An East Oakland Shipwreck

To a lot of people, the words “East Oakland” conjure up thoughts of poverty and crime, liquor stores and drugs, sideshows and Raiders fans, hyphy and scraper bikes. And indeed, you can find all these things in East Oakland, some of them in larger quantities than you might like. What many people in Oakland (and even fewer elsewhere) don’t know about East Oakland is that you can also find several miles of parkland along the estuary nestled between Oakland, Alameda, and Bay Farm Island.

Shipwreck, East Oakland

I personally appreciate this park because it allows me to ride on a 3-mile bike path all the way from High Street to Hegenberger without crossing so much as a train track or driveway, instead of braving the maniacal drivers and potholes of the city streets. Others have their own reasons: the joggers and dog walkers like having a place to exercise, the birders out in the early mornings enjoy the plentiful fowl, and the fowl themselves find plentiful marshes, channels and shoreline.

With a national spotlight currently fixed on Oakland’s violence and unrest (and with more destruction possibly scheduled for Wednesday night), now seems like a fine time to note one of the many bright spots you can find in East Oakland’s varied neighborhoods.

Beached boat

This boat — maybe about 40 feet long — must have been beached on this tidal flat near the mouth of East Creek Slough quite a while ago. By now it is just a carcass, rotting and decaying like roadside carrion. It seemed especially picturesque this afternoon as I rode home just after sunset, with the sky aglow, what may or may not be a planet hanging above the horizon in the Southwest (any amateur astronomers out there?), and jets coasting in for landings at OAK to the South. A person might be able to walk out to the old boat at low tide, but I just glance its way as I ride by, wondering what passengers or cargo it once held, and what voyages it might once have made.

9 Responses to “An East Oakland Shipwreck”

  1. ng says:

    Nice pictures and essay — it will be good to hear more about the psitive aspects of Oakland.

  2. Eric says:

    I’m especially happy to know about scraper bikes.

  3. dc says:

    Definitely one of the better trends to come out of Oakland recently. The story of their inventor is good too. Supposedly he now supports himself by making scraper bikes for other kids.

  4. wordnerd says:

    Is this called Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Park? (I want to know if what I’m findiing on the googlemap is the right thing.)

  5. dc says:

    That’s it. Egrets and other shorebirds galore. Its northern tip is just South of the High Street bridge between Oakland and Alameda, and its southern tip is where San Leandro Creek goes under Hegenberger next to Leet Drive. If you want details, there’s a nice pdf map here which shows the full extent of it: in addition to the Oakland side of the estuary, MLKJr. Shoreline also includes the big Arrowhead Marsh in the middle and some boat landing/picnic areas along Doolittle Drive on the airport side of the estuary. It’s very pretty as long as you can overlook the debris that people dump there (or that washes down the creeks).

  6. wordnerd says:

    It says avocets live there year-round. I’ve never even known anyone who’s seen an avocet.

  7. dc says:

    Well, you know me, and I might have seen some avocets without realizing it. If I encounter any birders again, I’ll ask them to point out an avocet to me.

  8. wordnerd says:

    “Groups of several to hundreds march purposefully with heads down.” [Sibley] Sounds like people emerging from the subway in Manhattan.

  9. dc says:

    The difference — I hope — is that people emerging from the subway don’t have their heads down because they’re looking for food.

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