The SS Jeremiah O’Brien promises a sense of adventure on the high seas and of American history to keep you enthralled between Fleet Week and the America’s Cup. This seaworthy ship still sails from Fisherman's Wharf at Pier 45. She invites the public on board this living museum for self-guided or docent tours. Even more monumental she takes the public for a day long sail as well as serving Memorial guests who bring the ashes of military.
Youth groups get the astounding once-in-a-lifetime adventure of overnights on board. That means scouts, church groups, school groups—you must be a child, sorry. East Bay resident Angela Brinkman Bartels enjoyed a cruise on-board during Fleet Week and says she was thrilled.
Smaller boats escorted the S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien to make sure others kept their distance. I felt like quite a celebrity!
Escape from the Haunted Ship, games last week of January
However if you are just intelligent and love a sense of mystery, join others for “Escape from the Haunted Ship”. This is family entertainment, a puzzle game that happens in the cavernous cargo hold of the ship. Essentially, you, being imaginative, awaken suddenly and find yourself trapped inside. A fog shrouds the ship and the boat rocks eerily back and forth as if the ship is breathing. The ship really does rock even in seven feet of water at the dock of Pier 45.
You hear a groan from the enormous hull. You are alone on this journey to the afterlife and if the ship arrives, you die. To survive, you must solve the mysteries you encounter and escape with your life.
Real life war games
In real life, many sailors did not escape with their life fighting World War II although the ship remains seaworthy with it’s original radio still operating. Merchant sailors, civilians, sailed the ship with the exception of military gunners on the anti-aircraft guns on the bow and stern, seating two men each. Visitors may still take a spin on these guns. The ship supported the Allies on D-Day as Americans stormed two of the five French beaches.
An act of this magnitude is hard to fathom but the French gave the Americans a model of the liberation in Normandy. The ship also posts a map showing how Hitler’s Europe spread over the continent and how large the Japanese empire had grown at the time. The SS Jeremiah O’Brien went to fight in the South Pacific after the war in Europe ended leaving the Japanese to be defeated.
Women, aka Rosie the Riveter, helped build these ships. England commissioned them from America to have them built and sailed over fast during World War II. Parts were built all over the United States and then assembled, using welding rather than rivets.
Today ex-sailors such as Jim Hafft, a photographer, volunteer and two real captains still sail the ship beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. Maloney is one, he’s in his mid-fifties and works in marketing for the ship. The other captain is in his mid-sixties.
Visitors get to tour the officers’ quarters and galley, the chart room, the radio room and the bunks as well as the cargo holds. Narrow ladders take visitors to the higher platforms. The ship runs a museum and shop below. The stove in the kitchen still works and the food was good.
Admission for a self-guided tour costs $12.00 for adults. Seniors and Students $8. Children $6/Under five free. Family $25. Active military free.
Admission to “Escape from the Haunted Ship” costs $20 earlybird/$25 advanced/$30 at the door. The session lasts 1 ½ hours and players may board a ½ hour before the game. Children under six admitted free. Children under 13 recommended to have an adult accompany. Games will be run in the evenings January 23 to January 27, Wednesday through Sunday. Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.; Thursday and Friday at 6:00 and 8:30 p.m.. Four games on Saturday at 12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:00. Sunday has three games.
For more information: http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org or (415) 544-0100
SS Jeremiah O’Brien
166 Jefferson Street, San Francisco, California
For more by this writer, check out CBS SF's website under Best of the Bay, arts & culture; Examiner.com San Francisco Theater or Opera. To subscribe hit the SUBSCRIBE button at the top of this article.
SF Opera announces 2012/2013 season