In 1813, a handful of lightly armed vessels, sent down from defenses at Baltimore, confronted British warships out in the Bay and were cornered here in the Yeocomico. It did not go well.
Morning is clear and warm, with a light steady breeze out of the West. It will be hot today.
Several of the boats are out in the creek already, or working their way downriver. Doug’s new Marsh Cat is not yet finished, so he’s sailing the second Melonseed. From the beach I can see Caesura’s tanbark sail glowing and gliding against the bluegreen treeline in the distance. Then I, too, am off.
The last 60 miles are really rural, all winter wheat and young corn. The last 10 miles especially so – nothing else, just clouds and trees and blue skies. Going out is also going back, way back in time. Kinsale was another steamboat landing on the Chesapeake. The Yeoconimico River is a deep and sheltered harbor, several miles long, with many side tributaries. A village grew up around the comings and goings of the steamboats back in the late 1800’s, and it hasn’t been much else since. The little town must have prospered back then, though. Old storefronts still line what must have been Main Street, just a block long, and a little village square. Well kept houses, stately and demur.
Now a grain depot occupies the old landing, all silos and conveyors, and is doing a brisk business. A barge (there’s only room for one at a time), is pushed up alongside the wharf by a small tug, gets loaded with wheat seven days a week during the harvest, which is in full swing. Trucks lined up on the narrow lane down to the water. The wharf is so small that only one end of the barge can be loaded at a time, tipping lopsided under the weight. When one end is full, they turn the barge around and load the other end.
The annual Spring Chesapeake Float was scheduled for this weekend, with the largest gathering so far planning to meet on the Maryland Eastern Shore near the Honga River. But as the launch date approached, so did a very big and very unpleasant weather system, stretching from Florida to Canada. Days of cold rain and high winds forecasted, gusting to 30kts. We decided to postpone.
Some of the guys with more flexible schedules hope to get some time on the water today, switching to the Sassafras River at the north end of the Bay where conditions may moderate. We had a great trip there a few years ago. I hope they get good weather. The rain has passed (with flash flooding here), but as I write this the wind is still blowing about 20kts, gusting to 30.
I’m sitting this one out, and will try to use the time off for several trips coming up in the next few weeks. As consolation, I have some pictures and video from a trip back in November that I never got around to posting.
Since 2003, Australian photographer Murray Fredericks has made at least twenty journeys to the center of Lake Eyre, a desert lake with an extremely high concentration of salt. Fredericks drags all of his equipment out into the barren landscape, capturing the dramatic sky reflected in both the inch-d
It got dark fast, and chilly for August, and we have hunger. It’s only a mile to Stonington along the shore, past lobster pounds in the protected cove behind Moose Island, past hundreds of lobster boats anchored in the harbor – some new, most well used, some derelict. Houses climb up the hill above the harbor like skyboxes, new businesses in old rambling clapboard buildings line the waterfront.