Departures: Local: 2002 Oakland Harbor Tour

[Photo: New port area]

New port area under construction. Those blue and yellow racks will hold reefer containers. I'm not sure what's so special about the racks. Maybe they have electrical outlets? Maybe they're close to the stevedores' cafeteria?

[Photo: stone walls, loud hat]

I took this photo so I could remember the "training" walls. The stone walls of the Oakland/Alameda channel were lined with "training" walls, stone walls shaped in an unsuccessful attempt to trick the tides into scouring the channel, a sort of self-dredging shape. But I hung on to the photo so I could remember this lady's hat.

[Photo: scrap heap]

Schnitzer Steel, exporters of scrap metal, had pretty covered conveyor belts.

[Photo: Crane dudes]

Up on a giant crane, these guys didn't have anything better to do than watch us.

Tom Lester and I took advantage of the Port of Oakland's free harbor tour. There were hundreds of retirees, summer day-camp kids, a few families, and us. I took photos. Tom's photos turned out better than my photos did. I finally learned which of Oakland's cranes were her new ones from China. Tom finally learned about the word "Panamax". It wasn't so easy to learn things on this tour. The narrator keeped breaking off, as if he were distracted by something.

E.g., he said that Oakland was now the USA's fourth-largest container port, after Los Angeles/Long Beach and New York/New Jersey. Somewhere in there, some information was lost.

We learned about "stack operations" and "wheeled operations". (In the first, you pile up the containers as you offload them; in the second, you put them onto trucks as you offload them.) Tom and I caught each other saying "stack-based operations."

Much of the port is built on landfill, one peninsula made from the dirt extracted from the BART tunnel. After the quake of '89, cranes on this land had leaned. They're addding on more port area now, sinking cement pilings deep, hoping to avoid future leans.


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