How Did Fog Keep San Francisco Harbor Hidden for Almost 200 Years?

Amazingly, thick San Francisco fog had kept San Francisco Harbor hidden for almost 200 Years.

In the year 1579, Sir Francis Drake, the famous English sea captain and navigator, sailed his ship, the Golden Hind, up what is now the west coast of the United States.

He and his men were looking for a good, safe harbor. Up and down they sailed, finding only steep cliffs or fog. Finally, they gave up, not knowing that beyond the fog lay one of the safest and best harbors in the world.

For almost 200 more years, until the 1700’s, the great harbor kept the secret of its existence. Then the Spanish discovered it as they moved north from Mexico and into the state of California.

Even today, with modern devices like radar, a fog at sea does a good job hiding things. On July 26, 1956, two great passenger ships, the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm, were hidden from each other in fog off the coast of Massachusetts.

The two ships suddenly collided. The Andrea Doria sank with a loss of 51 lives.