Posts Tagged ‘ducks’

Introducing the “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco – What It’s Like to Ride an Amphibious Vehicle on the Bay

Monday, July 14th, 2014

IMO, writer Tony Hicks has got things spot-on right here in the San Jose Mercury News:

Taking the Kids: Quacking up and around the city by the bay

I just took the media cruise for the new-ish “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco - it starts at 7:30 PM.

Here’s Captain John:

Quacking away with people in another duck boat while passing by:

So that’s how things start in Fisherman’s Wharf. Then you begin a circuitous trip to the launch ramps down south of AT&T Park. I’ve never been up so high in an open vehicle, so this was a new experience, kind of like what I imagine the “hop-on hop-off” city bus tours are like.

So off you go, past the working part of Fisherman’s Wharf…

…past the Gary Danko (perennial No. 1 in the Bay Area for “Food, Service and Popularity” per Zagat)…

…through North Beach and on to Chinatown, where you look down upon the #30 Stocktons as you pass them by…

…and then through the tunnel to Union Square and then through SoMA to the launch area.

I gotta say that that was the touristy part of the tour, so check out Beth Spotswood’s take on that in the Tourist Trapped Culture Blog of the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com if you want more on that.

So finally you get to launch – it looks like this:

And then you’re slowly cruising the bay, albeit near to shore for the most part.

This was the late-starting 7:30 PM sunset cruise so things were getting darker as we made our way past AT&T Park:

You might catch a little spray from the bay but most likely you won’t.

This riding-on-the-water part in a military-style vehicle with not all that much freeboard is an experience – I recommend it.

Then after puttering around on the water, you drive out of the water to take the Embarcadero back to the Wharf.

Looking back at the Bay Bridge through Doris and Don Fisher’s Cupid’s Span skate park / tourist hiking platform – plenty of oohs and ahs at this point here:

Interacting with happy passersby on the way home…

…while zipping past the historic F-Market streetcars:

These ducks look somewhat menacing at night, huh?

And there’s your trip:

So, you need to show up at least 15 minutes early to keep your reservation, I think.

And this tour can get quite cold and windy, needless to say.

If you want to see some more photos, there are some good ones on Yelp.

This was a great experience – I think it’d be good for tourists and locals alike.

 

Peking DUKW! The Best Way to Visit Chinatown is by WWII-Era Amphibious Truck

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Pick Your Duck and then go for a ride.

Through Chinatown if necessary.

“The name DUKW comes from the model naming terminology used by GMC; the“D” indicates a vehicle designed in 1942, the “U” meant “utility (amphibious)”, the “K” indicated all-wheel drive and the “W”indicated two powered rear axles.”

(The “D” stands for 1942? Of course! Why couldn’t I have figured that one out?)

Our Peking Duck takes Grant (nee Dupont) Avenue:

Click to expand

But be sure to bail out quickly when your duck starts to go down during the water portion of the tour – more than a few tourists have been dragged down to a wat’ry grave by poorly maintained vehicles. The after-market canopies are surprisingly hard to escape from. Oh well.

Anyway, quack quack.

A Foie Gras Protest Coming to Napa Valley – Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Targeted

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

You know what Napa needs? A nice foie gras protest at The French Laundry, the finest restaurant in the West.

“The Animal Protection & Rescue League and several animal protection groups will be protesting outside Thomas Keller restaurants in three cities across the country on Saturday due to the company’s sale of “foie gras” – liver from cruelly force fed ducks. The groups will be displaying graphic banners showing scenes from inside Thomas Keller’s supplier, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, and other producers of this barbaric product. The coalition of groups, which includes the Animal Protection & Rescue League, Orange County People for Animals, In Defense of Animals, and Compassion Over Killing, have launched a campaign website at www.foie-gras-industry.com.”

So keep that in mind if you have reservations for May 8th  at any of Thomas Keller’s joints nationwide.

Ah yes. Peppery melba toast, fruits, sea salt, and le hockey puck du plaisir in the middle – that’s how Tom Keller rolls in suburban Napa:

via peterme

All the deets:

Thomas Keller Targeted for Animal Cruelty. Protests in NYC, Beverly Hills and Napa

NEW YORK, May 6 — The Animal Protection & Rescue League and several animal protection groups will be protesting outside Thomas Keller restaurants in three cities across the country on Saturday due to the company’s sale of “foie gras” – liver from cruelly force fed ducks.

The groups will be displaying graphic banners showing scenes from inside Thomas Keller’s supplier, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, and other producers of this barbaric product. The coalition of groups, which includes the Animal Protection & Rescue League, Orange County People for Animals, In Defense of Animals, and Compassion Over Killing, have launched a campaign website at www.foie-gras-industry.com.

 Protest locations and times on Saturday May 8:

 Per Se, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019 – Time: noon
 Bouchon, 235 N. Canon Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210 – Time: 7:30pm
 French Laundry, 6640 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599 – Time 7pm

 “As a veterinarian, I find foie gras to be a disease rather than a delicacy,” states Elliot Katz, DVM, President of IDA. “The liver’s function is to process toxins, and a liver in this grossly enlarged state from force feeding cannot function properly.”

To make the livers fat enough for foie gras, workers restrain the ducks, force long metal pipes down their throats, and pump up to two pounds of food into them per day.  After three weeks, their livers swell up to 12 times their normal size.

“The conditions I have witnessed in Hudson Valley Foie Gras are appalling,” states Bryan Pease, Esq., Board Chair of APRL.  “In visiting there and other farms to document conditions, I saw ducks panting incessantly and showing great difficulty walking and breathing in the later stages of force feeding, and I saw trash barrels full of dead ducks killed by the process.”

Animal cruelty investigations by APRL and a lawsuit filed by APRL and IDA led to enactment of Cal. Health & Safety Code section 25980, banning the sale or production of foie gras in California effective 2012. The cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, West Hollywood, Solana Beach and San Diego have recently passed resolutions in support of the ban.

Early last year, the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau found that D’Artagnan, a major U.S. foie gras distributor, was engaging in false advertising by claiming the livers are not diseased and implying the animals are treated humanely.

More information is available at www.foie-gras-industry.com.

Feeding the Ducks at Golden Gate Park – Is That a Bad Thing or Not?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

I always thought that it might be against the rules to feed animals in Golden Gate Park, but I never really knew for sure. These days, there’s a movement afoot to amend the San Francisco Park Code to prohibit feeding animals “wild by nature and not customarily domesticated.”

Here’s the rule as it stands now:

SEC. 5.07. FEEDING ANIMALS PROHIBITED It shall be unlawful for any person to feed or offer to any animal in any park any substance which would be likely to be harmful to it. (Added by 603-81, App. 12/18/81)”

Does it hurt a duck to feed it bread? No se. Is it against the rules to feed a duck in Golden Gate Park under the existing rules? Even our Lawgivers seem to be uncertain as to how this would all work.

The operator of the Stow Lake Boat House has this sign up at the snack bar, not that the birders would approve.

Here’s a sign at San Francisco Botanical Garden (nee Strybing) inside of GGP. The people at Strybing, they say stuff like “we don’t feed the animals” but I don’t think they have any special rules just for them because their signs only cite existing section 5.07:

Irregardless, lots of people think its their right to feed San Francisco’s ducks, so I’m not sure that Park Rangers would relish handing out enough citations to get people to change their behavior.

It’s probably not a good thing for you to feed the ducks but I don’t think anybody will try to stop you if you put your mind to it. (Although if you’re around state or federal authorities, they might have a whole set of different rules for you to obey.) 

Of course Park employees used to carry around cans of cat food to feed the red foxes of Strybing, but they’re no longer around.

 

And coyotes, some guy started bringing raw meet into GGP to feed coyotes a while back, but that caused issues so the state of California sent in a man to execute all the coyotes he could find, including this one.

Oh well.

Our supes will hash this issue out and let us know I’m sure.