Berkeley Marina

Nostalgia views the world from a distance but with specific acuity. A view from Grizzly Peak of the Berkeley Marina might look like a warm, buzzy vision of NorCal, but with my own memories I attribute specific instances and moments to every aspect of the landscape: Kites flying over Caesar Chavez Park. Stories of a ferry to San Francisco that once ran from the decaying jetty. Learning to sail on the tiny boats on the “left” side of the peninsula. Sailing from the Marina to Angel Island, crewing a professor’s 40-foot sailboat. Finding a place to live, driving up and down University Ave. from the hotel to the hills. Crossing the highway on the bicycle bridge for a long, flat, sunny ride along the shore. All of that experience is encoded into the image, but I’ll always be the only person with the key to decrypt it.

Berkeley Marina

Windsurfing

It’s a little cold for my taste but the folks around the Bay really like to get out on the water. Right around the Berkeley marina the water is absolutely jam packed with windsurfers, kitesurfers, and just small sail craft of all types. This surfer’s colorful sail really caught my eye here against the sort of drab backdrop of the waterfront condos.

Windsurfer

Taking flight

While down at the marina recently I caught a glimpse of this guy, who had apparently found something interesting or perhaps tasty and was taking it somewhere a bit more private to enjoy. I was actually surprised at how well I could capture that moment just before lift-off, the intricate dance that birds do before they take to the skies.

Taking flight

Wind-Powered Ducklings

Berkeley Marina is a wrench-shaped peninsula in the San Francisco Bay; the “handle” supports a bumpy road to the area itself, while the “head” has docks and a smattering of yacht clubs, restaurants, and smaller hotels aimed at the people mooring there. The larger boats (mostly of the sailing variety) are in the center of the Marina, but on the southern side, in a slightly-sheltered area, are the docks for the much smaller boats. Here, locals come to learn the basics of sailing and wind surfing in the shadow of the Port of Oakland and its massive container crains.

Having taken sailing lessons here myself, I can confirm that the placidity is an illusion. In a boat with a center board instead of a keel, the degree of resistance to the wind is much less, and the crew is required to really use their weight to control these little boats. Today’s shot captures the boats as I prefer to remember: ready to sail, but sitting calmly at the dock.

Wind-Powered Ducklings