Welcome to Snails to Whales, Bruce Berman's Boston Harbor blog focused on both the little and the big things that make Boston Harbor such an extraordinary place to live, work and play.
It is also a place for my Boston University students and my colleagues at Save the Harbor / Save the Bay to share their work and experiences.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
From Toilets to Pellets
My day on the water at Boston Harbor started at 1:21pm. The temperature was a warm 83°F at the Long
Warf Harbor. The tide was definitely low
as it was about 3-5 inches above the bottom of five ridges that lined the right
side of the harbor. I initially thought
that the tide was rising as the water lapped upward, but my observations upon
our return proved me incorrect (see pictures below).
Tide at 1:21pm
Tide at 2:50pm
After getting on the water, I was surprised by how quickly
we reached the islands. I initially
thought the islands were spread out even as I looked at the map, but we seemed
to fly by them before I could really take them in! Within ten minutes we were to Castle Island,
and then passing by Spectacle Island and Thompson Island. Professor Berman pointed out the egg-shaped
digesters on Deer Island, and began to set the tone for the day. It’s a good thing I already didn’t like
orange juice, or I’d be abstaining from the juice for a while.
At fifteen minutes into the trip, we were going under the
Long Island Bridge and passing Long Island and Moon Island. I was surprised to find out the information
about shipping our homeless there each night- what an odd practice! I
understand the reasoning behind it, but still…
Just past the Long Island Bridge
At 1:46pm, we’d passed into the Quincy Bay. Professor Berman pointed out Hangman’s Rock,
and I was surprised by the realization that I can actually see in our own time
an island that is going to disappear. It
reminded me of the reverse of the formation of Hawaii. By 1:54pm, we were going into the river in
Quincy, and starting to learn about Rachel Carson, DDT, a biologically dead
harbor, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Big Dig.
Beautiful day to sail
Four minutes later we were in the Wessagusett area. The fact that million dollar homes have the
view of public housing leaves me amused and amazed by the quick turnaround of
the Boston Harbor clean up.
Public Housing View
At 2:03pm, we arrived in Quincy, and the temperature had
risen to 86°F. We saw the pellet plant,
and the tale of the ‘Trail of Sewage’ started.
Having taken a tour of a sewage plant in the Midwest, it was interesting
to learn the similarities and differences (we use the swimming pools of waste
too, but don’t ship our waste to an island; also, we don’t dump the clean water
into the ocean). By 2:10pm we left
Quincy, and headed to Logan Airport.
Along the way we learned not to drink the harbor water, more about the
Big Dig and Rachel Carson, and the overwhelming positive economic benefits of
cleaning up the harbor (in addition to the obvious positive environmental
Docked at Quincy
On our way to the Logan Airport we went past our old dump
site (now the beautiful beaches of Spectacle Island) and then arrived at the
Logan drop off. Continuing on our
journey, we arrived back at the harbor at 2:50pm. It was a beautiful day on the water, and I’m
looking forward to seeing more tomorrow!