• A section of the bowsprint and figurehead on the bow of BALCLUTHA.

    San Francisco Maritime

    National Historical Park California

Fathom This December 2013


The monthly newsletter from

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park


December, 2013
Issue # 65

Peter Kasin
Park Ranger, Interpretation and Visitor Services Division

In this issue:
Christmas at Sea and Old Time Maritime Christmas
Photo exhibit celebrates 25 years


Best fishes to all in this season of herring, when mackerels happen every day! Not to carp, but at the risk of blurring separation between perch and skate, let us thank cod the season is upon us. Whether you decorate a Christmas trout, or light a menhaden and spin the driftfish to celebrate halibut, as you mullet over this message, eel hope this season brings you plaice and harpooness. Let me not flounder any more, and shad you let any annoyances get under your crawfish, let us offer this ray of hake: As manta claws would say, “Coho-ho, and may all your fishes come true on salmon chanted evening.” Let us join together, tuna up our voices, and sing “Shark! The Halibut Angelfishes Sing,” “I’m Dreaming of a Whitefish Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Rockfish,” “Jingle Bass,” “Haddocka, O’ Haddocka,” “Good Kingfish Wenceslas,” “Away In A Mollusk,” “Frosty The Snow Crab,” and “Cod Rest You Moray Gentlemen.”

Fathom This! is sent monthly. Feel free to forward it, in whole or in part, and enter it into blogs. If you would like to subscribe, or cancel, please email the editor atpeter_kasin@nps.gov. For descriptions, dates, and times of all the programs the park and its partners have to offer, please see the links to websites at the end of this newsletter.


Saturday, December 14, 3:00pm to 4:45pm, aboard Balclutha. Admission: Adults, $5. Age 15 and under, free (with adult supervision). Free with national park passes. No reservations needed. Information; 415-447-5000, or see http://www.nps.gov/safr

This special holiday celebration features live music, refreshments, ornament making, a story reading, and a visit from Santa Claus. All activities are held aboard the 1886 Glasgow-built square-rigged ship Balclutha, berthed at Hyde Street Pier. The Dogwatch Nautical Band starts the festivities at 3;00pm, performing traditional sea chanteys with a holiday twist. Kids of all ages will enjoy ornament-making activities and refreshments beginning 3:00pm. As the band concludes its performance, park ranger Carol Kiser will read from The Night Before Christmas, followed by the arrival of the jolly fellow in the red coat. Santa arrives at 4:20pm and will listen to children’s wishes until the program ends at 4:45pm.


Saturday, December 14, 6:00pm to 9:00pm, on Hyde Street Pier and aboard historic vessels. Information and reservations: 415-447-5000.

The park’s Living History Players presents its annual Old Time Maritime Christmas, bringing history to life in this family holiday program. The program is free, and reservations are required.

Turn back the clock to Christmas in the year 1901, where you will meet and talk with captains, wives, visitors and crews aboard historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier. Lamp lit guided tours leave every 20 minutes from the entrance to Hyde Street Pier, with the final tour beginning 7:40pm. With the lights of the city twinkling in the background, the historic vessels and costumed players offer a unique holiday experience!


Through December, In the gallery at the entrance to Hyde Street Pier. Free admission.

“Gallery 25,” an exhibit of 25 photographs celebrates the park’s history. Staff photographers Tim Campbell, and Steve Danford (ret.) have taken stunning images of people, vessels, and scenic park views for many years. Their artistic eye for capturing special moments and unusual views are exhibited through these carefully selected 25 photographs.

Did You Know?

Balclutha at Hyde Street Pier.

The 19th Century sailing ship Balclutha, moored at San Francisco Maritime NHP, carried tons of coal during her career. Coal from Wales and Australia provided fuel for the West Coast's railroads, steamships, factories, businesses and homes.