Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Chesapeake Bay Can Bite Me

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," from the fine lands sacred to the Nanticoke Peoples! We are long-distance blogging from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

The word "Chesapeake" derives from a Native American tongue. Roughly translated, it means "Water filled with stuff that bites and stings."

Mr. Johnson was born and raised in these parts, and it's no wonder he's a reluctant swimmer. He can drive a boat, but he's pretty ungainly in the water. His grandmother, who lives right on the water, never learned to swim at all.

Water, water everywhere, but don't go in the drink!

There is a swimming pier here at the pretty B&B where we stay. This morning I went to take a look-see on the pesky issue of sea nettles.

For those of you who live inland, let me describe sea nettles. They float like jellyfish (which they are) and sting like a hoard of rabid wasps. You just don't want to see one of those things being tossed your way on a balmy wave. Trust me on this. I had an intimate conversation with one two years ago, and it's still fresh in my mind.

Today, gazing from the pier, I didn't see a single sea nettle. "Oh, good!" thinks I. "Time for a dip!"

Alas, just as I turned away with a refreshing swim on my mind, I caught a glimpse of another nemesis of the bay, the common blue crab. A sea nettle can sting you, but a blue crab can rip a hole in your flesh. This is why I have no compunction about eating big heaps of them, steamed and spiced.

Upon further investigation, I noticed that someone had sunk a single crab trap about 30 feet from the ladder off the swimming pier. It's open invitation for crabs today in the old swimming hole.

Gotta face facts. This waterway bites. Even the minnows gnaw on you.

Nevertheless, the vista is swell, and there's a breeze, and plenty of shady hemlocks to sit under, and cheerful sailboats dotting the waves. And inland ... ah, sweet flat inland ... there are plenty of buzzards who will gratefully consume anything one buys for them and flings into the field.

Wherever there are vultures, life is good.



At July 20, 2010 , Blogger Souris Optique said...

But just think, there are things still alive in that water to bite!

...not that that helps your swimming prospects.

At July 20, 2010 , Blogger The Traveler said...

See- and people think I'm weird for not wanting to swim in natural water. Of course on that coast all you have to worry about is the regular inhabitants. Out here we have the radioactive ones too.

At July 20, 2010 , Blogger Intense Guy said...

I would have put on some water shoes and gone in anyway...

Crabs don't bother me - but ooooh man... I hate the stinging nettles...

At July 20, 2010 , Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

I never once heard of anybody ever being attacked by a blue crab unless they actually stepped on one, which is not easy to do. Sting rays, now THAT's a common risk, especially along the Gulf coast where we used to go flounder gigging alot. Plus, I hear that if you are good at imitating a seal pup, you might can coax a killer whale right out of the water at you. Then there's those killer giant squids.........

At July 24, 2010 , Blogger kimc said...

and fish pee in that water too. I prefer swimming pools, but really, my favorite is the shower. No standing water for me....


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