Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day on the Bay: Working on the Boat and Reflections on the Chesapeake

SailboatsSailboats at Harbor. Image by eflon via Flickr
On Memorial Day, we went down to my sailboat and did some work on it.  I noticed that I could go up and down the ladder without feeling unsteady.   Also, I didn't get scared of heights as I was leaning over the boat sanding the trim.  So, all this balance work is paying off.  Also, it has been easier to control the sander.  So the motor skills and hand-eye coordination is better. You know, there is nothing better than puttering around on a boat.  Somehow, doing the same chores on a boat that you do for a house is never quite as onerous. 

We had a pleasant Memorial Day.  It was as hot-- 90 degrees, so we did spend a good amount of the middle of the day just lumping about on the lawn of the yard watching the boats sail in and out of the harbor.

The Chesapeake Bay estuary is in recovery.  Slowly, the health of the Bay is coming back.  The Bay is actually fed by many rivers coming from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York.  All along these rivers, development and farm have been leaching nitrogen and phosphorous into the bay.   Researchers have found high concentrations of heavy metals such as  zinc, lead, copper, cadmium and arsenic flowing into the bay from the Virginia rivers as Wicomico and Pocomoke  Rivers.  Both rivers have sewage treatment plants and the Pocomoke River has a poultry plant.

Boaters are also a bit culpable by using copper based anti-fouling paints to stop barnacles from growing on the hulls of the boats.  There's a lot of toxic chemicals used to clean boats and to remove corrosion.  There's not a lot of information out there using green products.  You can't always use household products in a marine environment.  Marine environments are much harsher so ordinary house paints don't hold up.  Mold and bacteria accumulate faster so you need a good cleanser to remove them.  Rust accumulates so you need a good anti-corrosive. Etc. etc. etc.

The fish are problematic as well.  They advise pregnant women not to eat the rockfish from the Chesapeake and for the rest of us to eat it only once a month.   We've lost a lot of our fish due to the pollution so it is not uncommon for restaurants to use imported Asian crabs and oysters.

Both Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have houses near St. Michaels on the Chesapeake.  You would think that they would have taken an interest in keeping the bay clean.   Many years ago, you could put your feet in the bay and see your toes.  Not now.

All this pollution can not bode well for developmentally challenged raised on the Chesapeake or its tributaries.   

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