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ter intrusion assured us plenty of dead trees for our campfire. We slog ge d t h roug h t he sa lt marsh to pay our respects at the only cemetery that hasn’t gone in the Bay yet. Marble and granite stones spoke of a prosperous community, but it would have taken a Poplar-scale effort to hold back the Bay that was their livelihood and their ending. Wednesday, we reached Smith Island, where a freshly baked eightlayer chocolate cake and luscious third-of-a-pound crab cakes awaited us at the Drum Point Market in Tylerton, the southernmost town in this cluster of islands. I always joke to the owner that he runs the world’s best store in a town of 42 people. And that, as much as erosion and

sea level rise, is Smith’s problem. Its people are dying, leaving ~ and it’s not so simple as clean up the Bay and they’ll stay, though fishing’s their livelihood. A lot of what’s reduced the islandwide population to less than 200 is simply people seeking a broader margin for their lives. Federal and state government, ironically, have just put tens of millions of bucks into holding off erosion here for a while longer ~ a good thing, but meanwhile you can count on your fingers the little kids growing up here. By Friday, we were headed to Tangier Island, the last stop of our little paddling semester. Trump f lags were f lapping in the breeze beneath Old Glory on several homes

Aerial view of Tangier Island. 31

Profile for Tidewater Times

Tidewater Times  

January 2019

Tidewater Times  

January 2019