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Gloucester Harbour, Sunday 4th April...


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Five went out; five came back...what we did in between "out" and "back" is classified -- suffice to say that gelcoat samples were left in fairly copious quantities on sundry rocks and hard places around the western side of the harbour.

There was enough swell to enhance the very high tide and to put some unusual crags and ledges within reach of the more carefree (I'm thinking of one particular paddler from the south shore whose notoriety for hard places is legion: this person was later observed practising the lotus position at least 18" above water level -- still in kayak!)

Lunch was consumed on an island in the rain and there was some play around Norman's Woe on the way back; but the swell subsided as the afternoon passed and we paddled home on flat water in the sun.

Some of the group adjourned to Woodman's for chowder...

Yellow Pintail

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I thought about posting this, from the Gloucester Daily Times, as a bit of a warning, but ...

Storm floods harbor with sewage

By Lisa Arsenault

Staff writer

Cape Ann spent much of yesterday bailing out from Thursday's record rainfall, a deluge that flooded basements, swamped low-lying roadways and forced tens of thousands of gallons of untreated sewage into Gloucester Harbor.

The rain began as a drizzle on Wednesday and escalated to a downpour over most of the day Thursday.

Manchester weather expert David Towle said he hasn't seen such a storm since 1996. In the past two days, Manchester received 6.74 inches of rain, he said.

Just over four inches of rain fell in Boston Thursday, doubling a 1962 record for the most rain in a day, according to the National Weather Service.

"Usually this is the kind of event we would have in a hurricane," Towle said. "(Thursday) afternoon alone, over 2 inches of rain fell between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m."

Local fire departments helped dozens of local residents pump out flooded basements Thursday night. Twenty-four hours later, the calls were still coming in.

Essex DPW director Damon Boutchie said the flooding wasn't as bad as it could have been, as crews had been working around town before the storm, cleaning up the storm drains and catch basins.

Towle said he didn't think Cape Ann would be in the clear again until the middle of next week. He said the clouds may break for a while today, but more rain is in store for Monday.

Gloucester Public Works Director Joseph Parisi called this week's rain "the 100-year storm" and predicted it would be days before the pipes could handle the runoff.

Many of the city's storm drains lead to the combined sewer system, whose overflow pipes were taxed to the limit yesterday. The storm drain water has to be processed at the treatment plant, but whatever the plant can't handle goes back into the pipe infrastructure and some of them lead directly into the ocean, taking raw sewage along with it.

The overflow pipes haven't been cleaned since the 1970s and can only carry about 70 percent of their original capacity. The city is about to embark on what will be a decade-long project to separate the storm drain and sewer pipes.

Parisi said it would be at least a day or two before everything was back to normal.


Hopefully it had cleared by Sunday, but if anyone got sick it would be hard to say if it was the fouled harbor water or Woodmans!!!!

When in Gloucester go to Amelia's, or the Causeway (next to the cinema on Rt. 133 heading out of town, or the Pilot House (walking distance from where you launched).

Woodmans. Good grief.

Liz N.

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