Thursday 21 July 2011


Alcatraz island sits isolated amidst the cold winds of the by.  Spanish explorer Juan Manuel, subject of legend, lore, and a few Hollywood movies, once held scores of prisoners incarcerated above its cliffs.  First used as a prison by the US army during the Civil War, "The Rock" became a maximum security penitentiary in 1934.  Many notorious criminals did time on this harsh island, such as mobster Al Capone and bank robber Leon "Whitey" Thompson.  Numerous escapes were attempted, though there's no evidence that anyone ever made it through the icy, shark-infested waters to freedom.  The prison closed in 1964 due to prohibitive operating costs, and was taken over by a group of Native American protesters until 1971.  The crumbling ruins are now one of the Bay Area's most popular visitor stops.
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  1. Nice! Alcatraz means Pelican, in Spanish.

  2. Jack Lalanne made it through the icy waters, but he probably had a better diet than the prisoners.

  3. I love watching the movie "The Rock". Hope you are doing OK Sheila. The temperatures here in NC is over 100 today and will continue at least through sunday. Miserable days.

  4. What an interesting postcard of one of my area's highlights. I've been over there a few times. It's pretty chilly, even on a sunny day, with the wind blowing!

    There is a swimming group, called the Dolphin Club that does swims from Alcatraz to shore at Ghirardelli - and, sometimes, under the Golden Gate - in waters at 55 degree temperatures. I've only put my foot in the water out here...I'm so cowardly!

  5. Don't forget the Birdman of.

  6. There's an interesting-looking new TV series about it coming out soon.

  7. @Dorin, I had no idea, thank you. :)

    @Christine, I'll have to look up Jack Lalanne.

    @Odie, I don't know "The Rock", I must watch out for it. I hope you cool off soon.

    @Carmen, so now we've found a cool place for Odie!

    @Max, no I hadn't forgotten the Birdman of Alcatraz, that one I do know.

    @dmarks, I'll have to watch out for that but I expect it will be quite a while before it makes its way across the Atlantic.


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