The first crab caught at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum so far this summer- a papershell sook. This has been a terrible year for crabs, but there’s a lot to admire in this little beauty, with her fire-red “fingernails” and brilliant blue claws. Here’s hoping we see a lot more of these truly “beautiful swimmers” as we enter the dog days of summer.
Historians Matthew and Juliann Krogh interpret the lives of US Navy and Revenue Cutter Service mariners during the War of 1812 in a living history program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
The program explored the shipbuilding traditions, uniforms, navigational techniques, rope work, small arms, medicine, games and sailing terms of marlinspike sailors, a fascinating chapter in the Chesapeake Bay’s long maritime history.
The food was bad, the work was hard, and the medicine was downright ugly, but there was opportunity for a regular wage and a bed (even if it was hanging from the rafters of a ship) for the courageous men and women who dared a seafaring life.
The Chesapeake’s most recognizable icon, the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), is one of the significant commercially-harvested species on the East Coast, but this summer, the catches have been incredibly, scarily low.
There is a parasite lurking in the depth of the Bay that could be the source of this summer’s empty crab pots and record-breaking low harvests: hematodinium. At best, hematodinium can make the meat of the infected crab taste like aspirin, but at worst, the parasite spells large scale crab mortality- something that could have enormous consequences for the ecology of the Chesapeake environment and the watermen that rely on a bountiful harvest. Learn more about the parasite that might stop a crab from reaching your picnic table this summer.
A few details from an archaelogical dig in Easton, Maryland’s “The Hill” neighborhood, where low tech teaspoons and colanders are being used to painstakingly excavate traces of daily life in the Chesapeake, a century or more ago.