A Beautiful Day in San Francisco
By: Rachel Wong
On Monday, October 8th, Captain Jackson and I took the R/V Robert G. Brownlee out to Pier 40 in San Francisco for an Eco Tour. The trip over was absolutely beautiful, the water was calm, and the sun was shining. I expected it to get foggier as we neared the city, but it was still bright and warm when we reached our destination.
Upon approaching Pier 40, we were met by the site of a large aircraft carrier a short distance from the dock. The Brownlee was completely dwarfed by the ship, and we noticed a group of civilians touring the vessel and examining the helicopters on board. As we neared the dock, we saw the familiar faces of other MSI staff members who promptly helped us tie off and safely secure the Brownlee.
We then waited for our event to begin. This was a unique Ecotour because the Brownlee was providing a place for an Education by Nature meeting. The classroom on the Brownlee was filled with rows of chairs, and we even brought aboard a new microphone and sound system for the occasion. Soon we had guests arriving from the Frieda C. Fox Foundation for their Education by Nature meeting. Our passengers greeted us with smiles and excited chatter about being aboard our vessel.
After we undocked from Pier 40, the fun began. The passengers got to explore the Brownlee and take in the classic San Francisco sights, including Alcatraz, the Golden Gate, and the Transamerica pyramid. The boat crew got to share our knowledge of Bay marine life with the group. We brought aboard a leopard shark, a variety of invertebrates, and several fish species to share with our guests. Our passengers were having so much fun being outside and examining our animals that they were playfully reluctant about returning to the classroom and beginning their conference.
The crew had a wonderful time with the Education by Nature group, and we were especially happy to meet President Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng. We left San Francisco in high spirits and returned to MSI that evening.