Maryland's Skipjacks

Maryland's Skipjacks

by David Berry


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Chesapeake is an Algonquian word meaning "great shellfish bay," and for decades, the oyster was the undisputed king of Chesapeake Bay shellfish. Early settlers reported them to be as large as dinner plates, and the reefs or rocks in which they lived
were large enough to be hazards to navigation. In 1884, fifteen million bushels of oysters were harvested and shipped around the world. The skipjack was the perfect vessel for sailing into the Chesapeake Bay's shallow waters and dredging for oysters, and each winter, hundreds of these wooden craft set out across the bay's cold waters. The oyster population of the 21st century is a fraction of what it once was, and the skipjacks have disappeared along with them. No longer economically viable, the boats have been left to rot in the marshes along the bay. Only 25 boats are still operational, and fewer than five still dredge.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781531633769
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 05/21/2008
Pages: 130
Product dimensions: 6.69(w) x 9.61(h) x 0.38(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     6
Introduction     7
A Living History     11
The Details of a Skipjack     33
Skipjacks on the Water     47
The Business of Dredging     63
The Chesapeake Bay Oyster     85
Watermen     97
Skipjacks Today     105
Bibliography     126
Index     127

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