19. Hampton VA to Tangier Island VA

We left Hampton VA heading NNW up the Chesapeake Bay heading eventually to and up the Potomac River. Hope to find a port along the Potomac so as to visit with daughter Vicki and her husband Jon. By the time I arrive, grandson Charlie will already be back at the U of Oklahoma in Norman OK. My other grandson Tim and wife Allison have recently move to the Minneapolis area so I won’t see them either. Granddaughter Juliana won’t yet have left for Virginia Tech so hopefully I’ll see her as well.

It was, for me, a long trip (58 nm) but the day could not have been nicer and I made good time over very calm seas. The charting for the area appears complicated though it does get better as you zoom in. The lower portion of the Bay to the Atlantic is a busy shipping channel.

This view from side to side is about 30 miles

Tangier Island is described as a squiggle of mud and marsh in the middle of Chesapeake Bay which is about 30 miles wide at that point, and about a dozen miles from the nearest mainland port. One of its claims to fame is BLUE CRAB. It was settled in the late 1700s by farmers and transitioned to crab and oyster harvesting in the late 19th century. Due to its isolation, the residents speak a dialect of American English somewhat reminiscent of the British variety.

A third claim to fame is that the island is disappearing. Since 1850, its landmass has diminished 50% and the island continues to lose 9 acres per year. Its isolation is brought home by the fact there is no/zero cell service on the whole island and nowhere on my mile plus walk searching for crab cake dinner could I find wi fi. On the boat, I could get Directv. That got solved however when I rebooted the antenna hub and the antenna then locked on the satellite.🤠

There are really no roads on Tangier Island either. What passes for streets or roads are really a single lane. No problem as there are no cars either (there is an unlicensed Jeep and a 25 yo pickup as well as an ambulance. Travel is by foot, by moped, ATV or golf cart. Oh, and by boat, skiff and zodiac. Zoning laws do not seem to exist. Commercial, such as it is, is mixed with, in front of, next to and behind residential and hours of business are a mixed bag. The ballyhooed ‘ayce’ crab cake restaurant with seating at 5 pm, wasn’t opened. But there were others that were. And there were two places that serve ice cream in this community of 700.

Kind of wondered why there is a fire hydrant at the fence when…
…right across the lane is nothing but water. You might think based on the water on the side of the “road” that there was a recent rain. Not so. It’s about mid tide at this time and the channel water is seeping in land. At low tide, no water – just damp as can be seen from the dampness across the “road”. The Island is 3’ above mean sea level. Not a great place to stay if a hurricane, tropical storm or even tropical depression were to come up the Bay.
Even the cemetery yields to the high water table.

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