Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chesapeake Bay Fishing

Photograph: Fishing on the Chesapeake Bay.

I spent a day out on a commercial fishing boat in the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland, near the town of Cambridge with local waterman Boo and his crew. This method of fishing uses a pound net. The huge bulk of the catch (2.5 tons at the end of the day) was menhaden, a small, oily fish used as a bait fish up and down the east coast of the US. The catch also included striped bass (also known as rock fish), flounder, spadefish, and a bewildering variety of sea creatures.

Photograph: Fishing on the Chesapeake Bay.

It's hard, difficult, and dangerous work. The day starts before five and doesn't end until three or four in the afternoon. It's constant cycle of netting the fish out of the trap, sorting them, getting them into the market, and then cleaning the boat and gear - we visited four traps in one day.

Photograph: Waterman fishing on the Chesapeake Bay.

This lifestyle is gradually dying out on the Chesapeake. There's strong environmental pressure to restore the bay to its earlier state, leading to inevitable confrontations between the watermen and conservationists. Like much of modern American society, there's a large group of moderates on this issue, but extremists on both sides force their own agenda that makes compromise virtually impossible. As a result, Boo is finding it difficult to make fishing in the bay viable and he's ready to retire. His son, who was one of the crew members, will be going to New York to study the culinary arts next year. This marks the end of a family tradition of fishing on the bay that's lasted for over a century.

Photograph: Chesapeake Bay Turtle.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Photograph: Shoreline view of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

We went to Vancouver wanting to fall in love with the area. We didn't. Vancouver, like all major metropolitan areas, has it's share of problems. Some of these issues are handled better than other cities, while some don't seem to get enough attention. We did fall in love with the people there, who were friendly and courteous to us in astonishing numbers. We found several outstanding restaurants - Raincity Grill was a real standout, as was CinCin on the West side. We enjoyed meals here that were as good - or better - than we've had anywhere else in the world.

Photograph: Dogs in the park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Photograph: Sausage and Cheese vendor at the Granville Market, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Gettysburg at Dawn

Photograph: Gettysburg Military Park at Dawn. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA.

We were in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania last summer and visited the National Military Park. Even though we arrived before dawn, the gates were open and we were able to be in position just as the sun came up. It was 5:00am and we had the place to ourselves - or so it seemed. It's at these moments when the spirit of the past can be sensed in a very real and sometimes disconcerting way.

Photograph: Gettysburg Military Park at Dawn. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Photograph: Gettysburg Military Park at Dawn. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA