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 aspects!)
 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!
Spectacle Island Beaches


No comments: