This letterbox commemorates the San Carlos, the first European ship to enter the San Francisco Bay on August 5th, 1775. For forty-four days San Carlos, captained by Juan de Ayala, was anchored at Angel Island in a cove which now bears Ayala’s name. For More Information about the history behind this letterbox, see The San Carlos – First Spanish Ship to Enter the San Francisco Bay.
This letterbox is hidden on Angel Island State Park, in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. For information on the park, go to the Angel Island State Park website or the Angel Island Association website. Angel Island is accessible only by boat. For the daily ferry schedule from the town of Tiburon, visit the Angel Island Ferry website.
Clues: Take the ferry to Angel Island. Get off at Ayala Cove and pick up a park map. From Ayala Cove Visitors Center take the paved path that leads directly to the Perimeter Road. Find the trailhead for the Sunset trail and walk on the trail for about two minutes. The trail will pass behind a brown shingled water reservoir with a red roof. Shortly after that you’ll see some wooden fence posts on the right hand border of the trail. When you reach the first fence post look back over your shoulder. Down hill from the trail you’ll see an oak tree with a large hollow about halfway up the trunk. The letterbox is hidden in the hollow of the oak.
When you find the letterbox, be sure to read the written excerpt from the diary of Vicente Santa Maria, the Spanish priest on board the San Carlos. In it, Santa Maria describes his experience with Huimen and Huchiun Indians on the island’s shore.
PLEASE BE SURE TO SEAL THE LETTERBOX SECURELY AND REPLACE IT IN THE SAME PLACE WHERE YOU FOUND IT.
Yours – S.F. Bay Time Traveler