July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

Somewhere in Time
By Kismet, Thursday, October 15, 2009

Somewhere in Time,” a movie starring the late Christopher Reeve, takes place in the farthest reaches of northern Michigan, on an island you can only get to by boat. The movie depicts a bygone era (1912) and was filmed at one of our favorite Michigan boating destinations, Mackinac Island and the beautiful Grand Hotel, which was first opened in 1887. Even today, the island’s residents have carefully preserved the charm and uniqueness of the turn of the 20th century. Much like our favorite Michigan port, we recently had the opportunity to discover that Tangier Island, Maryland, has a similar distinctive character, in that it has not changed much in the last 100 years. The only way to make it to this Eastern Shore Island is by boat or small plane, making its draw that much more compelling. Immediately upon entering the harbor we realized we were entering another “Somewhere in Time” moment.

Lisa and I left Solomons, Maryland, for a seven-day journey to an anchorage on the south side of the Potomac River for one night, Tangier Island, Virginia, for another and eventually on to an MTOA (Marine Trawlers Owners Association) Rendezvous in Crisfield, Maryland, for four days. We left Solomons on a Saturday for the first leg of our adventure, heading south, for a 30-mile trip on the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to our departure, we had been following the weather closely, we monitored the wind and waves and luckily the seven-foot waves on the bay had subsided to two-foot following seas by the time we departed. Our first night’s destination was Smith Point on the south side of the Potomac River, up into the Little Wicomico River.

Most of the travel guides gloss over the Little Wicomico River because of its narrow entrance, made even more difficult to enter with north winds, high seas, and shallow water. However, we found that once we navigated through the narrow man-made channel’s entrance and maneuvered past a dozen congregating fishing boats and one-foot sand bars we found ourselves sequestered inside a very well protected body of water. After meandering down into Little Wicomico River we found a perfect anchorage at Flood Point, with 360 degrees of swing protection, in seven feet of water. We spent an enjoyable evening in this protected cove that was as still as a small inland lake on a windless night. It was the calmest night at anchor we’d had in a long time, making the obstacles of shallow water, fishermen, and a narrow channel only a minor drawback.

With the town of Tangier Island as a backdrop you can see a crab boat returning to port with a full load of crab cages.
Looking across the channel at Tangier Island you have a great view of the crab sheds, docks and boats

After a casual morning at anchor we retraced our path out of the Little Wicomico River to the Chesapeake Bay, to proceed on to Tangier Island. Once back into the Bay we only had a 13-mile easterly boat ride to Tangier Island. We’d heard and read a great deal about this historical treasure and were excited to finally be making our way there. Unfortunately, when we stuck our nose out into the Bay the waters were not as friendly as we’d left them the day before. Granted we only had a short one-and-a-half hour trip ahead but the seas were relentless as they pounded on our beam, making for a very uncomfortable cruise. Instead of making a direct path to Tangier Island we tacked south, letting the following seas cushion the ride. Once we’d traversed an extra five miles out of our straight navigation path we turned 45 degrees back into the oncoming waves, alleviating the uncomfortable beam seas. It took an extra 40 minutes but by the time we entered the Tangier Island channel the seas had finally laid down, letting us enjoy a calm ride into the channel.

Our slip was not immediately available when we arrived so we took a short trip further up the channel where we found ourselves surrounded on both sides by crabbing boats and sheds, crab processing platforms and the small low-lying waterman town on the edge of the harbor. First settled in 1686, Tangier Island remains a town of about 600 people who make their living primarily from crabbing. The Island is big enough to have a small marina but we were soon to find out that the Island was small enough not to have all the tourist trappings, thereby maintaining its distinctive character.

Parks Marina sits at the base of town overlooking the crabbing fleet.

We were greeted at Parks Marina by the owner, Milton Parks, a gracious man who helped secure our boat. He was more than willing to help with information and even offered us a ride around the Island on his cart, the main source of transportation on this remote island. Milton asked Lisa, “Honey do you really like living on your boat?” and seemed as interested in us as we were in him and his unique hometown. Milton had just returned from church when we arrived and was still dressed in his Sunday best, so I commented to him that he was the best-dressed harbormaster we’d ever met. We found that Milton’s gracious hospitality was not the exception; everyone on the island mirrored his warmth.

Milton Parks, owner and harbormaster of Parks Marina, sharing his island knowledge with me.

Because Tangier Island dates back over 300 years and has a limited amount of real estate, the island’s lanes, roads, and bridges are more like asphalt-covered bike paths with most of the island being marshland. There are only three strips of land, connected by small bridges, high enough to support the island houses. Lisa and I found it very easy to walk the entire island, which served as a double benefit of exercise and self-guided tour. Once we got past the shore area, which was lined with stacks of crab pots and moored boats, we came to the crossroads of the very small commercial district. Here we found several restaurants, a grocery store, church, and a few crab-related souvenir stores. So if you’re into bigger city amenities and wouldn’t appreciate this island’s  ”Somewhere in Time” appeal you might want to just pass on by.

The Muddy Toes Library, from the outside, looks more like your average storage shed

Our walk took us to the southernmost inhabited part of the island where we found the Muddy Toes Library. The library is not your typical brick and mortar type but is more the size of a six by ten shed that houses a small book exchange. The walls are lined with both hard and soft backed books stacked from floor to ceiling, covering every imaginable topic and many current, popular authors, all free for the taking. It’s customary to leave books when you take books, but not necessary. We were surprised that this little island had the largest selection of books that we’ve come across while boating and that’s saying a lot because most marinas have similar exchanges. These are the types of little surprises we love to find and in this case we came away with five relatively new books to read, while lightening our boatload by dropping three off the next day.

 

 

 

Lisa is having a hard time trying to narrow her selection at the Muddy Toes Library. I’m dressed in my official tourist t-shirt at one of the footbridges needed to traverse the marsh to the western outside area of town.

My mother would love this place, not because of the remote location, the historical crab-related heritage, or the 300-plus year lineage of the people living on the island, but because of the feline population. Lisa and I couldn’t help but notice how many cats were on the island. It seemed there were three or four around every corner or between yards playing tag with each other. We asked Milton, our harbormaster, about this and he volunteered that he thought there were about 1,200 cats on the island. Milton said he alone spends about $75 a week on cat food so it was no surprise when we noticed six cats following him around the docks at feeding time.

Here’s a photo of a typical Island electric cart modified, Tangier style, for night driving.

When we arrived at Tangier Island it was Sunday and therefore not a busy crabbing day. During a workday the watermen first make their way to town on their electric carts, hop into their skiffs, and navigate across the channel to their work sheds – most are located on the opposite side of the channel. It’s here they prepare their crabbing boats before they head out into the Chesapeake Bay or Tangier Sound to work the rich crab-pot fields, one of the best in the United States. Watermen are hard workers, working long hours in all types of weather, and we were surprised to find out how early they start their workdays. We heard the first waterman start up his engines at 2:30 in the morning. Now that’s what I call and early bird!

Watermen use a distinctively colored and shaped crab-pot buoy to help identify their submersed crab pots when out on the water.

Lisa and I thought we’d have a great night’s sleep on Sunday, dreaming about our time on Tangier Island and everything crab. Unfortunately, we had several water-related interruptions throughout the night and it all started as soon as our heads hit the pillows. A fish of unknown origin decided it wanted to feed next to our port window for an hour or more. It would splash out of the water, slap its tail against Kismet’s hull; all in an effort to find its meal and satisfy its appetite. Then the watermen started moving out around 2:30 a.m. and this continued on for at least another hour-and-a-half. The fish is one thing we could’ve done without, but that night we gained a new respect for the watermen’s work ethic. By witnessing first hand what they have to go through very early in the morning made us appreciate the value of their catch that much more.

The crab cakes Lisa and I had at the Fisherman’s Corner Restaurant were the best we’ve had!

Milton helped us off the next morning and asked us to return. We promised we would. We hope when we do return the island will still hold the charm it radiates today. As we pulled away from the dock he smiled and asked Lisa one more time,