Travel Pics Theme: O for On-The-Water. Open your Golden Gate

San Francisco Kite Surfer

San Francisco Kite Surfer

Today’s view is one of the most recognisable in the world – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, crossing from the city of San Francisco to the Marin headland.

In the foreground, a kite-surfer rides the choppy swell as waters from the San Francisco Bay meet the Pacific Ocean.

The Golden Gate is the actual channel connecting the two bodies of water – and despite the urban legends, it has nothing to do with the discovery of gold in California.

The name predates the gold rush, and in fact pays homage to the Golden Horn in Turkey – next to the Bosporus.

The Golden Gate Bridge itself is nearly 2km long, with 1.3km between its main pylons – making it the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was built.

It has since been surpassed a half a dozen times, but is still an impressive sight, with its burnished orange paint-job. The colour is actually called International Orange – it’s no longer the red lead primer and topcoat originally used .. I wonder why? 🙂

Part of the reason for the colour, by the way, is because it stands out against the fog that rolls in to San Francisco most days – the fog is so regular that locals even have a name for it .. Karl.

And the Golden Gate (the strait, not the bridge) is partly responsible for the fog. The confluence of waters of different temperatures, combined with the heat in inland valleys drawing in cooler air through the strait, create the fog that is emblematic of San Francisco.

But back to “On The Water” (the theme of this week’s #travelpic series).

This particular shot was taken from on board one of the many ferries which ply their trade around San Francisco Bay.

We’ve taken a number or trips around the harbour – one to Alcatraz (where Shirley and I spent our 30th wedding anniversary; somehow seemed appropriate) and then to Angel Island, the ‘Ellis Island’ of the west.

Another ferry goes to and from Sausalito on the Marin side of the bay; I did a lovely pushbike ride from Fisherman’s Wharf in SF, across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County, and then got a ferry back.

And then there’s the Red and White fleet – who just sail around the harbour, taking passengers on a tour of the bay including under the bridge and then back again.

That’s where we took this shot – it was a breezy afternoon, perfect for the sailboats and kite-surfers who were having a wonderful time on an April afternoon.

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