Inviting people to a town on the Chesapeake to hang out, and share some laughs, some good food, and some thoughts on internet marketing wouldn’t have been complete without providing a chance for those folks to sail around on the waterways.
I chartered a tour today for SEO on the SEA for a cruise on one of the last of the Chesapeake oyster ships to have been built, the Skipjack Martha Lewis. It seems kind of ugly to refer to the skipjack as an “oyster dredger” because that seems to imply something slow, and unslightly. Loren Baker, who knows much more of the history of Maryland watermen than I do, tells me that skipjacks were built to be swift on the waterways. They had to be. The first ones to the oyster beds were usually the ones who ended up with the best hauls.
And, relations between competitors weren’t always friendly. Border skirmishes happened, and the open waters were often laid claim to by strength of arms. There were even times when the government took action against those who harvested the riches of the sea. The oyster wars often saw watermen and government forces clashing.
Image from the Library of Congress, reference number LC-USZ62-76142, originally published in Harper’s Weekly, Mar. 1, 1884.
Of course, much of that happened over 100 years ago, but the life of the Chesapeake watermen is still something unique. And an article in the Chesapeake Quarterly titled A Life Among Watermen, provides some interesting insights into the folks who harvest the waterways, and the scientists and regulators who are harnessing their efforts with more and more regulations and restrictions.
The Skipjack Martha Lewis holds 28, and the journey I chartered goes from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The first folks who contact me with an interest on taking the journey will get a berth, and should make sure that they are at the docks at Tydings park by 4:45 at the very latest.
The Skipjack normally provides two cruises to the public on Saturdays and on Sundays, at 1:00 and 3:00, so there are more opportunities to sail if you don’t make the chartered voyage. If you aren’t on the chartered voyage, you should call ahead to verify at 410.939.4078. I’m not sure that you can make reservations on the trips open to the public. The office is normally open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The cost of public cruises listed on the Skipjack Martha Lewis site is Adults – $15.00, Child (under 10) – $7.00.
For those who take the charted voyage at 5:00 pm, the charge is $12.50 per person, with Children (under 10) $5.00. (I’ve already paid – the cost was $350.00 to book the voyage.)
There aren’t many skipjacks left these days, and the Martha Lewis is one of the last of them. I’d love to have you join us on board.