The Wave Organ, photo by Frank Schulenburg via Wikipedia
On Memorial Day I found myself in the Marina in the evening with a little spare time. I figured I’d try visiting The Exploratorium’s Wave Organ. Though I’ve been before it was seemingly never working. As it turns out, I simply hadn’t followed the directions — as the official website explains, The Wave Organ only works at high tide. Fortunately this time the tide was coming in. Sure enough, it was working!
The Wave Organ is built out of reclaimed concrete and stone at the end of the Marina Harbor jetty, with metal pipes sticking up that produce sound as the waves splash past the lower end. Here’s a short clip I recorded from one of the pipes:
I don’t know what I had in mind, certainly the echo-y sloshing sound of the waves coming through big pipes is nothing like your typical church or old fashioned movie theater organ. It’s more of a natural, meditative soundscape. It’s not super loud, but if you put your ear up to the pipes it sounds much louder than the passing waves down below.
During my visit the place was crawling with people… most of who were taking selfies instead of listening to the organ. To be fair it is a decent spot to get a photo of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.
I didn’t get any decent photos of my own before I had to take off; the photo at the top of this post is from The Wave Organ’s Wikipedia page.