05 Nov Boating in St. Michaels, Maryland
Just remember: Only eat oysters in months that end with “R.” – Captain Ed Farley
A couple weeks ago, I traveled to St. Michaels, Maryland for the weekend. Despite being a Maryland girl, born and bred, this was my very first visit to this charming waterfront town. It was arranged to be the grand finale to my Local Travel Month adventures, and it didn’t disappoint.
While my weekend was packed with lots of fantastic activities, there was one special highlight that I wanted to share first… a day trip aboard the H.M. Krentz. My very first time aboard a skipjack!
What is a skipjack, you say? A skipjack is a traditional fishing boat that is native to the Chesapeake Bay region and was used primarily by fishermen for harvesting oysters. (It’s also the state boat of Maryland… Who knew there even was such a thing?!) Skipjacks first came about in the late 1800s, and were popular because they were very light and inexpensive to construct while also being very easy to navigate while doing multiple passes over the oyster beds.
At the peak of Maryland’s oyster trade, there was an estimated 2,000 skipjacks that would take to the Chesapeake’s waters, bringing in oysters by the bushel. Today, the volume of Chesapeake oysters has significantly decreased, thus making the working skipjack all but obsolete. Today, only a few of these boats remain, and the beautifully preserved H.M. Krentz provides afternoon excursions for visitors that are both educational and entertaining.
Our captain, Ed Farley, was equally our host, captain and crew – deftly navigating the bay’s crowded waters on one perfect fall day, all while educating his passengers with fun facts of oyster history, Maryland geography and oyster-eating etiquette.
Here’s a video of my trip… and after trying my hand at the wheel, I think it would be better for all boaters if I stick to my day job!