By Tim Sweet and Gordon Vieth
Nearly 30 people turned out for Explore Plum Island Day on August 18. Visitors – who hailed from Oregon to Washington Island, and points in between – were given tours of the island and its historic structures. For most, it was their first visit to the island. For a few, it was a chance to revisit the Island after years away.
Plum Island is open to the public from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but Explore Plum Island Day is special because the Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands (FOPPI) and generous donors provide free transportation to the island for the day.
This year, for the first time at a public event, visitors were treated to a walk-through of the Life Saving Station, where they could see for themselves the results of recent preservation projects, (and appreciate the considerable work still to be done). Of course, many also took advantage of the opportunity to climb to the top of the Rear Range Light to take in its matchless views.
After lunch, some of the island’s explorers circumnavigated the 325-acre island by kayak. In fact, the day was so beautiful, and temperatures so warm, that many others chose to snorkel on the Grape Shot shipwreck.
Dustan Hoffman and Frank Gercz of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FOPPI volunteers were on hand to lead tours, point out natural features, and to answer visitors’ questions. Transportation from Gills Rock and Washington Island was provided by Shoreline Scenic Cruises.
Explore Plum Island Day is an annual event and the schedule and reservation details for 2019 will be available later this year at FOPPI’s website: plumandpilot.org.
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