Wednesday 4 July: Boston on Independence day.
4am alarm. OMG what are we doing? We must be nuts. One day we might just slow down!
By 4:15 we are heading out of Scituate Harbour while Oana makes tea. The dawn is only just here so Glen navigates the fishing buoys from the bow, iPAD and handheld autohelm in hand! Brrr it’s chilly up there.
As we motor along the coast dodging floats, a big red sun comes up and reflects its light off the tower blocks in Boston on the horizon and the silky calm water. It’s going to be another hot day, we’ll likely melt again!
As we enter the greater Boston Harbour, we spot the Hugo Boss boat motoring out. It shows “HB Solo” on AIS. It’s the second time we come across the Hugo Boss since we are on Cloudy Bay. Last time was in Lanzarote. What a machine. We are tempted to call on the radio but we guess if Alex is actually on board, he must get calls all the time. So we leave him, or whoever the bare-top solo sailor is, in peace.
We chose to anchor in the south of Boston in Dorchester Bay. It’s the closest we can anchor to Boston it seems. It is very shallow and we circle it a bit to choose a spot deep enough. At low tide we will only have inches below the keel. Once anchored, we realize we are right under the Boston Logan airport flight path, as a plane flies above our mast every minute as it comes into land.
No time to faff around if we want to make it for the 4-July parade, so it’s straight on to lower the dinghy in the water and get the outboard on. We haven’t used it for more than two weeks now, but today we will certainly catch up, it’s 3nm to dinghy to the city.
The trip takes us up the main Boston Harbour passed the commercial dock, the cruise liners and Navy boats. We tie up in an empty Rowe’s Wharf. We thought it would be full of pleasure boats on 4-Jul. Maybe their extreme mooring pricing isn’t actually helping them do business. Certainly we could not afford the $400 price-tag per night. But they let us dock the dinghy for no charge!
We manage to make it on time for the Independence Day Flag Raising Ceremony, the Mayor’s speech and the start of the Parade. Oana imagines it would be a big military Parade with army forces, tanks and aircraft flyovers, like in Romania! It’s a little lower-key with marching bands and soldiers in period costume, with a group firing musket guns as they march. But it still makes Oana a little emotional. Of course, for Glen it’s a more serious affair. He is still furious England gave away this colony so easily 242 years ago! (Haha). The parade ends at the Old State House where the original statement of independence is read from the same balcony where it was declared in 1776. A very nice ceremony, watched by a few thousand flag waving colonists 🙂
Next stop, much needed coffee, then the visitors center at the Quincy Market which is completely mobbed with people from the cruise liner. We get our maps and bearings and decide to do a trolly tour tomorrow when hopefully it will be less busy. Today we will just walk the streets. The temperature is less than we thought. Hot, but not unbareable.
First we walk Atlantic Drive that goes around what would have been the old harbour front, now all luxury apartments built on stilts out into the water. The harbour water itself is busy. In the distance we note a lot of boats plus fire boats firing their water cannons high in the air. What is going on? With zoomed in camera we see there is a tall ship in the middle, so we stay and watch as the parade of boats and the tall ship approaches.
It is infact the USS Constitution or “old iron sides” as the English called her. She is a 3 master square rigged frigate, built in 1797 and the oldest naval vessel still in commission (60 crew). As she passes it’s quite a spectacle. She is flying a huge American flag, the original flag with just a few stars in the corner, from when there were far fewer states in this fledgling country. We jump in shock when she starts firing her cannons. What a noise! Those sea battles must have been very loud.
Next we go in search of the best spot to watch the fire works this evening. The route takes us under some bridges next to the river and some pretty dodgy territory! Oana is not best amused by this part of Glen’s town navigation! As we approach the fireworks area, police are already blocking roads and access so we give up and go in search of lunch.
We end up at “Cheers”, the pub that inspired the famous Cheers TV series. And we have a delicious lunch in the very bar where it was also the film set, at the Hampshire House on Beacon Hill. Very nice.
After lunch we walk in the Public Garden. Probably the most pretty park we have ever been in. Lots of ponds, shady trees and gardens. We settle on the grass next to an amazing Saxaphone quartet, with soprano, alto, tenor and bass saxes. They are brilliant and we watch them while we relax for over an hour. There are lots of people in the park but we note the very calm relaxed atmosphere. No one is shouting, no children crying, no bike or skateboards dashing around. So nice. Americans really do know how to be respectful, in all ways.
With 4 hours to kill before the fireworks we continue to wander the parks and streets which are getting increasingly busy. The town really does have a nice feel. 2 hours to go we head towards the esplanade and find ourselves a spot right in front of the fireworks barge. Perfect. People are already on blankets next to the river but we have a spot where we can clearly see everything. Good timing because soon people are 10 deep behind us. The 2 hours go quickly as we watch the sunset and beautiful dusk sky colours over the MIT campus across the river.
The fireworks have a big start, but then, after just a minute, there is an abrupt stop. Clearly not in the program! Oops. But after 5mins it starts again, firing from both the barges and all across the nearby bridge. It’s a 25 min display which ends in a grande finale. Wonderful end to a great day.
Of course there are crowds of people leaving but it’s all very congenial and we are back at the dinghy after a 30 min walk. Always good to see it still where we left it! The 3nm ride back, in the dark, with no torch (oops) seems much longer than it was coming. Again, we are glad to find Cloudy Bay just where we left her after our 17 hours away.
Back in the cabin we are totally pooped! We had walked over 20kms today (according to phone app) and we feel it! The airport is thankfully shut down now (12:30am), but we would certainly sleep easily even with the planes flying over.
Wednesday 4 July: Boston on Independence day.