Our Town

A note and some corrections: Trying to be cute I stated that I had not misspelled “Manhatten” when in fact I actually did. Only this morning I realized it is Manhattan. I guess I had better learn that before we get to NYC.

Also the Menhaden boat in the picture that pulled in to unload was the Osprey and not the Oyster. Apparently the iPad changed it for me. Sometimes it changes many things and I never know it because I am hunting and pecking constantly looking at the keyboard and never able to look at the screen at the same time to see what I am typing.

Finally it was Elijah Reed that founded the town and not Joshua. Joshua was a buddy of Moses and not a prophet.

Last night I promised you a tour of our little town of Reedville, Virginia and the Fisherman’s Museum. So take a stroll with me down Main Street which for all practical purposes is about the only street in town.

A one cylinder engine for Dr. Bell to study. He could mount a tiller on it.

A scale model of a railroad proposed for Reedville but never built.

This was once 100 acres of farmland on a finger of land that stretched out into the river. Elijah Reed bought it for a song and set out to build his fishing business from scratch. Having captained boats for the US Navy in the Civil War he saw the vast schools of Menhaden in the Chesapeake while transporting Union troops and supplies. He had tried a similar business up in Maine but failed because the fish were not inside a natural bay like this and hard to corral.

With one small boat he netted the fish, boiled them, squeezed them in a hand cranked press to extract the oil and sold the dried pulp as fish meal fertilizer. This grew into a fleet of ships and employed thousands. There were once 21 plants in this area running 24 hours a day and now due to Federal regulations there is only one. Yet the demand for omega 3 oil and fish meal is higher than ever. So where does it come from today? Where does Walmart get most of it’s merchandise? You guess. If we do not unchain the economic powerhouse that built this nation we are soon not going to be able to afford to eat the cat food that they make with the fish meal.

This afternoon we met the crew of a sailboat that was up from Norfolk for a little trip. They invited us to share cocktails aboard and we had a marvelous time that spilled over into dinner at the Crazy Crab. 

Here is a picture of the group at dinner. They are Jim, Lauren, Hal and Janet. Real nice folks. We swapped many stories and I told them all about my friend the Commander of whom I am quite proud.

It was not until after dinner that I learned who I was breaking bread with. Hal Gehman is a retired four star admiral. Jan looked him up and it seems we were with really top brass but he acted just like regular folks as we say down home. Hal was in command of the Atlantic Fleet, Supreme NATO Commander, in charge of investigating the bombing of the USS Cole and the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster and now Chairman of the Board of Directors of Maersk Shipping. And I thought the Commander was big stuff and he still is in my eyes. I will ask him next week if he ever ran across the Admiral. If he did the Admiral did not remember him. 🙂

We spent a pretty lazy day aboard. Radiance pulled out mid morning but they have a tough schedule to keep and a rough ride on the bay today. We will shove off tomorrow and by nightfall will be somewhere up the Potomac and in search of newer and bolder adventures.