Sunday, January 16, 2011

Boston Harbor Cruise

I went on the Boston Harbor Cruises boat for a 4+ hour survey of Boston Harbor, looking for birds, mammals, scenery and a day out on the water. The weather at times was amazingly cold and windblown; there were plenty of occasions to enjoy the views and the wildlife under delightful, almost balmy conditions. The staff of National Park Service and Department of Conservation and Recreation planned this trip. I went on this trip last year.

Tugboat in the harbor
Lightship Nantucket

Plane leaving Logan Airport

Boston Harbor and its wildlife remain a mystery to many people who have lived here for long stretches of their adult lives and these cruises are an excellent introduction to this outstanding resource.

Boston Harbor Islands is a national park area which is run by a partnership with the National Park Service, Massachusetts Dept. of conservation, recreation Boston Harbor Islands advisory Council, Massachusetts Port Authority, the trustees of reservations, United States Coast Guard and a number of other organizations.
Paddocks Island
Fort Andrew on Paddocks Island
There are 34 islands in the national Park, six of which are open to the public seasonally and you can visit by a commercial ferry. Boston Lght on Little Brewster does have Ranger-led tours from late June to October. Boston Light is the oldest lighthouse in the United States. The one in the picture is not the original, the first was destroyed by the colonists to keep it out of the hands of the British, who rebuilt it and then destroyed it, when they were driven out of Boston. It also has the distinction of being the only manned lighthouse in the United States. It is run by the US Coast Guard.

Boston Light

The outermost island is known as the Graves and is bedrock outcropping. It contains the tallest of the three lighthouses in Boston Harbor, and continues as a navigation aid, although it is automated. It was est. in 1905 and was built out of granite.

Graves Light

We saw 34 different species of birds on our trip, along with harbor seals.

Flock of Common Eiders
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Copmmon Eiders
Common Loon
The hardest part of the trip was keeping the hands warm. Thank goodness for heated cabins. There was also delicious clam chowder and chili available at a very reasonable price. In all it was a very enjoyable trip, and I do recommend to everyone at the end of February. There is a trip out to George's Island which is a fun day for everybody. It will include a tour of Fort Warren, which is a Civil War Fort.