Two of us paddled out from Wollaston Beach to Spectacle Island to view the Tall Ships parade on June 17, 2017. We arrived at 6:00am and were on the water by 6:30. The conditions were very calm, but the fog was very thick. We could not see Squantum from our launch spot near Tony's Clam Shop. I was glad that I was paddling a familiar area considering how thick the fog was. We headed out towards the moored boats knowing that we were headed in the right general direction to get to the coast of Squantum and then could head along the shore to Moon Island. Crossing to Long Island close to the old bridge foundations, we got a nice gap in boat traffic that was coming from Weymouth and Hingham. From Long Island, we could barley see the outline of Spectacle Island in the fog. Not much traffic was turning into the channel between Long and Spectacle, so the crossing was easy. We passed in front of the Visitors Center just before the first commuter boat arrived. Spectacle apparently is not open for scheduled tour boats yet due to ongoing work, but there were about 3 special tour boats full of passengers that were dropped off from Hingham. They had paid about $75 and were provided breakfast and lunch at the visitors center. There were police details on bikes riding around the island and a few big golf carts ferrying people around. It seemed we were the only people that arrived to the island in our own boats. When we heard the parade start was to be delayed by an hour, we went for a walk to use the rest rooms and ended up scoffing up a free cup of coffee, acting as if we had arrived on one of the tour boats.
My plan for the day was to try to beat some of the boat traffic on the way home by leaving at 2:00pm which was an hour before the scheduled end of the parade. We stuck to the plan and only missed some Navy ships that ended the show. The water was quite choppy getting from Spectacle to Long Island and then the crossing at the former bridge was quite difficult, but we sort of made our own opening in the traffic and found some power boats that gave way for us to cross. Luckily, most of the traffic still sticks to passing through the old bridge foundations at the main channel where they left taller foundation piers to make it easier to identify. Once we got back into Quincy Bay, the paddling was very easy and there was no boat traffic heading in our direction, so we were able to head right across to our take-out spot.
Thank you to my new paddling friend Romaine for accompanying me on this trip. She was a real trooper, trusting my judgement and dealing with choppy boat traffic conditions beyond her comfort zone. We had a wonderful day.
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