Friday, July 30, 2010

Boston Harbor Overview Day

Today I had a lot of fun on the water. I feel like the best learning is done outside of a classroom. I loved every minute of it. As we pulled out of the harbor I noticed that the edge of the harbor was a vertical wall. This is evidence of the human transformation of the harbor that moved land forward into the harbor where land was not previously. We all took a trip to the actual waterline and I took a picture of the evidence of this line from 1630. You can see in the above left picture. It says "Boston Harbor Shore Line Circa 1630". I knew that some of the water had been filled in but it's very interesting to see how much has been man-made that would have been underwater without human impact. The best way to make a point is to show it to someone. Seeing the line made it so much easier to grasp.
As we were out on the water I noticed that most of the islands had be modified to include rock walls to prevent erosion. I noticed that there was one island that did not have this rock wall surroundings. It was interesting to see the difference between a touched and untouched island shoreline in the harbor.
When we were travelling along, I had the pleasure of standing next to an older Boston local who told me all about some local islands. One island in particular had a funny story that I found interesting. It was called Nixes Mate. According to this local there was someone who was hung on the island for something like treason and before he was hung he said that to prove his innocence the island would wash away. Well, that's exactly what the island did. The island that used to be around 12 acres big, now uncovers and covers with the tide. I did a little research after this encounter and I learned that the criminal's name was William Fly and he was executed in 1726. He was a pirate who raided ships in New England until he was caught and executed in Boston.
The island is located at :
Longitude: 42° 19' 47.9" North
Latitude: 70° 56' 43.9" West
I also found the start of the Boston clean-up to be a very amusing story. It's funny how nothing actually happens until someone of power sees the impact of the problem and then decides to finally do something about it. Listening to the way the harbor cleanup has been approached, I was very impressed with the way that every step was taken with understanding that people would try to take shortcuts and steps were taken to make sure that these shortcuts could not be taken. I liked that they started the pipe building 9 miles out and worked its way back to the shoreline so that the pipe would not be shortened.
I can't wait for tomorrow,
Sarah Appleton

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