Boston is hot hot hot...

Ananda's blog
Keith and Stella Myerson
Mon 25 Jul 2011 11:50

42:21.53N 71:02.73W

“Dad – are you in Boston?”

Peter sounded puzzled on the phone, not expecting us to be in this part of the world.  But I was even more puzzled.  It was only a couple of hours earlier that we had dropped anchor off Boston’s historic waterfront.  How had he known we were here?


Boston no 2 buoy




The voyage down from Maine had been a pleasant one.   A calm Atlantic Ocean was most welcome, even if we had to motor through much of the night with only fickle breezes to assist us.  But the night was warm, with the moon arising in a magnificent clear starlit sky at 10pm as a bonus.  We motored up the long entrance into Boston in daylight, watching the planes come in low beneath the building line to land at Logan airport in the heart of the city.


The US Coastguard’s tall ship, the USS Eagle, is escorted into Boston. 







It was when we were safely installed at the anchorage and busy with the inevitable tidying and sorting that comes after any sea passage that we were surprised by Peter’s call.  So how had he known?


It turns out that he had just installed a new ‘app’ in his mobile phone for a website that tracks ships using AIS (an automatic position reporting system using VHF radio).

And, unbeknown to us, someone on a passing vessel had taken two photos of us as we motored into Boston that day and posted them on the website!


Ananda entering Boston Harbour:  photo courtesy of M Buckley,



Boston is an impressive city.  Young and vibrant, it has some splendid public buildings that, being anchored so centrally, we were able to visit on foot.  The Public Library was particularly grand.  Built in 1895 to a classical design, it has fine architecture with sweeping marble staircases, statues and fine oil paintings depicting art, science, the legend of King Arthur and statesmanship.


In the McKim Building of Boston Public Library, the reading room seems to stretch on and on…



Whilst walking through the bustling streets we came across a moving memorial to the Holocaust, with quotations and the names of victims engraved on the glass towers.



Our anchorage close to the waterfront, with regular tour boats squeezing past only a few feet away, was too good to last.  After a couple of days, the police boat came and moved us on to a big ship anchorage across the river.  Being stuck so far out into the river, with ships passing by on either side, felt most precarious - rather like being anchored in the middle of the M6 motorway.  Even though we lit the boat brightly and used extra torches at night, we still did not sleep soundly.

The highlight came the following day.  It was hot, sunny and sultry.  Boston had just recorded its hottest day for 60 years – 103 degrees - yet suddenly it appeared to have started to rain heavily.  Water poured everywhere - off the cabin roof, off the cockpit coamings and in through the open portlights in the heads.  But where was it from?

A hoot of a horn came from astern, and there stood the answer - a coastguard fire tugboat with fire cannon pumps going full blast!  It was heralding the arrival in port of the oldest coastguard sailing vessel in the country, the USS Eagle.  A picture of this event even made the Boston Globe, complete with beautiful rainbow arising from the pumped spray.

Given their history -the English were rather less welcome in Boston a couple of hundred years ago - I’m sure the Yanks would have been delighted with a small secondary effect of this coastguard visit: dousing some Brits with a good dose of dirty seawater and salt!


Shower time for the Brits, courtesy of the US Coastguard





A short Metro ride from Boston takes you to Harvard University.  It gets its name from an English cleric, a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1632, who emigrated to America and left half of his considerable estate to Massachussetts Bay Colony’s fledgeling New College.  The university buildings, although quite old, are less impressive than those at Oxford and Cambridge.  But they are genuine, styled in the fashion of the age when they were built rather than reproductions suggesting another era.  The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library is pretty impressive.  Sadly Harry was lost in the Titanic disaster.


John Harvard – the first benefactor of the university.  The statue is not a true likeness, as no-one knows what he actually looked like. Students rub his shoe before exams for good luck…





Other high points included a visit to the Science Museum and the grand Museum of Fine Art housed in an amazing building.  There was even a French Film Festival in the gallery.  I watched a modern version of the Sleeping Beauty, complete with an introduction by a French Professor, whilst Stellie wondered around the galleries feasting on the Monet’s, Picasso’s and Sargent’s.   


The Boston Museum of Fine Art





... and a lovely exhibition of beautiful glass art by the American artist Dale Chihuly.



Soon it’s time to leave, as we have a date to keep at New England Boatworks – time to slip the boat and catch up with maintenance work.  So it’s an early start as we head south, timing our departure to arrive at the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal at slack water in time for an evening transit.  All is peaceful and, with only light winds, we avoid the big seas that can arise with wind blowing against tide at the entrance to Buzzard’s Bay.

After a night anchored in Mattapoissett harbour we continue the next day down Buzzard’s Bay towards Ram’s Head and on up to Newport, now so familiar to us that it feels like a second home.  Good to be back….