A podcast about history

That's not stuck in the past


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Ahoy! I’ve been leading historical boat tours of the Bay for the past four years and people keep asking me how much longer I’m going to keep doing them. The answer is: As long as you want me to.

First of all, the tours are different every single time. From the unpredictable encounters with nature (seals! ospreys! porpoises!) to the unending churn of shoreline redevelopment, each outing provides totally unique sights and experiences. But more importantly, the passengers are different on every trip, so I always look forward to meeting new people. Over the years, I’ve gotten story ideas, made friends, and had so many inspirational encounters aboard the Pacific Pearl — why would I ever give that up?

I don’t like to describe the tours in too much detail, because I want the voyage to be surprising, but if you’re considering joining one, here are a few notes on the overall tour and logistics…

-The tours begin and end at the Emeryville Marina Sport Fishing Dock. The boat holds 28 passengers and the cruise lasts about 2.5 hours.

-The route takes us from the Berkeley Pier to Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands followed by a jaunt through the Oakland Estuary as far as Brooklyn Basin. We hug the Oakland shoreline on the way in and the Alameda side on the way out. The first few minutes coming out of the Marina can get a bit choppy, but most of the ride is usually smooth.

-Besides the incredible scenery, the tours consist of me sharing a variety of stories related to the history of the Bay. The content of these stories is family-friendly, but small children who may cry or be otherwise disruptive are discouraged.

-Private, chartered group tours are available. For details, contact eastbayyesterday [at] gmail dot com

If you want to know a bit more about the tours, here’s an essay that I wrote about them and here are links to some recent media coverage:

Alta Journal: A Historical Trip around the Bay

Diablo Magazine: Keeping History Alive with Liam O’Donoghue

KQED: Hitting the road and building a Northern California Bucket List

As always, you can bring your own drinks/snacks and warm clothing is recommended! See you out there. –Liam O’Donoghue


You never know what you’ll see out there…

Summer 2022 Boat Tours are Here!

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