LAT: N 37° 49.8'
LON: W 75° 59.7'
SLOW TIMES taking ease
in the slight breeze
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The Mysteries of Island Life

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A fishing shack on the way in to port.

The Characters of Quaint

Exploring Tangier Island

We hung out at anchor for a bit this morning after deciding we would take our time in the Chesapeake and make a Sunday arrival in Annapolis. It was a pleasant spot and it is always a luxury not have to rush out and make good time. When we decided to get going we passed the osprey nests once again and got a little wet once into the Chesapeake. Apparently it's better for wooden boats to get a salt water bath than to get rained on, so we figured we were doing alright though the ride was a bit bumpy. It was a more active day on the water and we saw a small sand bar shark and schools of cow nosed rays, though they were too fast for us to get a picture.

Looking forward to checking out a new place we pulled into Tangier Island ready to explore. The currents are quite strong at the docks and if you are not one of the local fisherman you should take your time trying to get in. Actually, you should take your time thinking about it, but when you actually go for it, it is favorable to make the move without hesitation. With Mr. Parks of Parks Marina advising us on how to best maneuver the boat into the small slip, Tim backed us in as Hannah got the lines around the pilings.

The setting was all we expected. Extremely quaint and picturesque, it's what you picture when you think of a tiny island of fishermen. Small fishing huts line the waterway and a gathering of grasses and shrubs in the marshes makes a perfect rookery for all types of herons and egrets. We did some cleaning up around the boat and then decided to head in to see the island and grab a bite of local food before the restaurants closed at 7.

The early closing time (even on a Friday night) was one of our first clues into island life. It is an old historical island and it seemed that the people that were there had been there a long time. Everyone gets around on golf carts (that have their own mini driveways) and bikes. Our walk around the island took about 40 minutes. We discovered many cats, ornamental garden people, and many graves in people's yards. The raised graves told a story of their own since we counted many with the same name. Parks was one of them, as well as the family names of the owners of the restaurants and shops.

On our stroll we passed many of the same live people who seemed to be making rounds in their golf carts, perhaps entertaining themselves while they waited for the ferry to come in. There are a few ferries and boats that come to the island and Tangier has been a tourist destination and has a charming

B&B We dined at Fisherman's Corner Restaurant which has very good seafood of course! It was a quiet night and after dinner we went back to the boat where we did some work on slowtimes (though not enough because we are still working on it now!) and watched the sunset. We then made another trip out to Spanky's Place to get ice cream. We talked to Spanky himself and learned that he has been on the island all his life and that the tourist industry hasn't been too busy so far this year. There are a few shops and restaurants that rely on tourists though the island is so small that it seems like a risky business.

Walking home with our root beer floats we felt glad to be on a new adventure, checking out another place on the Chesapeake which is riddled with cruiser destinations.

Fun Facts

Tangier Island was discovered by John Smith when he was exploring the Chesapeake Bay. The group of islands are called the Smiths and Tangier is the most southern one. The other islands are in Maryland, while Tangier is in Virginia. In the late 1600s Tangier was settled by the Crocketts. In the 1940's the birth of the seafood industry paved the way for a thriving crabbing industry. Today though, the number of watermen is falling precipitously (In the past 5 years the number of people earning from crabbing has gone from 170 to 126). There is an excellent and recently published article about the island. click here to read it. Visiting the place, one suspects that it may be struggling, but after reading the article, it is clear they have a very large and complex problem involving perhaps the unfortunate clash of economic needs and religious beliefs.

Animal of the Day

The Sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus, is found in the Chesapeake because parts of the Bay are nurseries for them. The one we saw was a small juvenile (2-3 feet long). They are gray above and white below and can be identified by their large upright dorsal fin which is what Hannah noticed as we passed next to it. This is the most abundant large shark on the Atlantic coast, though it is susceptible to over-fishing. They are slow growing and don't produce many pups but there is a demand for their meat, their hides and the vitamin rich oils in their livers. The shark feeds on an array of animals including: fish, rays, shrimp, crabs and other small sharks. Though it is large as an adult (up to 8 feet long), and common in swimming areas, it has no record of human attacks.

Grub Report

Fisherman's Corner Restaurant provided us with many seafood delights of the Chesapeake. We had the Fisherman's Platter and the Crab Cake Plate. The fillet, oysters, clams and scallops were just lightly breaded which is a nice change. And the crab cakes were very tasty and flavorful. Hannah is still relatively new to the wonders of fresh seafood and she found this meal quite scrumptious.

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