Today on the blog: Alcatraz island!
Even though it's tiny (511m by 180 m and is 41 m at highest point during mean tide), most people know its name. Alcatraz is home of the US first maximum security prison, which opened in 1934 and closed in 1963. But do you know what the name actually means? It was in 1775 when Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala sailed through the Golden Gate and named the rocky island “La Isla de los Alcatraces,” which can be translated to “Island of the Pelicans.”
During the 29 years the prison was in use, it held some of the most notorious criminals in American history, including the famous Al Capone. Interestingly, even though in pop culture it is portrayed as one of the toughest prisons, in reality many prisoners considered the conditions inside Alcatraz to be more attractive than at other places, and many even asked to be moved there.
But criminals were not the only inhabitans of this island. There are also cormorants, orange-footed pigeon guillemots, snowy egrets and black-crowned night herons and several more bird species, that you can get really close to, which makes Alcatraz a birdwatcher's paradise.
Big thanks to Gosia and Piotr for sending this card! :)
- in the San Francisco Bay
- distance travelled
- sent from