September 29, 2022

Art & Lifestyle:

Free Civil Legal Help at Lex Park Library -

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Telehealth Booth Opens at Lex Park Library -

Monday, August 29, 2022

Black Civil War Soldiers Exhibit Makes Stop in Lex Park -

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Time for ‘The Big Conversation’ -

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Message from the Cap’n: Listening to Dolphins

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Sherman

Message from the Cap’n is a compilation of fishing advice, waterman and weather insights, Chesapeake lore, and ordinary malarkey from the folks who keep their feet wet in the Potomac and St. Mary’s rivers.

The dolphins are back in the news and seemingly, now, always in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Bottlenose Dolphin continues to be studied by the Potomac Conservancy. They’re researching and asking citizen scientists to help since 2015. Dolphins live 40 to 60 years and are affected by degraded waterways. The Conservancy wants to know: Where in the river do dolphins go? What time of year do they use different parts of the river? How often do they visit these different parts of the Potomac? And what are they doing in the Potomac?

This past summer, partnering with Georgetown University they’ve developed a new way to find and monitor dolphins through the river system: Acoustics. Bottlenose Dolphins whistle and click and have their own signature whistle the same as we have our names. Maybe something can be gleaned from our neighbor from our eavesdropping.

The Cap’n

From the Interpretive Buoy System: The Lower Potomac water temperature is about 72 degrees Fahrenheit and the salinity about 13 (PSU) parts per unit this week.

Sooks, or female crabs, are plentiful now and are still bringing about $50 off the boat. Males are scarce but are great in size as they migrate back down the river and bay. Prices to the consumer have been the highest they have ever been due to fluctuations in supply. More about the Blue Crab from the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Oyster season for shaft tongs (such as James Harvey’s custom tongs) and Patent tongs opened October 1 without much fanfare. Some early reports are of good catches. Opening prices are around $35 per bushel in the Patuxent and St. Mary’s rivers. There’re a lot of oysters on the Eastern Shore. Smith Island reports the same price but more oysters to harvest with no death rate to speak of  in their local waters across Chesapeake Bay from us.

Oyster dredge season opens November 1 in areas of the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay. It will take a little while for everything to get straightened out, for watermen to find where the good licks are to be found. Once dredging and tonging are in full swing, we’ll have a better idea of how this year’s harvest will go.

About then the holidays will be here. Thanksgiving and Christmas always were “bread and butter days” for watermen baywide. If you don’t make some money over the holidays, you’re never going to catch up the rest of the season. Last year the holidays were a bust — the result of the pandemic. There was a larger supply than market demand with the widespread closure of restaurants. Let’s hope that changes this year.

Early indicators going into the 2021-22 oyster season, show there are plenty of oysters to bring to market. The watermen are hoping the market is ready for them.

Till next time, remember “It’s Our Bay, Let’s Pass It On.”

To learn about tours and trips into the Chesapeake, keep in touch with Fins + Claws on Facebook . Catch up on Messages from the Cap’n Member Page. Please visit Cap’n Jack’s lore and share with your social media sites. Or reach him here: [email protected] or 240-434-1385.

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