the Skipjack Story


Image "Skipjack Anchor"
Once upon a Skipjack there was a young man who made pictures

     Forty-five years ago an idea burning bright to film the Deal Island Skipjack race, and a brand new Arriflex film camera, itching for exciting subjects to film, took a younger me to the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  

     Or wait … maybe this story begins as a battered and lightly rusted film can, still sealed by a brittle band of yellowed tape, appeared in front of me most of a career later.  I can just make out the faded magic marker title, “Skipjacks, Deal Island Ekta original.” "Here," I remark, “was a good idea that never got made.”   

    A half-hour of questions later about the find, plus Julie's (nicknamed the "nose") recollections of my Skipjacks tales over the years … and that, I thought, was that. I saw the look. She wasn't done.  Four days later, a faded photo paper box in hand and a look-what-I’ve-got grin, she was back with several rolls of negatives.  “That’s right,” I suddenly remembered, “I shot stills too.”  The half crushed little red box emerged from her poking around in my not quite discarded collection of things I’m holding on to.

       By chance, the week before and unrelated, a new scanner arrived that could scan two and a quarter negatives, so wow, we had a way to get a look at them.  While practically none of this could be proven serendipitous, consider the following events all within two weeks of the film can's appearance.  

      My best pal-sailor-artist-writer-machinist extraordinaire, upon my casual mention of the discoveries, mentioned it to his daughter who mentioned it to her landlady whose husband happened to be the Director of the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum.  The Museum it so happened had just finished a Skipjack restoration. The Director as it happened was very-very interested in our find. The Museum it seems was planning a summer exhibit on Skipjacks and proposed displaying and later touring the found photographs.

     Coincidences happen I know.  Still, the near perfect timing of all these chance events remains, plus a couple of more things. The negatives and transparencies, with new technology, were digitally restorable and I had the software and the ability to do the restoration, which wouldn’t have been the case even a few months before. 

(Incidentally, the four plus decades old 16mm Ektachrome film also turned out to be in near perfect condition, getting us all excited about the chance of editing a show from it someday).   


     You decide, but the little red box of negatives did surface 45 years later just as the world around me “aligned” for the images to phoenix their way into the 21st century .  

     Serendipity -- for me the only, if somewhat illogical conclusion. 

  … Welcome to “Skipjack Sunday.”

Skipjack Sunday Home Page

The first pages posted about the Skipjack find including a gallery of frame captures from the film original. 

Impression from Skipjack image "Bow Hook"


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