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Photo Challenge: Old ~ Skipjacks April 9, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor, Nature.

Over the long Labor Day weekend, the last of the Skipjacks race down the Chesapeake Bay from Deal Island, Maryland.

Wikipedia ~ Skipjack (in Public Domain)

In days of yore, Deal Island was known as Devil’s Island.  Nearby Dames Quarters went by Quarters of the Damned.

One Wikipedia source attributes these unfortunate names to the area’s use by pirates.  Residents of the area know better.  The names stem from the profusion of vampiric bloodsuckers (mosquitoes and no-see-ums) that patrol the waterways and marshes in and around the island.

Also the island is famous for Joshua Thomas who predicted the British defeat in the war of 1812.  Thomas is buried alongside the Joshua Thomas Chapel.  For that reason, he no longer attends the Skipjack Races.

Wikipedia ~ Skipjack (in Public Domain)

The annual Skipjack Races keep history alive as Captain and crew (and lots of lazy gad-a-bouts) put the old boats through their paces.

Sailing from Deal Island harbor south, majestic skipjacks (laden with passengers who don’t seem to understand that the lightest ship in the fleet is apt to win) race side by side down the bay, wind whipping the sails.

Unless there’s a dead calm.

Skipjacks are wooden sailing vessels with triangular sails historically used for dredging oysters between the 1880s to the 1960s.  In its heyday, Deal Island had a large fleet of skipjacks.

Today, most of the remaining skipjacks oystering commercially on the Chesapeake Bay sail from Deal Island or Crisfield.  I’ll tell you about Crisfield some other time.  I’m tired now.  That’s what happens when you get old.

Related posts: Weekly Photo Challenge: Old * Old Drawings (Creating Magic) * Old Saws (Flying Gma) * Old Shelters (Random Thoughts From Midlife) * Old Friend (Jeanne’s Blog) * Old Family Photos (Barbara Taylor’s Blog) * Old (Piglet in Portugal) * Old Treasures (Mirth & Motivation)


1. Piglet in Portugal - April 9, 2011

Age is all in the mind 🙂

nrhatch - April 9, 2011

Good point, PiP. Of course, some days my mind feels like a plump juicy grape and other days like a dried up raisin . . . after drinking too many fermented grapes.

Some wine?

2. CMSmith - April 9, 2011


nrhatch - April 9, 2011

Skipjacks are beautiful under sail and bobbing at harbor. The Skipjack Races are a fun celebration.

3. Rosa - April 9, 2011

Yes, that does look fun and exciting!

nrhatch - April 9, 2011

It’s relaxing to watch from the shore . . . listening to the snap of the sails, drink in hand. 🙂

4. Amy @ Soul Dipper - April 9, 2011

Humans…we even manage to romanticize mosquitoes and no-see-ums! Love it.

You remind me of one of our around-the-island sail races. We had a medical doctor who lived for the race – not to mention all the imbibing and camaraderie. One year, he had a patient who was panic stricken that her baby would want to arrive on the very weekend of the race. Good ol’ Dr. Buchan obliged…he took her on the race!

nrhatch - April 9, 2011

Awesome! Much better than hanging out in a hospital waiting for the baby on board to make an appearance.

5. Cindy - April 9, 2011

Lovely 🙂

nrhatch - April 9, 2011

We used to sit on the rocky “beach” behind our house with the binoculars before heading down to the harbor to watch the winner sail past the finish line.

6. gospelwriter - April 10, 2011

You live in god’s country (visited there years ago when my mother was about as old as I am now 🙂 ).

nrhatch - April 10, 2011

We lived on Deal Island for 8 years, but moved to Florida in 2009. Haven’t been back yet, but we may head up some Labor Day to watch the Race and enjoy the festival.

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8. jeanne - April 10, 2011

I love being on the water and old wooden boats. This would be a dream come true. Just not the work part of course.

nrhatch - April 10, 2011

We went on a windjammer cruise off the coast of Maine a few years ago ~ best of both worlds. A charming old wooden boat . . . and a crew to sail it! And a phenomenal cook on board to handle all the meals. Delightful.

9. barb19 - April 11, 2011

Interesting post with added history lesson!
Those skipjacks are beautiful, they look so slender cutting through the water, watching them from shore with a glass of vino of course! Gotta look the part!

nrhatch - April 11, 2011

They are beautiful old boats. These days, dredging for oysters is only allowed if boats are under sail. If they’re running engines, oystermen must tong.

Tonging protects oysters from over-harvesting.

10. eof737 - April 12, 2011

Cool, I loved the photos and accompanying story… No-see-ums was a gas! loved it! 🙂

nrhatch - April 12, 2011

No-see-ums are pesky little critters. Not quite at the level of mosquitoes or the dreaded Green Head Flies, but annoying in their own way. 😀

Glad you enjoyed the photos. The Skipjacks are gorgeous boats.

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