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Category Archives for Bay Area Destinations

Visiting Oakland Estuary with Just Dreaming Yacht

Oakland Estuary San Francisco Bay Area
Just Dreaming Private Yacht Charter is a great way to travel to the Oakland Estuary. From on board, you get to relax with your friends, family, or co-workers while you view Jack London Square, Coast Guard Island, and the cranes of the Port of Oakland. A trip to Oakland Estuary is perfect for a half-day adventure, complete with sightings of pelicans and sometimes seals.

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Reasons to travel to Oakland Estuary on board Just Dreaming Yacht

  • Just Dreaming Yacht is an elegant and comfortable vessel.
  • The Oakland Estuary is frequently sunny and filled with activity.
  • Cruising the Bay on your own private yacht charter is relaxing.
  • Just Dreaming Yacht holds up to 40 people, making it ideal for smaller, more intimate gatherings.
  • Just Dreaming can dock at Jack London Square.
  • The Oakland Estuary offers warmer, sunnier weather than the rest of the San Francisco Bay.
  • The breeze is light and pleasant as one travels between Oakland and Alameda.
  • The trip to Oakland Estuary is on calm waters, making the cruise comfortable for all passengers.

When you are ready to start planning your trip to Oakland Estuary, the Just Dreaming Team will make it easy for you whether you call in or use our online form. All you need to do is:

  • Tell us a little bit about who will be on board and if it is a celebration, work outing, or just a quick getaway from your daily life.
  • Provide some days and times that will work for your cruise.
  • Let us know what you’d like to eat and drink.

To give you a better idea of what you will see and enjoy when you cruise Oakland Estuary, here are some words from Captain Larry:

There is a secret world to explore right in our Bay. It is unique unto itself. And you can only see it by boat.

Oakland Estuary Map

A Bird’s Eye View of Oakland and Alameda with the Oakland Estuary Flowing Between Them

You never know what you are going to find.  There are days that you enter the Oakland Estuary to face an oncoming container ship. One of the largest moving objects known to mankind is heading for you. Unlike Disneyland, everything is real.

Oakland Estuary, container ship, cranes of oakland

A Container Ship Heading Straight Toward You.

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The Golden Gate Bridge

At last the mighty task is done;
Resplendent in the western sun
The Bridge looms mountain high;
Its titan piers grip ocean floor,
Its great steel arms link shore with shore,
Its towers pierce the sky.

Joseph Strauss, A Mighty Task Is Done, written upon completion of the Golden Gate Bridge in May 1937

Of all of the sights there are to see on board Just Dreaming Yacht, nothing compares to the Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance to the Bay from the Ocean. Cruising out underneath the bridge is one of the best vantage points for viewing the details of its architecture, its tresses and the bases of its art deco towers.

Golden Gate Bridge viewed from yacht charter

It is great to see the smiles of our guests as we take our time going under the bridge. Everyone takes photos. They relax on the deck and watch the bridge, admiring the structural design and the color contrast between the bay and the International Orange of the bridge. On one of our charters we were graced with a civil engineer on board. He told us that The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the seven civil engineering wonders of the world, alongside the Channel Tunnel between England and France, and the Panama Canal.

Given the masterful artistry of the bridge, our crew and yacht charter guests continue to be surprised to hear that there were concerns that the Golden Gate Bridge would ruin the natural beauty of the bay. Now it is one of the centerpiece jewels of the Bay Area, elegant and alluring. But, back then construction was heavily opposed by numerous civic and business leaders. Litigation lasted for eight years before the construction finally began. Ultimately, financing came from six counties, allowing all of us in the Bay Area to enjoy its splendor.

Just Dreaming Wedding Charter

Over the years we’ve been lucky enough to host weddings up underneath the bridge and witness engagement proposals. It’s a magical and romantic place.

School Charter Sunset Trip

We’ve hosted groups of school children from around the world on our yacht charters. The question they always ask is why the bridge isn’t yellow. We explain that the name came from the gold rush at the middle of the 19th century. And then their eyes light up when we tell them about prospectors finding gold.

It is moments like these that we enjoy as a crew. We know that we are creating experiences that will last a lifetime. We take pride in being able to do so.

Golden Gate Bridge

Just Dreaming Yacht Charter Destinations – Horseshoe Cove

One of the many hidden treasures the Bay Area has to offer is Horseshoe Cove next to the North tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It has breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a favorite destination among our yacht charter guests, whether they are heading out to Cavallo Point to stay in one of their luxurious suites or to go out dancing at the Travis Marina Bar, just upstairs from the Presidio Yacht Club.

I often reflect on our our last visit to Horseshoe Cove. I took the crew over for an evening of dancing and watching the sun set beyond the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was a beautiful day with a light breeze to soften the warmth of the sun. We set out from Pier 40, cruising by Treasure Island and admiring the view of the city as the crew relaxed on the deck, enjoying their time on the water.

Humpback whales seen from Just Dreaming yacht charter

As we made our way out toward Angel Island, we heard a view gasps of excitement coming from the port side of Just Dreaming. I took a quick glance and spotted the most amazing thing: a humpback whale! Humpback whales have not been particularly common inside the Bay, but, over the past couple of years we’re seeing more and more of them coming in to feast on anchovies. And what a site!

We slowed for a bit to watch before continuing our journey out to Horseshoe Cove.

Humpback Whales under Golden Gate Bridge from Just Dreaming Yacht

As we cruised out under the Golden Gate bridge, we spotted two swimming side by side gracefully through the water. We recognized them as Harry and Meghan, our own San Francisco royalty. After seeing them a couple of weekends in a row, always out under the bridge, our crew named them Harry and Meghan. We’ve seen them every weekend since. Each time, our yacht charter guests have been wowed and touched by their beauty as they watch them swimming together.

Just Dreaming Yacht Charter docked at Presidio Yacht Charter

After spending some time watching them and enjoying the bridge up close, we turned back into the bay and headed toward the dock at the Presidio Yacht Club. After docking, we escorted our crew up to the Travis Marina Bar. It was early enough that we were about to get ourselves a table overlooking the water for the sunset, with plenty of tables for our guests and other revelers yet to arrive.

As the sun began to set, we ordered some delicious burgers and drinks and waited for the Jamie Clark Band, a local rock group, to come on.

When it was all over, we relaxed on the deck bundled up, admiring the San Francisco skyline as we meandered back to Pier 40. Everyone had a marvelous, relaxing, and fun time. It’s experiences like this that make our work so fun. We hope to see you on board Just Dreaming Yacht Charter soon, for dancing, whale watching, dining, and more

Just Dreaming Yacht Charter Destinations – Alameda Coast Guard Island

It isn’t every day that we get to tour Alameda Coast Guard Island for the tour. Last weekend, we had a yacht charter that included a party of twenty Coast Guard Veterans in town. We were lucky enough to join them. They met us at Pier 40 in San Francisco, giving us the opportunity to make our way across the Bay, taking the scenic route past Treasure Island prior to making our way past the cranes of the Port of Oakland.

Just Dreaming Yacht Charter visits Brotzeit

Since Coast Guard Island doesn’t offer galley services, we docked at Brotzeit for lunch, feasting on their Wurst Platter with their house made Bockwurst, Nurnberger, Bratwurst, Wurzige, and so much more. What a setting! If we hadn’t been on a mission to tour Coast Guard Island, we would have stayed on their sunny dock and enjoyed the view of the water.

Just Dreaming Yacht Charter tours Alameda Coast Guard Island and sees Service Dogs

Since we could not dock at Alameda Coast Guard Island, we made our way by land for the tour. We started at Working Dogs, meeting a few service dogs as we walked past numerous memorials for the dogs who have given their lives for the country. From this spot on the water overlooking the Brooklyn Basin, we toured the north part of the island, taking a peek at Building 42, the original Supply Building. Then we headed to the Westernmost tip where we viewed remains of old rum runners seized during Prohibition just visible at the edge of the water.

View from Coast Guard Island - Just Dreaming Yacht Charter destinations

Our next stop included a view the Cutters docked at the piers. Such amazing vessels! For many in our party the visit to Emlen Tunnel was deeply touching. Emlen Tunnel is the base gym, named for Silver Lifesaving Medal recipient and first African-American to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The tour ended at Auxiliary Memorial, dedicated to the many volunteers from 1939 to today.

With their hearts filled with pride, our party of veterans climbed back on board Just Dreaming Yacht. With time on our side, we made our way around the bay, past Angel Island, Tiburon and Sausalito to watch the Sunset beneath the Golden Gate bridge. As we got back to Pier 40 we sent them off with a salute of thank you for their service.

Just Dreaming Yacht Charter – Tours of the Bay – Escape from Alcatraz

About once a month we spot swimmers crossing the Bay from Alcatraz Island as we take our guests on a tour of the bay. They always ask about them. We’re proud to tell them about a few of our crew members making the journey as part of the “Take the Rock ” Veteran Swim Challenge in the Fall, open to veterans from every branch of the military, which is one of many annual Escape from Alacatraz style events.

 

Of course, that opens the conversation to the best-known escape from Alacatraz. It was carried out by Frank Morris, John and Clarence Anglin, and Allen West on June 11, 1962. Seeing the swimmers gets our parties talking about this famed event, from the intricate details of the Papier Mache heads they made to place on the beds to buy time, to the letter received by SFPD in 2018 from John Anglin, postmarked Brasilia.  We love getting to talk about the history of the island and the many recreations from Mythbusters to the 1979 film with Clint Eastwood.

We tell our parties that now, 45 years later, any well-trained swimmer can recreate the escape from Alcatraz. This always comes as such a surprise. After years of hearing about so many failed attempts, learning that so many people have done the swim lends credence to the tale. And, of course, this sighting is only one of many as we cruise the bay. From San Francisco to Tiburon to Alcatraz to the Golden Gate Bridge and back, our guests always have a great time on board Just Dreaming Yacht.

Favorite Destination – The Trident Sausalito

A favorite destination for Just Dreaming on the Bay is the Trident in Sausalito. It is one of the most romantic spots overlooking the gorgeous city skyline, Angel Island, and the East Bay. We’ve taken many a party there, we’ve been lucky enough to celebrate everything from graduations, to birthdays, anniversaries and romantic dinners. Everyone we’ve taken there absolutely loves this place!

First, we dock right at the restaurant. Walking into the Trident, is a walk back in time with its curvaceous wooden features; archways and booths decorated with deep dark brown wood slats; psychedelic murals painted on the walls and the ceiling. And, we’re always greeted with a smile.

The food is amazing! They offer a wide variety from steak, to fish, to mussels with chorizo. Guests often rave about their Pan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops, the Petrale Sole Picatta, and the Vegetarian Strudel. So delicious…
You can also ask the host for the historic tour. In keeping with the original mission of the restaurant from the time it was opened by the Kingston Trio in 1966 everything is locally and sustainably produced and the service is top notch. For those that don’t remember, they were a top of the charts band at the forefront of the hippie revolution. Here’s a look at the original menu, prominently placed near the entrance of the restaurant.

From there, our host showed us the private entrance Janis Joplin once used, filling us in on the crazy parties thrown by the Rolling Stones on their 1972 “Exile on Main Street” tour. One of the original bartenders, Bobby, served Mick Jagger one of his own concoctions, the Tequila Sunrise, and he was hooked. And so, the Tequila Sunrise was born.

Our host ended the tour by walking us up the stairs to Ondine. With one of the most spectacular waterfront views in the Bay Area, Ondine is a unique private dining venue specializing in upscale Modern American Cuisine. The setting is described by most as being undoubtedly the most desirable location in Northern California. With panoramic views of San Francisco, Angel Island, Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge. They were setting up for a wedding party when we did our tour. Maybe we’ll get lucky enough to help one of our charters with their own wedding.

Jack London Square – Kincaid’s

On a recent tour, we stopped at Jack London Square in Oakland, in the Oakland Alameda Estuary, for lunch at Kincaid’s. Getting there was half the fun. From San Francisco we passed the Admiral’s house on Treasure Island, including his own light house on the south end of the Island.

The Coast Guard base there and the new sections of the Bay Bridge grabbed our attention as we made our approach in to Jack London Square, named for the accomplished author.

Jack London Square is a maritime center for lots of different boats and modes of transportation.   It is the home of restaurants, hotels, specialty stores and an Amtrak station.  Ferries go back and forth between San Francisco and San Mateo Counties all day long.   It enjoys an abundance of entertainment, boasting itself as center of the bay area jazz scene.  A farmer’s market is hosted among the retail shops on Sunday mornings.

A visit by boat to Jack London Square offers the sights and sounds of a unique historic location and the opportunity for lunch at an amazing restaurant, Kincaid’s.  On a recent visit, one of our guests enjoyed one of their Lavender Cosmos. There was also a Jumbo Prawn Cocktail with spicy aioli and a perfectly textured Lobster Bisque.  While we were there, everyone marveled at the view of San Francisco and the bridges.

 

 

Kincaid’s has a great wine list with a moderate price range.  At the higher end, they carry Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valle and the Louis Roederer Brut Premier, one of my personal favorites.

There are some notable items on the lunch menu such as the French onion soup, the Chophouse Burger with Brie, and the Seafood Louie salad.  The dinner menu features a Seared Peppercorn Crusted New York Steak and a Pan Seared Shellfish Fettuccini.

 

As delicious as the food was, the view was what brought it all together. From the deck of the restaurant, we could see the San Francisco skyline across the water, framed by the boats docked on both sides and the crane of the port of Oakland.

On the weekends Jack London Square fills with one person sail boats, including dragon boats at the end of the summer preparing for the San Francisco Dragon Boat festival. The Estuary is a bustle of excitement on weekends.

Come join us for a cruise on a historic wooden Jackie O’ designed vessel into our own Bay Area history at Jack London Square.

Amazing Adventures on Angel Island

Driving around the bay and looking out at Angel Island, it’s hard to imagine just how spectacular the views are from the Island.  It is all right there, from the San Francisco skyline to the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais, Sausalito, Tiburon, Richmond and Oakland. On a clear day, you can see as far north as Sonoma and as far south as San Jose.

Angel Island was originally a fishing and hunting site for the Coast Miwok Native Americans, Angel Island has been home to cattle ranchers, immigrants, and a camp for the U.S. Army starting at the time of the Civil War. Remnants and relics of wars gone by remain, from the Civil War to the Cold War.

As you walk the perimeter road around the island counter clockwise, the first landmark is West Garrison and Camp Reynolds. Originally constructed at the time of the Civil War, this outpost was built to defend San Franciscans against Confederate soldiers and foreign attacks. It was used as overflow housing for U.S. Troops through the end of World War II.

A little further up the road the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the San Francisco skyline bring you back into the present, in awe of the beauty of the bay.

 

The next landmark is the Nike Anti-Aircraft Missile Site. Although Angel decommissioned as a military post in 1947, in 1954 missile magazines were constructed on the islands southeast corner above Point Blunt as well as at the top of what is now called Mount Caroline Livermore.

Once upon a time this missile site was part of our front line defense for incoming missiles. Today this vacant launch pad serves as a reminder of the Cold War.

One of the final sites to see as one tours the island is Immigration station, where countless Chinese immigrants were held as part of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Until immigrants could prove that they had husbands or fathers who were U.S. citizens they remained on the island or were subject to deportation. The walls of the station are covered with poems in Chinese of detainees, both heart wrenching and beautiful. Though there were immigrants from a total of 84 different countries, approximately one million of these were Chinese. In 1943 the Exclusion Act came to an end when China became our partner in World War II.

At that point, there were numerous prisoners of war held on the island, though they were given free roam.

The combination of the scenery and the history of the island make it one of the most amazing hikes that the Bay Area has to offer.