Fireworks from a kayaker’s perspective: a photo essay

Boston, like many big US cities, takes its July 4th fireworks seriously.  As a prelude to the spectacular show over the Charles River, there is a concert of the Boston Pops and selected pop and country stars of the moment, broadcast over loudspeakers and radio.  Hundreds of thousands of people attend the fireworks every year, so it’s pretty crowded.

Even on the water, dozens of boats large and small gather between the Longfellow and Harvard bridges to hang out, eat and drink, and view the fireworks from near the barge in charge of the show.

This year, some friends and I decided to join them.  But we didn’t have big boats– we paddled out in kayaks.  We, along with dozens of others, rented kayaks (which we booked months in advance) to paddle out into the river, in search of the perfect spot.

paddle

There were also people with their own boats there.  Some of them were experienced kayakers.

kayak-do.jpg

 

Some of them were trying to figure out how to assemble inflatable boats they had just bought.

kayak-dont.jpg

Most of our party of 7 had paddled on the Charles and elsewhere before, so we boldly set off to join the big boats in the central viewing area.

group-kayaks

Boats of all kinds were out there.

various-boats

One of the rules stated that any boat in the area between the bridges after 8:15pm had to be anchored.  We didn’t bring anchors with us, but the kayak rental place sold us this for $10– a cinder block tied to 75 feet of rope.  My friend Janet was the elected representative to tote the anchor out to our spot.

anchor

We tied it to my boat, heaved it overboard, and miraculously it worked; we drifted a bit, but maintained our spot (holding onto each others’ boats).  Then we proceeded to sit back, relax, and wait for darkness and the show.

two-kayaks

kayak-feet

We had to wait a bit more than 2 hours, but it was worth it.  We had ring-side seats– the fireworks were in front of us and above in perfect view.  Oddly, they weren’t incredibly loud.  We think this was because we were far away from the buildings and their loud claps of echoes.  Here’s a bit of the show:

blue

red

green

white

For me, one of the best parts was riding my bike to and from the river.  The traffic leaving the fireworks show was, in its own way, as astounding as the show itself.  But I was able to sail past the cars in the bike lane, getting home in record time.

What a celebration of freedom– under my own power to, from, and during the show!

 

About catherine w

I'm an analytic philosopher, retooled as a public health ethicist. I'm interested in heath behavior change, particularly around eating and activity, and how things other than knowledge affect our health decisions.I'm also a cyclist (road, off-road, commuter), squash player, x skier, occasional yoga-doer, hiker, swimmer and leisurely walker.

One thought on “Fireworks from a kayaker’s perspective: a photo essay

  1. Holly VandeWall says:

    That looks amazing Catherine! I’ll seriously consider kayaking if I’m in Boston for the 4th next year

    Like

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