Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Day in Mt. Hope Bay

Yesterday I was able to enjoy a weekday free from work and elected to spend it paddling the upper waters of Narragansett Bay.  By upper waters I'm referring to Mount Hope Bay (the ancestral waters of the Pokanoket tribe of Wampanoag people).
I had visited this area once before, back in November of 2008, and noticed many changes have occurred since then.  The Mount Hope Fishing Area boat launch in Bristol, RI has seen substantial improvement with a concrete ramp and re-worked parking areas.  Other noticeable changes, since my last visit, were the large cooling towers at the Brayton Point Power Generating Station in Somerset, MA across the bay...
 At first I thought "They've converted to nuclear " but upon further investigation found that these cooling towers were built to lessen the thermal impact the generating station was having on the waters of Mt. Hope Bay.  According to the Dominion Website the station, using a combination of low-sulfur coal, gas or oil, and diesel generators can produce up to 1,537 megawatts of electricity (enough for 1.5 million homes).
As I was launching my boat I noticed folks in business attire arriving, and a podium being placed near the top of the boat ramp.  Later I would discover that a press conference was held there and that various Rhode Island environmental groups expressed concern as to the facility's carbon usage.

I headed down the bay's west side towards Mount Hope Point and stopped en route on a cobbled beach where most of the day's trash was gathered up...
Since it is said that Montaup (aka Mount Hope) was a favorite spot of Ousamequin (aka Massasoit), it's quite likely that he once walked this very shoreline on a long ago day such as this one.

This was the trash found in my walking about 50 yards of shoreline there...
Looks like the area was recently visited by a person with 2 left feet.

After rounding the point I visited Church Cove and found preparations underway for a soiree...
The song "Benny and the Jets" drifted out from the tent as workers set up tables and chairs.....sure hope that wasn't going to be part of the event's soundtrack.  It inspired me to paddle across the bay to the northern tip of Aquidneck Island at Common Fence Point and, in doing so, came upon a channel junction marker producing an almost musical chime effect much more to my liking...
Looking back, behind the marker, the approximately 200 foot high Mount Hope can be seen. 

After I crossed the channel towards the Tiverton, RI shore, this good-sized boat rounded Common Fence Point en route towards Bristol Ferry...

Conditions on this day could not have been better.  Clear skies, rapidly warming temperatures, a nice breeze, and a high tide.

Reaching the Tiverton shore near the base of Pocasset Hill I followed the coast in a NE direction and soon reached Fall River, MA where some Tug boats had congregated...

The Borden Flats Lighthouse welcomed me into the Taunton River...
Looming above the small lighthouse is the Charles M. Braga Junior Memorial Bridge and after passing under that bridge I came upon one of the day's objectives: BB-59 or the USS Massachusetts...
This battleship with 16-inch guns was built in Quincy, MA and served the United States in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during World War II.

I recreated the "Run Silent, Run Deep" submarine versus battleship view...
I can hear Clark Gable ordering "Dive", "Dive", "Dive".  Fortunate for me the Massachusetts isn't able to move being permanently anchored here at Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA.

Next I crossed to the Taunton River's north side and re-entered the bay near Brayton Point paddling northwesterly alongside the generating station and across the tips of Sewammock Neck and Gardners Neck before re-entering Rhode Island at Touisset.  Here the waters of Kickamuit River were still draining out through the Bristol Narrows and made the paddle upriver a little challenging.  Lunch was taken in Chase Cove where I watched quahogs being harvested...
Finishing lunch near low tide I drifted back down through the Narrows and noticed many other folks also engaged in gathering the Rhode Island bivalve delicacy.

The view towards the bay from the Narrows...
My counter-clockwise journey around Mount Hope Bay came to an end back where I'd launched, and my trip odometer showed 15 miles had been covered in all.  Don't know if I've ever paddled a more pleasant 15 miles.

3 comments:

PenobscotPaddles said...

Beautiful shots! I've been to Battleship Cove, but never on those waters. Just lovely!

Suasco Al said...

Thanks PenobscotPaddles, I really lucked out to be there on such a perfect day.

Anonymous said...

Great shots. I drove over that bridge for five years. It's nice to see the area from water level.