Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reedville, Virginia

Days on cruise:  54
Today’s travel:  27.3 miles
Time traveled: 3 hours 16 minutes
Total trip odometer: 1,184 statute miles
We got away from Deltaville Boatyard early this morning and found the Chesapeake Bay essentially calm with flat water for most of the way. There are points of land with big shallow shoals much of the way, so we were 3-4 miles offshore with few navigation aids and few other boats.
The photo below is of the navigation light at the entrance to the Great Wicomico River.  There used to be a real lighthouse here, but it was crumbling and was therefore removed during the 1960s.
Once we got onto the river, we began to see lots of  watermen, the term they use for folks who work the fishing industry.  This is a crab fisherman with piles of crab pots on the back of his boat.
After traveling up the Wicomico River, we turned into Cockerell Creek which leads to the town of Reedville, VA, population 2,133. The stack in the photo below is from an old, now abandoned, fish processing plant.
There are lots of Menhaden fishing boats in the area. More on that topic later. The pretty blue one below is an example.
Cathryn almost never starts or drives the dinghy when we are anchored somewhere and go ashore. She last did it in the Florida Keys, so decided it was time to do it again so she wouldn’t forget how. After we anchored, we dropped the dinghy in the water to explore Reedville.
See our boat in the background ?  We went ashore to the Cockerell Creek Seafood and Deli, which is adjacent to a fish processing place.  We ordered lunch (oysters for Cathryn; crabcake sandwich for Bob) and ate outside on the shore, looking at our boat and anchorage.  Pretty! Tonight there are two sailboats anchored near us.
There’s no real downtown in Reedville. Instead there’s Main Street, lined by mostly well-cared-for Victorian homes built in the  late 1800s and early 1900s, and an occasional shop or café.  The houses are mostly on large lots, and almost all are waterfront, as Main Street runs along a narrow spit.
We spent an hour in the Reedville Watermen’s Museum which was astonishingly well-done in any case, but especially considering it’s in such a tiny town. Among other things, the Museum tells the story of the Menhaden fishing industry.  All you east coast folks may laugh at us ignorant west coast folks, but we don’t know anything about Menhaden. If any of you say you’ve ever eaten Menhaden, we know you don’t know anything about it either. They’re not edible. At least not as fish. But if you’ve ever worn cosmetics, eaten baked goods with margarine or shortening in them,  or painted anything with Rustoleum paint, you’ve probably used a product that includes Menhaden.
Believe it or not, Reedville, VA has the second largest haul of fish processed in the U.S. each year, lagging only behind Dutch Harbor, Alaska!
The Watermen’s Museum also has a small-boat building and restoration yard, and we enjoyed the products of their labor.
This is a nice little town worthy of a days’ stop.

No comments: