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The Green Dragon Leaves Boston May 16, 2009 and I’m Waiting for its Galway Arrival

Green Dragon Sail Boat Departing Boston Harbor in May 2009 As Part of the Volvo Ocean Race

It was thrilling being in Boston Harbor on a Salem Ferry boat chartered by Tourism Ireland to accommodate about 50 people who went out into the harbor to watch the launch of seven boats and their crews participating in the Volvo Ocean Races as they sailed out of Boston harbor headed for St. Petersburg, Russia with their first stop on the east side of the Atlantic Ocean in Galway Bay.  The Irish entry is the Green Dragon.

May 16, 2009, the boats prepared for their departure for Galway.  The day started out bright, breezy and just gorgeous. The weather forecast called for fog and wind and it just looked like the weather forecasters had goofed again.

The area around Boston Harbor’s Fan Pier abounded with festivities organized by Tourism Ireland which included costumed people on stilts, a pavilion with information on travel to and around Ireland, and a serious focus on the race.  Of course, the presence of Volvo was felt everywhere!

We went out on the ferry boat and, to my surprise, the schooner Thomas E. Lannon sailed up next to us. I know the captain, Tom Ellis,  and his wife and have been their guest on their harbor cruises that they do leaving from their dock in Gloucester, MA where his granfather, for whom the Thomas E. Lannon is named, was a fistherman in the first half of the twentieth century.  I’ve taken teens who are very needy or homeless identified by The Giving Tree Outreach Program for a day’s outing on the Thomas E Lannon en route to the Maine Teen Camp for a four week summer camp session I have sponsored for them. So seeing the Lannon siddle up next to us added to the experience!

Because of cell phones, I was able to call the folks on the Lannon and have a chat while we were all waiting in the harbor for the race to start . . . which it finally did after two false starts and a third need to turn back and start over again when a tanker got the right of way to enter the harbor according to its schedule.

It seemed like the fog rolled in, as predicted, to follow the racing boats as well!  At first, the fog wrapped itself around two skyscrapers on Boston’s shoreline. It spread, enveloping the skyline, and rolling out into the harbor until we were wrapped in fog and mist.  The wind picked up suddenly as the boats began to leave the harbor.

Our ferry boat, along with motor boats, sailboats and dinghies, raced along side the Volvo Ocean Races entrants, keeping our distance but racing nonetheless to keep pace with them.  The water got rougher and then seriously rough which meant it was time for me to leave the outside deck and go inside to sit down and watch the scene through a window.  I was lucky to be accompanied by Tim Kerwan, General Manager of the Intercontinental Boston Hotel who was there to celebrate the event.  I thought he had brought his own lunch on board in a plastic lunchbox but it turned out it was filled with cigars. He had plans to find a place to celebrate the launch of Ireland’s Green Dragon entry with a cigar-smoking session with some of those on board with us as soon as we returned to the dock.

We followed the boats to a point where we were just at the cusp of leaving the harbor where the sea was rough and the fog was ever-present.   The Green Dragon, along with its competitors, sailed into the rough sea and disappeared as they were enveloped into the fog.  One moment there were seven boats there and the next moment they were gone, absorbed into the fog. Our boat, the Salem Ferry, made a U-turn and headed back to the Fan Pier.

It would have been a bittersweet moment as a great experience came to an end except this was a classic example of one of my favorite sayings, expanded from a downer into an upper by a past friend: “All good things must end so they can begin again.:

That saying couldn’t have been more appropriate on May 16th because my plans included flying on May 19th on Continental Airlines from Newark to Belfast, INorthern Ireland. We landed today, May 20th at 9am, had a great Irish breakfast with “John J. Wonderful” Mooney at Dunadry Hotel & Golf Club and set off for the Beech Hill Country House in Derry where Will Ferrell, Himself the Elf, Kennedys and Clintons have all been guests.

Life as it should be.

With regards from Ireland and wishing you all the best,
Your personal travel expert,
Stephanie Abrams


--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

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