Saturday was an excursion day with the destination being Angel Island. We could see it pretty well from the Golden Gate Bridge, and it was time to take a closer look. Neither of us had been there before. Wanting to catch the first ferry out, we made it to the Ferry Building before 9am to procure tickets. There were only a few people waiting near the dock, but more showed up as it got closer to departure time. Several bikes were also waiting, and it didn't take long for us to board.
We made a beeline to the top deck, and were rewarded with great views. We got a great look at the Bay Bridge, as well as Coit Tower and the Financial District. As we pulled into Pier 41, we saw several people waiting in line. The new passengers streamed on and we were on our way into the bay. The captain said that because of the currents, we were going the long way around on the east side of Angel Island instead of going north around Alcatraz.
Before we knew it, we were pulling into Ayala Cove and before long were making our way to the Visitor Center to see what was going on there. We then headed back towards the dock to hit a stair-laden trail up to Perimeter Road, then walked a short way around the island to the site of the west coast Immigration Station.
While people immigrated through Angel Island from several countries, the exhibit concentrated on the Chinese immigrants. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the Detention Barracks where the people were held. All along the building you could see writing on the walls. It was a back-and-forth of immigrants painting and carving and the administrators having the walls filled and painted. Many layers of paint were evident.
We spent quite a bit of time at the Immigration Station, then made our way back to the dock area to grab some lunch at the café. We caught the mid-afternoon ferry, going along the north side of Alcatraz on the way back, and getting some spectacular views. That particular ferry ended at Pier 41, so we took the streetcar back to the Ferry Building, walking past Occupy SF on our way back to the hostel. We were pretty tired, so we ate and turned in early.