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Confessions of a Chesapeake Bay 'Chicken Necker'

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When Editor-in-Chief Peter Swanson offered me this blogging position with PassageMaker, there was probably a tinge of concern on his part that I’d spend most of my time writing about crabs, crab cakes, and oysters.You see, if you follow me on Facebook like Peter does, you’re almost constantly barraged with photos of the crab feasts, crab cake making, and oyster shucking that go on at my house almost year-round, depending on the season. Don’t worry, Peter, I’ll keep the crustaceans to a minimum.

I’ve been stuck to the water ever since my dad took me out (ahem) crabbing in our little 12-foot Ted Williams skiff, primarily in and around Chesapeake Bay where I grew up. “Chicken Neckers” is what we called ourselves, a descriptive term for recreational crabbers in the area. Since those early crabbing days I’ve lived aboard and extensively cruised the East Coast in a number of boats, done aerial marine photography for Garmin, worked as a rigger and clerk at a ship’s chandlery, serviced boats for a living, and been the managing editor at Waterway Guide. My last position was at PropTalk magazine, a Chesapeake power boating magazine where I was the editor.

What I’ll be doing here on the blog, and occasionally, in the pages of PassageMaker, is not only keeping you up to date on the breaking news and events important to folks who cruise through or live on Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, or the Outer Banks, but also trying to entice you into exploring the area during a future cruise.

It’s probably been said too many times that you could spend a lifetime cruising the Chesapeake Bay and, well, it’s corny but true. I’ve lived here for four decades and while I can say I’ve visited every river, I definitely haven’t been to all the small towns and ports that line them. The best part of Chesapeake Bay cruising is visiting these places—the ones that you don’t hear about. Places such as Crisfield, Easton, Cape Charles, Kilmarnock, and Tappahannock. And sure, while remote towns without big marinas aren’t everyone’s cup of tea; they’re gems to self-sufficient cruisers.

A lot of people consider Delaware Bay and the Outer Banks transient or “pass-through” areas, but I hope I will be able to convince you slow it down a notch or two and spend some time in these places, too, exploring what each has to offer. There’s a unique culture and feel in each, and depending on the time of year, a ton to see and do (if you are willing to immerse yourself in your surroundings).

I’m looking forward to keeping you in the loop about one of the best cruising areas out there. In the mean time, it’s only four months until crabbing season and warmer cruising weather.

See you out there,