Day 10 |
Aug 24, 2008

Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States

By Dr Brent Stephenson, Ornithologist

Weather: Beautiful sunny day with light breezes and warm conditions

Co-ordinates: 2° 437' 26” N and 70° 40' 32” W

Captain Fabien Roche carefully directed the stern of the Prince Albert II into the tight little harbor we were to go alongside in. The day had dawned clear and sunny, but the Captain really had his work cut out for him as fog suddenly appeared and made the task even more difficult. However, all went well and we were quickly alongside.

US Immigration came onboard and we all passed through The Theatre to have a face check clearance, as we checked back into the United States. Again, things went without a hitch and the day was underway. We all boarded coaches and headed into the small city for a ‘highlights’ tour. First off, we visited the Cape Ann Museum, whose mission statement is to "foster an appreciation of the quality and diversity of life on Cape Ann, past and present.” The museum was a maze of rooms and corridors displaying a wide variety of art and sculptures, with the best known of Cape Ann’s 19th-century artists being maritime luminist Fitz Henry Lane. The museum’s collection of his work is the largest in the world

We then headed to a local waterside restaurant for a “mug up”, the term given by fishermen and dock workers to a coffee break. Here we enjoyed tea, coffee, fresh fruit and a variety of local pastries…breakfast seemed like a distant memory as we sampled these treats!

We quickly headed across the road for a quick look at the North Shore Art Association gallery before then boarding the coaches again and visiting several waterfront statues. The most sobering was the Fisherman’s Memorial Statue, which was partially surrounded by bronze plaques showing the names of 5,368 men lost at sea. During the course of Gloucester’s fishing history, almost 1000 vessels have been lost at sea, with 265 vessels lost with all hands. Of course, in recent times, the most famous was the fishing vessel ‘Andrea Gail’ lost with all six crew during a huge storm in September 1991, and depicted in the movie The Perfect Storm.

We then headed back to the ship, passing along Harbour Loop on the way. The Prince Albert II pulled away from the dock shortly after 1245 hours. We enjoyed lunch as we cruised over calm seas and under sunny skies towards Cape Cod. At 1700 hours, we approached the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal, a man-made waterway that traverses the neck of land joining Cape Cod with mainland Massachusetts. Roughly 17 miles long, this canal was planned for many years, but construction did not begin until 1909, being completed in 1916. Originally, it had a maximum width of 100 feet and minimum depth of 25 feet, until further efforts we made between 1935 and 1940 to widen and deepen the canal. Today, the canal is 480 feet at its widest and a minimum of 32 feet. It took us an hour or so to pass through the main part of the canal, after which we joined the Expedition Team for a final recap. Camille Seaman, our onboard photographer, then showed a stunning photographic slideshow of our voyage. It was hard to believe that our voyage was almost over, but the slideshow reminded us of how much we had seen and done in our 10 days onboard the Prince Albert II.