Into The Harbor on a Wildlife Cruise

The cruise was a “sell out”. Many of the people I spoke with had been on the cruise in previous years. They only run it one day a year and they go out rain or shine or snow.  There were National Park Rangers,  Aquarium naturalists, DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) employees and volunteers  to answer questions. The boat was well stocked with food and beverages in the snack bar. two decks were heated if the outdoor space got too cold. They really went all out to make  it a special day.

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At 10:35 the loading began and by 11 am we were all ready to head out to the harbor.

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Our first destination was Logan Airport. Logan Airport is home to some migratory snowy owls. Because of the damage they can do to a jet, the Audubon Society has a trap and release program. Snowys are trapped at Logan and released elsewhere, often at Duxbury beach.

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I was on the 2nd deck when the cry went up that a snowy owl had been spotted. Unfortunately it was too far away. I couldn’t see it with my 300 mm lens. A photographer standing next to me with a gigantic lens on his camera said he couldn’t see it either. It looked like a snow pile or a white plastic jug, just a spot against the dark gravel.

That pretty much set the tone for the trip. It would have been more accurate to call it a bird watching cruise. We saw lots of birds but they were mostly fast and small. I soon got tired of trying to photograph them and settled for just watching them.

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The only “wildlife” we saw were some seals hauled out on the rocks. Since it was low tide they were a good distance away from us and the sun was at the wrong angle to see much. It was more the silhouette of their “banana pose” that gave them away.

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It had warmed up a great deal and the sun going in and out behind the clouds. The harbor was amazingly calm for a winter day. We cruised past Boston Light into the outer harbor.

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One of the volunteers explained that they almost never get to go into the outer harbor in winter. It’s just too rough but we made it all the way out to Graves Light and even there the waves were only gentle, rolling swells.

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Graves was the end of the trip. We did our turn around right in front of the light house. The return trip was leisurely as we passed the various harbor Islands, Georges Island with it’s fort, Peddocks Island with it’s 4 headlands to name only 2.

Georges Island, Boston Harbor

Georges Island, Boston Harbor

Peddocks Island

Peddocks Island

 

It turned out to be a beautiful day for a boat ride. I may not have seen much Wildlife but I had fun all the same. I’ll watch for this next year. I wouldn’t mind a repeat.

Riverboat Ride on The San Antonio

With an eye to the sky our guide made an executive decision. She swapped the Buckhorn Saloon and the Riverboat Ride. We could see the dark clouds heading our way on the horizon. Although it was still sunny and only partly cloudy  so no one complained of the change in itinerary.

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We followed our guide down the stone stairs from street level to the tropical gardens and cafes to the boat landing for the start of the Riverboat ride down the San Antonio.

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As with all such excursions our riverboat captain had an entertaining and informative banter to help us pass the time.

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Our Riverboat ride was about 35 minutes long and fully narrated. According to the guide we covered about 1.5 miles of the San Antonio River.

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Along the banks is the River Walk, a public park that is open 365 day a year. Our hotel was located right on the River walk.

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We cruised past the restaurant where we had dinner the night before.

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Adorning the Lila Cockrell Theater at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center is a stunning mosaic mural by Mexican artist Juan O’Gorman.

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Entitled “Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas”, it was created as part of the 1968 HemisFair World’s Fair. The mural is visible from the Riverwalk as well as the convention center.

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San Antonio’s version of the Space Needle is the Tower of The Americas. Topped by a fine dining restaurant and observation towers, it would be a great place to visit if the weather holds out.

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The green roofed building we spotted is the Bexar County courthouse.

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The building was designed by architect J. Riely Gordon, and borders Main Plaza, along with such other architectural landmarks as the Cathedral of San Fernando. The style is Romanesque Revival, and the main material used is red sandstone. Ground was broken for Gordon’s structure on August 4, 1891, and the cornerstone was laid December 17, 1892. After several delays, construction was fully completed in 1896. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

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Other buildings were crowned with gargoyles and many sky scrapers peered down on us as we passed in the shadows of these man made canyons.

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This riverboat ride was really enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

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A Little River Cruise

I had to get out. Summer is almost over and I’ve done NOTHING! I know you’ve heard it all before but I really had to try to get out so I bought a ticket on the River Quest Lighthouse Cruise. River Quest runs cruises on the lower end of the Connecticut River. I’ve been on a couple of their Eagle Cruises.

It takes about 2 hours to get there but the cruises are always fun. relaxing and educational. The lighthouse cruise is only done once a year and it’s the only cruise that leaves the Connecticut River and ventures into the Long Island Sound.

So here are a few images from my day:

Good morning! alarm

2 hours later there’s the Goodspeed Opera House!

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A Eagle!

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Look what happens when you do not get the proper permits!

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Bass Fishing

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My spare car is a Helicopter…how’d you like to commute with that?

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Osprey

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and more Osprey

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One More Osprey

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Oh those poor people who live along the river. (They are all either attorneys or car salesmen)

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The rest of the poor people have boats.

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I 95 just ahead.

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Under  I 95.

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Let’s go to the town dock for a little fishing.

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There’s the Acela train!

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This little lighthouse is actually a room for rent.

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There’s the first lighthouse.

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Lighthouse one and two.

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The breakwater lighthouse.

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Now that’s what I call “Gone Fishing”

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St. John’s Boys School for troubled youths.

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Gillette Castle

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Jet Skis on the river

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Wave to the Becky Thatcher!

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Heading back to the dock.

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We’re back in Eagle Park. Time for lunch.

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Photo of the week ~ 25

This week’s Photo of the week had a real nautical theme. That crazy Humpback , Hancock had 3 photos in the running and his antics carried the day. Weighing in with a total of 25 points Tail Waving is the photo of the day.

Tail Waving

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To order prints click here:  http://dustyroadsphotos.zenfolio.com/p161572686/h3a02eec4#h3a02eec4

Don’t forget to visit my companion photo blog to have your vote counted. www.dustyroadsphotos.com

See you there!

A Whale of a Day

Monday past was a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cold and not humid. The weather forecast for Tuesday was more “iffy” so I made the always difficult decision to go to Boston on Monday.

Boston is a great city. I used to love going in to spend the day. That was before the “Big Dig”. No matter where you live you’ve probably heard a lot about Boston’s Big Dig. It was supposed to make travel into Boston easier and quicker. After years of traffic delays while they worked on it, it is now finished and traffic is worse! The expressway never clears out. 1 1/2 hour drive before is now 3 hours. The MBTA is crowded and hot. Not a pleasant experience and not much faster.

After much deliberation I prepared to drive into Boston and pay the exorbitant parking fees ($40-$50 for the day depending on which garage wasn’t full) but as I neared RT 128 I turned on the WBZ traffic on the 3’s and learned that even at 10:30 am the expressway was still tied up. The residual backup was all the way back onto RT 128. So change of plans, I went to Quincy Adams station on the Redline and took the “T” in.

To get to my destination, Aquarium station, I rode the Red line to Park St. where I changed to the green line to get to Government Center Station where I changed to the Blue Line to get to the Aquarium stop. Arrival time…1pm. 2 hours from parking at 11am to arrival at 1pm.

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I had a combo ticket for a whale watch at 2pm and admission to the aquarium. I had to dash into the Aquarium where I had 1/2 hour before boarding.

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I grabbed a hot dog as I ran out the doors to get in line to board the catamaran.

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That was an expensive 30 minute visit to the Aquarium. I won’t do that again.

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They crammed a lot of people onto the boat. There was minimal seating outside. Most seating was inside so everyone tended to line the railings. A family with  very active children offered me a seat. The mother said “you might as well take it, they will never sit still.” That gives you some idea of the atmosphere. 🙂

As we left Boston Harbor we passed Boston Light, with a glimpse of Graves Light beyond it.

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Then came Minot Ledge light.

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We also saw the Nantucket Light Ship.

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We were on our way to Stellwagon bank, an underwater ledge that is a prime feeding ground for humpback whales. The southern end of the banks is near Provincetown on Cape Cod. That was where we went with Captain John’s Whale Watch and saw the fin backs.

I’m hoping since the New England Aquarium Whale Watch stresses the humpback whales  that we’ll actually see some this time. If we do, I wonder if I’ll get close enough to the rail to get any pictures. In the meantime I will enjoy the boat ride.