Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hingham Harbor to Spectacle Island



Had a real hankerin' for some salt water boating today, and a visit to the Boston Harbor Islands provided just what the doctor ordered.  I drove to Hingham in the pre-dawn, under a nearly full moon.  The roads were eerily deserted, almost dreamlike.  I launched into Hingham Harbor in time to watch the sunrise over World's End...
Then after rounding Crow Point I began paddling to the NW against a building breeze from that same direction.  After a brief respite behind Peddock's Island I got my first good look at the Boston skyline (opening photo). 
Another respite was taken behind Long Island and while approaching the bridge connecting Moon and Long Islands, the Dorchester Gas Tank rainbow was seen from a different perspective...

Once under the bridge, my destination came into view and soon I was pulling up to the dock there...
Spectacle Island is one of Boston Harbor's best success stories.  It has gone from being, quite literally, a dump to being a beautiful and scenic island with boat slips, a visitor center, and well maintained hiking trails.   By virtue of my early arrival there were only two Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) staff members on the island and therefore I had things pretty much to myself for a good hour until the first ferry arrived.

Looking to the NE from the island's South Drumlin are the so called "Dinosaur Eggs" on nearby Deer Island...
They're actually sludge digesters at the Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant which is the facility most responsible for today's much cleaner Boston Harbor waters.

Looking to the NE is the city of Boston...

 This interesting structure provides overnight housing for DCR personnel...

Before Spectacle Island was used as a smallpox quarantine, location for gambling hotels, a horse rendering factory, a trash incinerator, and finally a landfill, it was used for hundreds of years by Native Americans for fishing and clamming.  One exhibit in the Visitor Center displayed spear and arrow points...

Another display explained how the island got its current name...

At 9:30 the first ferry arrived...
...which dramatically increased the island's population.  Shortly thereafter it was time for me to begin my journey back to Hingham...

Along the way I admired the cliffs at Prince Head...
...and further on landed at Grape Island's NE shore to stretch my legs a bit.  This American oystercatcher was doing the same...
 
 
Most of today's trash haul consisted of flotsam found near where I landed on Grape...
 
 
 
Plastic bottles, plastic bags, some Styrofoam, and a Mylar balloon.  YTD = 2929



6 comments:

Karen said...

Your posts are always so interesting and informative. I paddle the same metrowest rivers as you do. I would love to get into the salt water sometime. Thanks and keep paddling and posting!

Suasco Al said...

Thanks Karen, The protected waters of Hingham Harbor provide an ideal spot for anyone wishing to try some saltwater paddling.

Karen said...

I have an Old Town Dirigo 106. Wouldn't I need a sea kayak or at least something longer? Someone recently recommended I try the Newburyport area.

Suasco Al said...

Karen, Yes, a sea kayak would be best for anything beyond a sheltered cove.
There are several companies offering guided saltwater kayaking experiences in rental boats.

Erik Eckilson said...

Wow - great trip and great pictures - as always.

Mark Mayall said...

I visited Spectacle Island two weeks ago, they had a 5k running race there as a fundraiser. The entry fee included a ferry ride. I was shocked at how idyllic the island is with the vegetation having taken hold. For a relatively small island there's some very nice and mellow hiking trails. The view of planes landing from the north drumlin is fantastic. While looking for beach glass I came across the jawbone of a horse which has to be at least a century old as the rendering plant closed in 1910.