Thursday, December 6, 2012


Man's home a 14-foot canoe in Boston Harbor
BOSTON — They say no man is an island, but Michael Richard Smith has been creating his own floating homes in Boston Harbor.  
The Coast Guard and Boston police are keeping an eye on the unconventional camper who has been tying his canoe to small offshore docks in the city's inner harbor and pitching his tent to sleep at night.
Okay, I can kinda grok the whole "sleeping on the public land in the harbor" thing. We've visited the islands in Boston Harbor, and they're pretty darn neat. Plus, he's got a really good point about crime - the only people who can get to him are folks in boats, so he's doing a lot better than he'd be doing in, say, the backwoods of Maine, even. What I'm curious about, though, is where he's getting, storing, preparing, consuming, and voiding his food. He's certainly not doing it all in a canoe, and if he's using the facilities on the harbor islands, then he's receiving city services.

What I don't get is why he's not doing this in, say, in Hilton Head SC or off the coast of Florida. Boston Harbor in winter time is cold and unforgiving, and if he's got no firm ties to the area, why not migrate someplace warm, or at least warmer? I've camped outside in the winter months before, and it is tolerable with the right gear and lots of it - but I did that because I wanted to, as part of Scouting, not because it was a way of life I'd chosen. To each his own, but I'd hate for some poor group of school kids to happen upon his decomposing body the first field trip in the spring, you know?

Had to figure he was from Maine - just not completely right in the head, dude!

That is all


ASM826 said...

"The Coast Guard and Boston police are keeping an eye on the unconventional camper..."

Of course they are, can't allow people to act like they're free, just doing what they want all willy nilly.

Jay G said...

I suspect it has a lot more to do with him not expiring on one of the islands that's a frequent field-trip destination for local elementary schools. Nothing like finding a rotting corpse to set off the pre-teen crowd...

Maybe he does know what he's doing, but I'd sure want to keep an eye on a guy that's living out of a canoe in the middle of Boston Harbor. They're not hassling the guy, just looking out for him.

That they've had to tell him not to paddle around the harbor at night tells me he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, mind you.

Anonymous said...

Now Jay admit it. Finding a dead person when you were in elementry school would have made it the best field trip ever! Wicked good as they say up there.


ASM826 said...

And how long ago was it that you could decide to take a horse over the mountains, or a canoe up a river, set up camp where it seemed likely, do what you chose to, and die when the time came, just to see what was there?

DO we really want "them" looking out for us, even for our own good?

The Big Guy said...

"...or off the coast of Florida."

Hay man...
You guys can just keep all the crazy Yankees up there.
Don't go sending them down to us.
We have enough unbalanced wackos (Robb, McThag, Yours Truly) on our own.


Paul, Dammit! said...

Even though I don't lobster out of Boston harbor anymore, I can't help but feel a little bit like this guy's shitting on my lawn. A bum is a bum, whether his home is a canoe or a shopping cart full of bottles and rags.