Saturday, August 6, 2011

Unwinding in Salem Harbor/Salem Sound

Yesterday morning, after working another graveyard shift, I again faced the choice of rush hour traffic on Route 128 (aka "The Banzai Pipeline") or a detour to Winter Island Park in Salem.  It was an easy choice and soon I was afloat on the calm waters of Salem Harbor.  Since I'd never paddled into the inner harbor I decided to check it out.  The picture at left shows the area of Pickering Wharf and there appears to be a 3-masted schooner in the distance.  This area is also where the Salem Ferry operates from as it makes scheduled journeys to Boston and back.  Following the shore further to the south took me past these modular units...

Still further south was Forest River Park...

As the tide was falling away, I decided not to enter the river and instead turned towards the Marblehead shore.  Doing so brought me by a floating platform occupied by more than a few terns...

Clouds were rapidly displacing the blue skies. 
I encountered a few pieces of trash while paddling parallel to the shore.  This little wandering wastewater wafer caught my eye as it floated along more than 50 miles from its intended home at the Hooksett, NH Wastewater Treatment Facility...

 Its 5 month long journey came to an end in my dry bag.  If I had my harmonica with me a redition of "The Wild Rover" would have been in order.

At Peachs Point I turned to the north and paddled over to little Coney Island and landed for a short snack break...

The thought of a short nap crossed my mind, but the resident seagulls suggested I not get too comfortable on their turf.  After re-launching I was heading back towards the giant smokestacks of the electricity generating station.  With low clouds now providing a backdrop, the usually non-discernible stack emissions were revealed...

This closed the loop, so to speak, as the first thing I had seen today was the large coal pile for this facility...

To satisfy our appetite for electricity, that coal is burned in the process.  For me, it brings home the need to use as little electricity as possible until cleaner and renewable alternatives become available.

Back at Winter Island, my small trash haul of 16 pieces prepared for a post rush hour journey home...

There were 5 recyclable containers (2 redeemable) and 11 pieces of miscellaneous plastic trash.  My YTD total stands at 4121.

As I write this today, my week long stint on the graveyard shift has come to an end and I can slowly return to my usual schedule.  It does leave me wondering how long term graveyard shift workers deal with weekends.  Do they remain on their nocturnal schedule? or try to transition out and then back again?

2 comments:

Ellen said...

You were visiting my stomping grounds! The schooner you saw is the Friendship, which is a re-creation of a sailing ship from...I'm not sure how long ago. And our coal-powered power plant is closing soon --big news here in Salem!

Suasco Al said...

Ellen, Thanks for identifying the schooner. The waters around Salem make for some scenic paddling and Winter Island Park provides ideal access.

When the coal plant ceases operations, it will be interesting to see what happens on that location.

I hope to return on a rising tide and explore more of the Forest River.