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Cinema Bayville

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People and Places

Hope at the Edge, Part 1

Narrator: Smith Island is a distant outpost on the Chesapeake Bay … a place where time is measured by the ebb and flow of the tides and the rise and fall of the sun.

The shallow grassy waters around the island are some of the best blue crab habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.

It is a watery Garden of Eden, an archipelago just 12 miles out in the lower Chesapeake Bay … a place where blue herons and seagulls mingle with the watermen who call this quiet solitary world their home.

For 300 years, the people here have prevailed against the elements, carving out a living on the bay, but now there is a sense that a more precarious future lies ahead, that the way of life is threatened here.

Denny: My name is Denny Bradshaw and I've been on the water since I was a kid. Probably around nine or 10 years old, I started working with my dad on the water. I think the way of life of Smith Island is in danger here. We have had a decline in oysters, decline of crabs, decline of sea grasses. That all contributes to the decline of the watermen working on the Bay. That's the real big concern because if we lose the watermen, we're going to lose a big part of the Bay, the history of the Bay.


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