Recently, my family took me on a surprise trip to Alcatraz for my birthday. As is standard practice on the weekends, we donned our Onyx and connected to Orion so that we’re connected when we need it. Just getting out of the house with the diaper bag, snacks, and having all children accounted for, was infinitely easier without having to Yell-to-Talk.
It was a nicely speckled morning so the ferry ride was relaxing. We didn’t lose any kids in the bay despite several attempts to jump ship.
After getting on the island, we noticed that cell phone service was pretty spotty. Luckily during the Alcatraz intro they mentioned that wifi had recently been installed on the island. Yes, WiFi on The Rock, which means easy access to real-time communication! Now there’s only a 50% chance of losing our kids!
The island itself is a beautiful juxtaposition of gloomy oppressive metal, rock and walls, and meandering paths leading to majestic blue vistas and verdant gardens.
The audio tour mirrors the physical incongruity of the island. It mixes the morbid and touching stories of the varying alumni and past events of the prison. From the attempted jail breaks to the manicured gardens, the inmates constructed their own realities within the confines of their imprisonment.
On the tour of the prison, the Alcatraz tour people stopped us often to ask us about the Onyx. They said that radios are hard to use due to the combination of the island’s rocky hills and all that metal that is the prison. They thought it was pretty crazy that we could stay connected and talk to each other with the Onyx.
With the nice walks, the history and narrative of the prison and the beautiful views, this place puts you in a contemplative mood. Alcatraz is a awesome place to explore and I look forward to visiting again. Here’s a heat map of our messages while on The Rock!