Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tangier Island

I was thinking about Tangier Island today as I had to go over to the Eastern Shore of Virginia (hey, I get paid to do this sometimes!). I was surprised by the amount of development along Highway 13, the main route up the shore. Shopping centers and hotels. Even a new bridge under construction out to Chincoteague Island. I got to wondering about Tangier Island. I haven't been there since the cruise I mentioned in yesterday's post. While making the 100 mile drive I remembered that I had been there earlier and took some photographs on the island, thought I might post them here. I wonder how it has changed since then. Is the old skiff still there in the marsh, or has it been carried away by the tides? Crabbing is the main industry and crab pot markers decorate a sandwich shop at the ferry dock. You'll see the markers spread out all over Tangier Sound, the hum of diesels of deadrise crab boats is a constant during daylight hours. Fog surrounded me early on the second day of my Tangier Sound cruise. It was only by following a line of crab pots (this was in my pre-gps days) that I could find a course from Great Fox Island to Watts Island.
This is the beach on the southwest shore of the island. Beautiful white sand looking out on Chesapeake Bay. The fence in the dune is to help minimize the erosion. But with an island that is just a foot or two above sea level erosion is hard to stop.
The main gut (I would have called it a channel or a creek, locals call it a gut) runs through the island as lights glow on the homes on the west ridge. The road on the west side of the island has homes, a couple of bed and breakfasts (well worth a weekend vist ) and the small air strip.

And this is part of the marsh at Port Isobel, a small island just east of Tangier. The buildings in the distance are part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's center.
I didn't take these pictures on my cruise - I had my hands full on that trip. I took them a couple of months earlier when I visited the island. I rode out on the mail boat Courtney Thomas out of Crisfield. But this is the kind of place that you can see on a cruise, places on the edge, places that are seldom visited, places that don't change quickly. But they do change. I'm glad I get to see these places before they change too much.

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