Beautiful Swimmers Revisited Premieres in Washington, DC
More Screenings Scheduled Throughout the Bay Area
Writer Tom Horton picks up where William W. Warner left off 40 years ago in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, crabs and the Chesapeake Bay.
REFLECTIONS ON A "BEAUTIFUL" PREMIERE
by Rona Kobell
Excerpted from the Bay Journal
More than 300 people attended the premiere of Beautiful Swimmers Revisited last weekend at the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital. So many people wanted to come, in fact, that the film sold out online — and tickets only became available when cold, rainy weather dissuaded some moviegoers from leaving home.
The Bay Journal produced the film. Sandy-Cannon Brown directed it. Bay Journal photographer David Harp shot much of it, in stills and video, making his first foray into feature film cinematography. Tom Horton was the star, taking viewers on his skiff through the marshes of Smith and Tangier Islands and along the hardened shorelines closer to Annapolis.
This film is the Bay Journal’s first. Our whole staff is incredibly proud of it. Harp just turned 69 and Horton is 70, but they seem to be at the height of their creativity now, pushing themselves to new endeavors. It’s inspiring to this (somewhat) younger person, and it makes me want to also push in new directions. The film revisits many of the people and places that William Warner chronicled in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Beautiful Swimmers. Warner wrote the book in 1976, at a time when crabbers had almost no restrictions on their harvest and crabs were so plentiful that few scientists bothered to study them.
Today, of course, there are size limits, hour limits, requirements for cull rings, regulations to report catches and other rules. Scientists, including Tom Miller of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, spend their careers researching the iconic crustaceans. Miller is featured in the film, along with Anson “Tuck” Hines of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Rom Lipcius of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and the hard-working young scientists counting crabs for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ annual winter dredge survey.
Horton leads viewers through environmental changes in the waterway, and introduces us not only to some of the crabbers Warner met but also to some younger guys trying to get into the business. They are smart, thoughtful crabbers, and they wonder how long the waterways will continue to nurture these beautiful swimmers.
At Saturday’s screening, Caroline Gabel, president and CEO of the Shared Earth Foundation and chair of the festival’s board, called the trio of filmmakers “most worthy successors” to Warner. His children were in the audience and supported the film.
Those of us lucky enough to work with Harp and Horton agree with that, and the film is exquisite. What stayed with me after, though, was not so much the story of the crab, but the story of the pollution that has helped to diminish the species and its habitat. It is not just blue crabs that are suffering, but many marine and human species.
Logs Needed for Restoration of 1889 Historic Bugeye
Arrive at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Sandy Cannon-Brown is documenting the restoration of Edna E. Lockwood, the last historic log-bottomed bugeye sailing the Chesapeake Bay. She was there as the logs for the hull arrived in March.
ST. MICHAELS, MD - March was a banner month for the restoration of the 1889 bugeye, Edna E. Lockwood. On March 5, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum received 19 loblolly pine logs that will be crafted into the hull of the historic boat. Then, on March 10 and 11, CBMM hosted a group of experts in maritime preservation at a forum on Edna’s restoration.
The restoration, which will begin in late summer, will take about two years. Sandy Cannon-Brown is chronicling the process on video and will produce a documentary that will be released just as soon as Edna once again sets sail in the Chesapeake Bay.