09 June 2011 | Anchored in the Inner Harbor
Hot, Hotter, Hottest
We decided we really wanted to better understand our American history and this phenomenal estuary called the Chesapeake Bay. I'm thinking we've done a pretty good job from Hampton Va, the Severn River off Mobjack Bay; Carter Creek off the Rappahannock River; Tangier Island on the Eastern Shore, Reedville on the Great Wicomico River; Mill Creek off the Potomac River; Washington DC; St. Marys City off the St. Marys River; Solomons Island; Dogwood Harbor off the Little Choptank River; St. Michaels of Eastern Bay; and now Baltimore past Fort McHenry, past the red and white striped with blue star-spangled top buoy where Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that became our national anthem.
We have visited some pretty fantastic museums along the way. Menhaden fishery in Reedville, paleontology studies at the museum in the Solomons, ship building and the history of the bay at St. Michaels; soft shell crab farming on Tangier Island. We've been aboard three of the remaining four screw-pile light houses of the bay and the Chesapeake Lightship that guarded the bay entrance for so many years. We know so much more about marine life on the bay and how both marine and human life has changed. On the islands of Hooper, Smith, Tangier we observed the effects of tidal erosion. Entire towns are gone, homes disassembled board by board and moved to higher ground. The bay is slowing absorbing these islands and the lives of the watermen and their families of generations are changing forever. We talked with waterman and learned just how hard it is to make a living at $14.00 a bushel of crab. We learned that the oysters are slowly returning but the numbers are drastically down from years past. Pollution, increasing population, over fishing all contribute to the demise of this once fortune making business. We've read books about the bay and now feel as though we are in some very insignificant way part of it. Yesterday just before pulling anchor at St. Michaels we observed skates mating right beside our boat. We see schools of menhaden and fish hawks diving into the bay catching fish. The ospreys are abundant, their nests are everywhere and when we venture a little too close mama or papa lets us know. The bay is overwhelming with what it has to offer and we could spend an entire summer just exploring the creeks of the eastern shore. So much history, the Civil War, the War of 1812, the American Revolution all right here to see and experience. Seeing the bay by boat is in my humble opinion the best option. We can almost picture the British ships sailing up the Bay, we can wonder just how long it must have taken them when the winds are as light as we've experienced. No diesel engines in those days.
So we'll visit family here, we'll learn more about the history of Baltimore and then continue north probably visiting a few more places along the Bay. Maybe the Sassafras River, maybe Rock Hall, maybe Havre De Grace but pretty soon we have to make the move to the C & D canal and then Delaware Bay. Down the Bay around the shoals and off to Block Island, back to New England waters for the summer.
Thank you Chesapeake Bay, what an experience and thanks to the people who loaned us their cars, drove us to grocery stores and shared their stories. It's a friendly place, part of American we now better understand.