Sunday, August 18, 2013

Damn'd quarter, and other places I have sailed

I never knew, until I came across a reproduction of a 1719 map in a Portsmouth museum, that I had sailed near Damn'd quarter.  It seems that when I sailed the back way through the thorofare behind Deal Island, Damn'd quarter would have been just to starboard.

I've searched the internet - the source of all knowledge - and cannot find a connection between that name and the current Deal Island, but the nearby Dames Quarter Creek might be a link to the long lost name.

I spent a few minutes trying to match places I've visited with names on the chart.  The old map, while maybe not precise, does show a near continuous line of islands separating the Sound from Chesapeake Bay.  There were more islands back then and they were certainly larger, large enough to support towns and plantations.   

The opening that leads through the islands from the Sound to the Bay, now known as Kedges Straits, can be seen marked as Racers Strait.  I do believe, prior to the erosion of the islands, the water wood have raced through there. 

The Hooper Islands, Bloodsworth, South Marsh, Smith and Tangier Islands are not labelled, though they would have been inhabited at the time.  Watts Island is marked, but spelled "Wats"and appears to be a little north of its actual location.  Pocomoke Bay is spelled Pokomoack Bay, and the little village of Saxis is marked Sicoci Island.  Cedar Island, which is separated from the mainland by beautiful Broad Creek, is spelled "Bedar Island."  And Crisfield is marked as Vromeffik.

Back north up near Damn'd quarter, a river and two bays cling to their old names with only changes in spelling.  The Wicomico River was once Wighcocomoco River, and Monie Bay of today was once the Little and Great Manaye Bays.

Looking at the old map was a trip back in time, a trip back a few hundred years and a trip back to some of the wonderful sails I've enjoyed on the Tangier Sound.  Maybe I'll be out there again next Spring.

I am very glad I sailed on Friday.  It rained all day yesterday and today I'm working (can't you tell?)


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