Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 1 - Orientation

What a day! It is really interesting to see that everyone caught on different things. Today was pretty much my first experience with the harbor and the islands.

First some data:

  • Date:Friday, July the 30th
  • Time: from about 1pm. to 3.30pm
  • Starting point and route: Long Wharf. To be totally honest I still don't have in my mind a crystal clear view of route we followed. I know that we did a circle from Hull to Quincy and that we stopped in Killroy (shipyard) and the airport. After I finish this blog post I will take a better look at the map.
  • Temperature felt a bit colder than in the city. This link has a lot of very detailed info (updated hourly) about the weather conditions in Boston Harbor. According to the data collected, the atmospheric temperature at the time of our visit was between 68.2 and 68.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The water temperature was also around 68 degrees. The wind speed was very low, and there were no waves. For those that cannot be bothered to click on the link, here is a summary of the measurements.
5-day plot - Wind DirectionWind Direction (WDIR):S ( 180 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind SpeedWind Speed (WSPD):9.7 kts
5-day plot - Wind GustWind Gust (GST):11.7 kts
5-day plot - Wave HeightWave Height (WVHT):1.3 ft
5-day plot - Dominant Wave PeriodDominant Wave Period (DPD):2 sec
5-day plot - Average PeriodAverage Period (APD):3.1 sec
5-day plot - Atmospheric PressureAtmospheric Pressure (PRES):29.92 in
5-day plot - Pressure TendencyPressure Tendency (PTDY):+0.02 in ( Rising )
5-day plot - Air TemperatureAir Temperature (ATMP):68.7 °F
5-day plot - Water TemperatureWater Temperature (WTMP):68.2 °F
5-day plot - SalinitySalinity (SAL):30.94 psu
5-day plot - Dew PointDew Point (DEWP):61.0 °F
source: National Data Buoy Center

Now the observations:

The first impression I got is that the water is pretty clean. This impression is primarily based on what I have been told, however the water seemed relatively clear to me. That said I could not see very deep inside, nor did I measure how far I can see.

Today I was able to take a glimpse at life in Boston harbor and the islands. The traffic did not seem to me very intense, however I have no criterion for this observation since it was my first experience there. Also, I was able to see some of the erosion that has taken place after the last ice age. The most astonishing thing to me was perhaps how green the islands were. I have a lot of experience from very dry and rocky islands in Greece, and I was surprised to see very small but very green islands. I wonder whether they are so green just because of the rain, or if these islands have water reserves. In any case, I am not a tree expert but there seemed to be a good variety, and I think that I was able to see some varieties of Pine? trees.

I was also very happy to see Deer island, because we have talked about it in both my science classes this summer. Two hundred and eighty million of mostly untreated waste sounds like an awful lot of waste, and yet people came up with a good solution. Every time I hear about this success story I am more and more impressed. It makes me think that if people were able to clean the Boston harbor and the bay, they should be able to do it elsewhere. This immense effort that took place in the last 25 years should serve as a model to other big ports around the world. I was mostly surprised (in a good way) by the reaction of the court to the first clean-up proposal. The response was extremely effective in mobilizing people in Massachusetts and the result is spectacular. The second thing that I found very smart was that the efforts were first geared toward fixing the problems that were hurting the health of the harbor and the bay, and later address the problems associated with the closing of the beaches. This ensured that everyone would be committed until the clean up is finished. I can see the policy response and the clean up efforts becoming textbook cases in the very near future. I am sure that in the early eighties it would be practically impossible to do what we are doing today. Even if it was possible, probably I wouldn't be willing to go anywhere near the harbor and the islands.

My internet connection is really bad right now but I will upload some of my pictures once I get the chance.

I can't wait to get out there tomorrow and learn more about the harbor.


No comments: