SF Sea Serpent - Where to Seek the Serpent
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Where to Seek the Sea Serpent

By Sally Lobkowicz
Director of Mysterious Destinations

Sea serpent searching can be time consuming and sometimes tedious, so why not find a nice spot where you can relax and enjoy the view as well as some refreshments? The San Francisco Bay area offers many of them.

If you’ll be making your observations outdoors: dress for the weather, bring a folding chair and a thermos (or perhaps a bottle of good wine as long as no local ordinances are broken) and some snacks. We have some great outdoor locations for you.

If you’re seeking a location even more comfortable, perhaps indoors with table service, we have some suggestions as well.

Outdoor Locations

Note: The descriptions of these locations and their amenities were current as of Dec. 1, 2013 and are subject to change without notice.

Marina Green

Bill and Bob Clark have been searching the waters of San Francisco Bay for signs of sea serpent activity since their first encounter with a large, unknown creature in 1985.

The twin brothers were sipping coffee parked along the shoreside walkway at Marina Green located at the northern terminus of Scott St. They were parked in the northeast section of the area, offering a great view of the bay and Alcatraz Island offshore. They observed some sea lions cavorting offshore, and then suddenly scatter, with one of the sea lions making a mad dash for the shoreline in front of their car. It came up on a ledge exposed by the low tide directly in front of them, and to their astonishment they saw it was being chased by a large serpentine creature. The creature’s pursuit of the sea lion caused it to come up on the ledge, partially exposing itself to the stunned brothers at a distance of only 30 feet, according to their description. For a full video of the Clark brothers’ description of this incident, click here.

Marina Green is well located for comfortable observation, either from a parked car or from right along the quay.

For those seeking a warm beverage, there’s a quaint little building housing Dynamo Doughnut and Coffee on the western shore of the marina basin. For more information on Dynamo Doughnut and Coffee, click here

St. Francis Yacht Club

A bit further west from Marina Green, take Yacht Rd. to the St. Francis Yacht Club parking lot for another great view of the bay from the spit of land the club is located on.

From here the Sea Serpent Searcher has an unobstructed view stretching from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz. This is also one of the Clark brothers’ favorite spots.

An interesting structure called The Wave Organ, a wave-activated acoustic sculpture, is located a short walk along the shore out to the tip of the peninsula. For more information on The Wave Organ, click here.

Fort Mason

Right in the same neighborhood east of Marina Green is Fort Mason, a park open to the public. One of the Clark brothers’ favorite observation points is located here, along a walking path situated on a on a small point overlooking the Aquatic Park Pier. This location offers the advantage of an elevated view of the bay out to Alcatraz Island, and the Clark brothers have obtained some very compelling video from this location.

For a link to a video interview with the Clark brothers at Fort Mason that shows the observation point and the Clarks’ descriptions of what they have seen from there, click here.

For a link to a compelling video the Clarks made showing surface activity on the bay possibly indicative of a large serpentine marine creature in the distance, click here.

Point Bonita Lighthouse

Perhaps the best view to the entrance of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge can be found at Point Bonita Lighthouse located at the end of a peninsula that extends from Sausalito well out into the ocean – so far out that the view here is almost 360 degrees. This location also has the advantage of elevation, but it comes with some disadvantages as well. Parking is very limited as are creature comforts. To reach the lighthouse the intrepid Sea Serpent Searcher must walk a steep half-mile trail and pass through a tunnel that is only open during visiting hours. For more information on the Point Bonita Lighthouse, including days and hours that the tunnel is open and how to get to the location, click here.

Lands End Trail

On the opposite side of the bay entrance from Bonita Point in the Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco is a large, natural area with the shoreline on the north side and the San Francisco VA Medical Center on the south. It is transected by El Camino Del Mar. There are numerous trails through this area, and three small points that offer elevated views of the ocean.

The easternmost of these points is known as Eagle’s Point and the westernmost is known as the Eagle Point Labyrinth. Either of these locations will offer Sea Serpent Searchers an expansive view, but keep in mind there are no facilities at these locations, so plan accordingly. (Note: We could not find a viable link for the Eagle Point area.)

Torpedo Wharf

Located just east of the Golden Gate off Marine Ave. is Torpedo Wharf, a pier that offers Sea Serpent Searchers a great view from the bay entrance to the bay interior. Several past incidents of possible serpent sightings were reported by people crossing the Golden Gate, so this pier offers an ideal location to check this area. (Unfortunately hampered by lack of elevation.)

There are also two nearby concessions to keep the Sea Serpent Searcher comfortable. A Let’s be Frank hot dog stand and the Warming Hut Café & Bookstore are both located in an area near the base of Torpedo Wharf. For more information on Let’s be Frank, which offers an unusual and high quality selection of hot dogs, click here. (Note: This is their corporate website, but the San Francisco location is listed.) (Further note: We could not find a viable link for Warming Hut Café & Bookstore, which is operated by the Golden Gate Park Conservancy.)

Alcatraz

Situated in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz is short ferry trip from Pier 41 off The Embarcadero in San Francisco. This island, the former site of a federal prison, offers a number of great, elevated views. For more information on both the ferry service and the island, click here

On the Ferry

Why not take to the water in your search for the San Francisco Bay Sea Serpent? It’s easy and relatively inexpensive to go aboard one of the many ferries that regularly ply the bay’s waters. Many of these trips originate at Pier 41 in San Francisco and travel to many locations in the bay. They usually have a variety of food and beverage concessions on board as well as heads (restrooms) provided for a searcher’s comfort. For more information on ferries in the San Francisco Bay, click here.

Indoor Locations

Looking for a great view along with a nice meal or some refreshing beverages? Here are some observation points that offer all of the above. Note: The descriptions of these locations and their amenities were current as of Dec. 1, 2013 and are subject to change without notice.

Neptune’s Waterfront Grill & Bar and the Sea Lion Café

Located in the tourist hustle of retail and restaurants on Pier 39 off The Embarcadero is Neptune’s Waterfront Grill & Bar and the Sea Lion Café. The two restaurants offer two levels of ambience, both with great views of the bay. Neptune’s is the more upscale choice while the Sea Lion is more casual.

Both of the venues are located on the end of the pier, on the west side. In what may be a further enticement for both Serpent Searchers and actual serpents to visit the area, a sea lion colony has been established in front of the restaurants using floats. (The Clark brothers’ initial sighting in 1985, mentioned in the “Marina Green” section of this article, involved a sea serpent chasing a sea lion to shore.)

For more information on Neptune’s Waterfront Grill & Bar and the Sea Lion Café, click here

The Cliff House

Located on what may be the westernmost part of San Francisco, the Cliff House restaurant offers expansive views of the open Pacific off of Ocean Beach. Whales are often sighted from this venue during the annual migrations, so why not a serpent or two? Keep the camera handy as you dine on some of the esoteric choices off their menu. The Cliff House offers breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch. For more information on the Cliff House, click here

The Caprice

Located on the north side of the bay in Tiburon on Paradise Dr. is the Caprice, a high end restaurant with a an expansive view to the west and south. Here you can keep a wary eye on the bay as you enjoy Dungeness Crab Cakes with Cajun Remoulade and Petrale Sole Almondine while your camera remains in handy reach. For more information on The Caprice, click here.