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Charles River to Boston Harbor 4/19

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It was an ideal day for cold water paddling - temperatures in the 50s and a light wind. 10 paddlers left Magazine beach and crossed the river in between the small number of crew boats that were racing that morning. This was my first urban paddle, and I was looking forward to seeing Boston and Cambridge from a different perspective than I had when living there many years ago.

We paddled at a leisurely pace down the south side of the river and into the Esplanade. Since this has been a cold spring, the trees and shrubs were largely dormant. The people weren't. The trails were busy with walkers, bikers, and skaters. Since we were the only people in the water we attracted a fair amount of attention, and camera shutters.

When we reached the sailing pavillion we turned out of the lagoon, carefully avoiding the few intrepid sailboats on the river. At Richard's urging, we paddled directly for the closer of the two large towers on the Longfellow Bridge. It turns out there are elaborate castings of colonial harbor scenes and a couple of enormous fish on the towers such that they can only be seen from the water.

After pausing to admire the towers we headed directly for the old lock/canal. There was no boat traffic, but we still paddled through single file and hung close to the wall. After grouping up again after the locks, we took my first tour of the big dig from the water. The Bunker Hill/Zakim bridge has nice lines from underneath.

Since there was still no boat traffic, we had to wait less than a minute for a lock to open. As we entered, I noticed that people were watching from above. I never knew there were pedestrian walkways across the locks. I will have to walk them myself one day.

It turns out the tide was nearly equal with the level of the Charles, and the front of the lock opened only moments after I grabbed hold of one the cleats on the side. Richard assured us that it would be more interesting on the way back. We entered Boston Harbor and regrouped again.

Our paddle to the Barking Crab was somewhat uneventful. I was surprised by how much of the architecture along Boston Harbor is attractive to view from the Harbor. I always assumed that would be the working side of the buidlings. We had some wind, which although predicted to be from the northeast, was blowing almost directly into our faces. It was just the right velocity to keep us cool, yet not hinder our progress much. We arrived at our destination with time to spare.

Lunch was pretty good, and the wood stove was even better. We didn't seem completely out of place in our wetsuits and drysuits. We were all a bit slow as we got up from the table. Power bars don't normally make one so sleepy.

After launching from the docks, we paddled further up the channel to see the boat on which the Boston Tea Party took place. At first we thought it was missing, but it had been moved farther up and into the middle of the channel. I also recognized the Children's Museum.

We didn't linger long and retraced our routes back to the locks. Along the way we got to hear a duck boat tour on our radios as the operator had accidentally left his radio transmitting on channel 16, twice.

The locks took all of 2 minutes on the second time through, but we could see the level changing this time. After the old locks, we took a right turn past the Museum of Science. There are some cast aluminum artworks on the side of the building that can only be seen from the water.

Then we headed into the canal by the Cambridge Side Galleria. There is a large fountain there which we played in for a while. The water shoots up about 30 feet before falling to the water (or our heads). It was quite a sensation.

It turned out that paddling in Boston has a lot more to offer than a different perspective.

Dee Hall

Impex Currituck, Blue over Ivory

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