People of Tangier Fear Their Life, Land, and Heritage Could Wash Away

"TANGIER ISLAND, Va. — As in many places, conversations on this remote island in the Chesapeake Bay tend to steer toward the weather. But here it's not just small talk.

A long winter has chilled the water so it's still too cold to catch crabs even on the last day of March — exactly two weeks after crabbing season started. Most of the island's watermen — who oyster in winter and catch blue crabs in summer — haven't earned a penny in over a month.

When they do talk about the weather on Tangier, it doesn't sound like most places either. 'Crabs,' for instance, is drawn out to allow an extra syllable or two: 'cr-aeae-uh-bs.'  "

Kate Kilpatrick produced story and audio for Aljazeera America May 11, 2014, with photographs by Ian C. Bates.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014