|Ready to head out kayaking with Kat and Brianna
|Captain Charlie showing the kids a real lobster
One of the things I talked to the kids about between bouts of fishing was the history of some of the islands that we went by. One of the most interesting island stories I know (and one everyone should know if they live in the Boston area) is the history of Spectacle Island. Spectacle Island used to be a trash dump for Boston and Quincy, and as the trash piled up and the wind blew some of the trash off the island, the water got dirtier and dirtier. Combined with the sewage pumped into the harbor by Boston and 40 surrounding communities, the harbor was an absolute mess. Story has it that there was so much trash in the water that you could walk across the harbor without getting your feet wet. If you fell into the harbor, you would need a tetnis shot (that one, sadly, is true). Reportedly, when a worker drove a bulldozer through the trash trying to knock down some of the larger piles, it started sinking into the trash. Rescue teams saved the worker, but the bulldozer was left to rust, lost to the trash heaps forever.
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority was established in 1985, and a court-order cleanup of Boston Harbor began. The two most impactful changes made to the harbor were where trash is dumped and where sewage waste is pumped. Sewage, instead of being pumped straight into the harbor, is now sent to two different places. Liquid waste goes to a processing plant on Deer Island, which cleans the water to the point that it is reportedly drinkable (if you want to try that, be my guest). Solid waste goes to a processing plant in Quincy, shaped into pellets, and sent down to Florida to (among other things) grow oranges. As for the trash, Spectacle Island was lit on fire for 10 years, after which excess dirt from the Big Dig was used to resurface the island. Now, after 300 trees were planted, and the island is protected as a national park, Spectacle Island has become a beautiful park open to the public, with water clean enough to swim in.
Song of the week: Season 2 Episode 3 by Glass Animals
Until next time,