August 23, 2023. I went to the Bay Model in Sausalito, which I haven’t been to in decades. It seems a bit run down. Lots of rusty/dirty spots and basic wear and tear, I guess. In addition to water, it contains bridges and piers and that’s about it. I remembered it more featured, more diorama-like.
But it was built for engineering, not my entertainment! It was used to evaluate various development plans, like one calling for dams (with 36 lane roads on top!) and canals to turn San Francisco Bay into freshwater lakes. This was the Reber Plan, which was debated for over 30 years and had wide support. The Army Corps of Engineers’ model proved that the plan would cause extensive damage to the bay and also just wouldn’t work.
Most of the model’s interpretive videos and audios were not working and that was a bummer. There are a lot of boards with photos and text but I found it sort of overwhelming and unclear. The model tells a big story, but it could be done more coherently. I did really like this model with moving lights showing how snow melts and travels down the mountains to the sea.
It did inspire me to research more, however, and I discovered that SF Bay is an estuary, not a real bay. It’s also only about 15 feet deep! There are two spots where it’s deep and I decided to visit them. I was hoping to walk out to the Lime Point Lighthouse under the Marin side of the bridge. Google said I could, but the road is fenced off. Under the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the deepest points. The nets extending out from the bridge are for suicide prevention.
I walked up Conzelman Road to Battery Spencer, hoping for some cooling ocean breezes, but no luck. Temperature was in the high 80’s. The view is spectacular though! The other deep spot is between Tiburon and Angel Island, Raccoon Strait. Lyford’s Tower, a lovely little stone tower built in 1899, gave me a nice view of the strait. The tower is all that remains of the entrance to a planned utopian community that never got built. My last stop was along the bay trail below Golden Gate Fields for one last view of our lovely bay at sunset.