Editor’s Note: “Win for Breakfast” host Win Damon accompanied Capt. Paul Aziz on a test run of the Rachel Carson last Thursday. Additional photographs below.
The passenger riverboat, Rachel Carson, made a test run last Thursday up the Merrimack River from Newburyport to Haverhill’s public docks, taking into consideration shallow spots along the waterway made worse by drought conditions.
Capt. Paul Aziz of Yankee Clipper Tours brought the 33-passenger vessel upriver under escort by Harbormaster Michael J. Vets during the final leg of the trip from the Rocks Village Bridge. Accompanied by WHAV staff for the trip, Aziz noted particular depth considerations at low tide.
“It can be very shallow, especially in the drought we’re in right now. So, there are some parts of the channel that aren’t very clearly marked and if you’re not paying attention you can get into a little bit of trouble,” he explained.
The vessel is named for the author of a bestselling environmental science book, published in 1962. “Before she wrote “Silent Spring,” Rachel Carson was a biologist on Plum Island and she wrote much about the Refuge. Aziz described the vessel.
“This is a 1988 Bell Craft. It’s a catamaran. It’s 33-feet-long now with its new motors. We just put new Honda 90 outboards on it. And, she only draws about 18-inches deep so we can go into some relatively shallow areas. Its pretty maneuverable so it’s going to allow us to get into some tight areas when we do our trips down into the wildlife refuge behind Plum Island, which is the other purpose of having this boat. So, this boat will do some commuting between Haverhill and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.”
Daniel Cody, whose regular job is teaching science to seventh and eighth graders in Reading, is also a captain and will be conducting some of the cruises from Haverhill. One is a one-hour tour and the other a 90-minute sunset cruise. Aziz will also offer the Rachel Carson for private charters and some charitable events. Ticket information will be available at harbortours.com following the U.S. Coast Guard’s final approval expected at any time.
Greeting the vessel when it arrived in downtown Haverhill was Mayor James J. Fiorentini. “Congratulations and a job well done to all those who made this possible, especially our Harbor Commission and harbormaster,” he said.
Aziz said Passengers may see eagles, herons and other wildlife on trip. That seems appropriate since Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” helped raise awareness of the effects of the chemical DDT on migratory songbirds.