The number one question that rangers get asked by visitors is: “what happens if you miss the ferry?” In answering this great island quandary, the hapless traveler is presented with a number of possible solutions.
The most obvious and simple of these answers is that you can swim. About a mile of water separates Angel Island from the Tiburon shore, and the coastal water is renowned for its invigorating temperature.
Another easy compromise is employment. What many people don’t realize is that the rangers and staff who work on the island all missed the ferry at some point — island resident and park ranger Casey Lee missed the boat over thirteen years ago and has been here ever since!
If all else fails, many stragglers find that missing the ferry provides for a valuable lesson in self-sufficiency and survival. The island’s rich flora and fauna furnishes a range of approaches to fending for oneself. Some attempt to fashion boats or rafts, while others choose a more Christopher McCandless inspired route. “Finding yourself” is not uncommon.
Some Serious Answers:
The reality is that people do miss the ferry every once in a while. While it can be a bummer, there are some solutions that actually make sense.
The first option would be to see if another ferry service has a later departure time. If you came over on the Tiburon Ferry, check the Blue and Gold Fleet, or vice versa.
The next option is to ask a boater on the island if you can hitch a ride. If the park service or the island staff are not making a run to the mainland, there are often private boaters who have room for extra passengers.
As a last resort, there are a few water taxi companies that will transport you for a price. This option is usually quite expensive but ensures that you will make it back home if it comes down to it.
The best defense is to keep track of time and plan your route in advance. There are plenty of friendly folk on the island who are there to help you navigate and keep things leisurely and enjoyable.