"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

September 2, 2011

Sept. 1 - Chestertown, MD

Chester River - Anchorage

I can't believe it's September...where does the time go? We've been gone for almost six months, that's almost harder to believe. We've seen a lot, learned a lot, grown in wisdom and become a lot more confident about what we are doing. Things that might have bothered us at the beginning of the trip seem like no big deal now.

Today was just a regular day...doing normal things, washing my hair, paying bills and cleaning the boat. We took our bikes ashore on the dinghy and had lunch at Against the Grain Bread Co. We spent a couple of hours exploring this little town...lots of old homes from the 18th & 19th century.

We didn't have any luck catching more crabs. We think the river just has too much fresh water from last week’s rain. We'll move closer to the Bay later this weekend and try it again. We cooked the one crab we had and it was delicious...instead of being dinner it was an appetizer.

U. S. Customs House built in 1746
The sign above the entrance said this was Chestertown Public School - it is now used as a county building.
Neat houses along High Street
More homes in Chestertown
The Annie D. (picture below) is an oyster buy boa, built in 1957 on Tangier Island, Virginia. The working mast and boom were not designed for a sail, rather they were used as a crane to load and unload oysters. Oyster buy boats would travel up and down the Bay purchasing oysters from watermen and carrying them to the great shucking houses of the Eastern Shore. This service allowed the watermen to continue their work until the catch limit was reached. With the annual number of oyster bushels harvested from the Bay decreasing over the last century, the need for the buy boat has been eliminated.

Oyster buy boats played an important role in the economy of the Eastern Shore before the building of the first Bay Bridge in 1952. During the summer months when oysters were not in season, they were used to transport produce and lumber across the Bay. Most buy boats in the region participated in the type of work during their off season.

Today the role of the Annie D. is still that of a transport vessel, but instead of oysters, the cargo is young minds. The Annie D. offers students of all ages the opportunity to experience the past, consider the present, and look ahead to the future, while exploring and learning about the ecology and history of the Chesapeake Bay.
Built in 1901, the 40 foot skipjack Elsworth (picture below) is one of a handful of skipjacks remaining in the Chesapeake Bay. A skipjack is a boat designed and used to dredge for oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. The Elsworth dredged for oysters commercially between 1901-1966.

Maryland's skipjack fleet is the last remaining commercial fleet still under sail in the United States. The fleet's continued existence is owed to the Maryland law, which states that oysters may only be dredged under power of sail. A skipjack is able to use an external motor in a small push boat to travel to and from oyster bars, but must have the push boat lifted out of the water before dredging can begin. There is some exception to this law, which enables skipjacks to dredge using their push boats certain days of the week.
Can you find The Pearl?

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