Since 1978 I have been fortunate to sail wooden boats. In 2006 I set out to find a Drascombe Longboat Cruiser for single-handed expedition sailing. This is the continuing story of how it came to be, our adventures, notes on the maritime world and other things I don't want to forget...

Thursday, August 20, 2015

An Early Morning Retake

Modern shrimping as we know it was 'born' in Fernandina, Florida in the first decade of the 20th century. Immigrant fishermen, notably Italian, first adapted a small otter trawl to internal combustion-powered wooden boats. This enabled them to build an industry that spread, in the early years along the southeast US coast, to Key West, and the Gulf of Mexico. It is now one of the world's most popular seafood, harvested by factory ships. The old wood shrimpers are mostly gone.

I researched, wrote monographs, presented findings and developed exhibits about it. But that was years ago. It again comes to mind when we visit family in the low country of Georgia.

Earlier this year:
Eleanor and I had gotten up early in her brother's old Victorian veiled with Spanish moss hanging from old live oaks. We were in the old town area of Brunswick, Georgia and were off to sketch and paint a quick watercolor before the heat set in. I noticed an old packing house sign at the entrance to a tree-covered sand road. We ducked in and found a shrimp boat dock stuck back in an earlier time. Crew had shuffled off the boats, where I expect they may have lived, to sit on a variety of worn-out lawn chairs and drink coffee. They were cordial but pretty much ignored us.

Eleanor recorded the view. We drew but mostly I smelled the salt and muck and thought about the past.


  1. I can smell the muck now. Smells like home. Shrimp boats and spanish moss . . .

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. There is nothing quite like it.