AT THE HELM
This past fall marked a major turning point for Save The
Bay. With the christening of our new education vessel, the Elizabeth Morris, we began the anticipated task of expanding our programming into new locations. The size, speed, and seaworthiness of the Elizabeth
Morris opened up an array of new opportunities for our education programs. At the top of our
list for new programs was the area surrounding Little
Narragansett Bay, predominantly Westerly.
Our South County Coastkeeper, David Prescott, has enjoyed a presence here for the past five years, working closely with the community. Unfortunately, we did not have the fleet capacity to bring an education programming to the waterways in Westerly. After years of planning, it was exciting to finally offer our first public and school boat trips out of Westerly this fall.
|M/V Elizabeth Morris |
on her maiden voyage
|Captain Kati Maginel|
Within minutes, any anxiousness I had about the public's reception had vanished. While our friends from the Stonington Historical Society narrated the trip, I saw that our guests were engaged and fascinated with the history of the area and its surroundings. The next 30 minutes passed quickly as we navigated the shallow, winding river, finding ourselves at the mouth of the river, with seals swimming and resting within easy viewing distance. Our passengers busily snapped photos of the seals. It proved what Kati and I had expected: the natural beauty of this area is something that everyone can enjoy.
Over the next two months Kati and I continued to run our nature cruises on the weekends, and their popularity began to increase word spread. Through our conversations with our tour guests we quickly began to realize that many were locals who also took pride in Little Narragansett Bay, and they were excited to have the opportunity to learn more about it.
|Elizabeth Morris (l) and Alletta Morris (r)|
at the dock at Fields Point
As December came to an end, and what was already proving to be a brutal winter was setting into place, it was time to leave the river and head back to Newport before the ice set in. It was bittersweet to leave Little Narragansett Bay. We were excited for a successful inaugural season, but sad about leaving an area we had quickly become attached to.
Last week, when Kati and I made the three-hour cruise from Newport to Westerly, we found ourselves full of the same nervous excitement again. As we cruised down the river on our first public cruise of 2014, the sun was out and the seals were once again swimming in the Bay and resting on the rocks. With the ice cleared from the river and spring on the horizon, it was good to be home.