birds I saw were sea gulls, pelicans, and a black bird that looked like a loon.  Oh and I shouldn’t forget about the famous seals that you can see at the end of Pier 39.  I have some pictures of them below.

Growing up as a kid we were only two and a half hours from Lake Erie, which would rival the bay in some sense but we never went there.  In case you don’t know Ohio is surrounded by land (the Ohio river on the southern edge) on 3 sides.  Only the northern side of the state is about 75% lake front.  So now that I’m living next to the ocean again (I was living next to the Gulf of Mexico while living in New Orleans) I just love being able to go down to the piers or even out on a boat like this.

If you live in the city or you’re coming to visit I recommend going on a boat ride.  It is a great way to spend an afternoon.  You can take MUNI down to Pier 39 and then have a nice casual lunch at any of the restaurants along the piers.  Then take the cruise at 3:30 PM and be back at 5 PM.  There are a lot of tourist that go there but I think the boat ride is well worth it.  The boat rides are fairly inexpensive and if you go down to Fisherman’s Wharf there are some that you can do on the fly so you don’t have to schedule ahead.  The one trip I took was only $15 a couple of years back and was on a smaller fishing boat.