Monday, December 12, 2011

Were You There?

Saturday, December 10th, saw the launch of the gundalow Piscataqua in Portsmouth. This was an historic event, and I was happy to participate. For those readers, who aren't aware, I am on the Board of Director's for the Gundalow Company. The company has a mission of preserving and enhancing the maritime history and environment of the Piscataqua region.

The Piscataqua (gundalow, not river or region), was born out the hard work of many people. I joined the Board in 2009, and remember the first meeting I attended was spent looking at a the drawings and blueprints for the new boat, which at the time was still a desire, and not a reality. The Board had been working on this dream for some time already, and looking back it is impressive to see the Piscataqua in the Piscataqua.

Countless hours have been put into the creation and fundraising of and for this vessel. It is amazing to have been a small part of it, and there are many people who are due a great deal of thanks for their efforts and resources. 

I have enjoyed being on the Board, as it really allows myself the opportunity to interact in different ways with different people in the Seacoast. It also allows me to be a part of the launch of something that hasn't been launched since the 1980s, and really hasn't been common since the 1880s. I am taking some liberties here, but really, two centuries ago gundalows were common transportation features, today only two working ones exists, and they are located down the road here in New Hampshire.

In the industrial revolution gundalows were common. They were riding up and down the Cochoecho, the Piscataqua and most other rivers in the new world. These vessels are flat bottomed and convey goods from port to port and offered a similar function to the tractor trailer trucks might today. The transportation of these goods has evolved, or in some cases devolved.

One reason I love being on the Board is the sense that we are educating people to this alternative mode of transit. Anyone that has read this blog will know that I am a supporter of the idea that we are ruining out of oil, and I believe we need to reawaken ourselves to the reality of other modes of transit. Modes other than automobiles. I think, beyond the awareness we are building about the fragility of the Piscarqua River's ecosystem, we are also going to be building awareness of the value of wind powered transit.

Overall for me the best part of Saturday's launch was not the pleasure of riding the Piscataqua on her first tour, nor was it the thrill of being with 1,000 people celebrating the launch. The best part was sharing it with my 13 year old son. He fussed about going, and he flittered about the cold when we got to Pierce Island. That said, when we saw the Piscataqua sitting in its cradle and poised for launch he started to change When we were able to join the crew and other board members onboard he really got excited.

It is great to see a child get excited about a wooden boat. A vessel that is built for education and not for excitement or thrill riding. That was pretty cool. I can't wait to see school kids riding, and learning aboard the Piscataqua . It will be a very good addition to the region.

When you get a chance to visit the Piscataqua at Prescott Park, enjoy her majesty and celebrate her mission.

No comments:

Post a Comment