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Precious days with Cap'n Wilson

Tom Neale first met waterman Cap'n Wilson Rowe on a fine spring morning. Tom and his family had just returned to Chesapeake Bay from the Bahamas, and he saw that the waterman was working his nets while heading into the Piankatank River. An exchange of fresh fish and a subsequent conversation in the local auto-parts store led the pair to discover their common love of the water and a shared dislike of bureaucrats and politicians.

Dim lights

Tom Neale shares tales and photos of Chesapeake Bay waterman Cap'n Wilson Rowe. Mobile user can click here to watch it on YouTube.

From that first meeting, Neale sought out Cap'n Wilson every time he put in at Gwynns Island, Va.

"I'd sometimes go out to work the nets with him, just to learn what it was like and to help in whatever way I could," Neale writes in the August issue of Soundings. "I'd hear him hollering over the low rumble of his engine as he approached our boat at O'Dark Thirty: 'Cap'n Tom, get outta that baid and come on out here and do some real work.' "

Click here to purchase the two-DVD set "Cruising the East Coast with Tom Neale," full of helpful how-to tips. Special features include a seldom-seen manatee "Pect Walk" and a poker run on a high-performance powerboat.

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Comments (3) Comments are closed
3 Wednesday, 08 September 2010 16:10
Debbie Buchanan
I have lived on Gwynn's Island all my 53 years. I knew Wilson (Googa) was his nickname). Hardworking man, remember seeing him out there in his field working on his nets. Had to be done a particular way...so sad watermen are a vanishing breed, no other art form like it. No one loved Gwynn's Island or the surrounding waters more than Googa! He was a part of Gwynn's Island never to be forgotten.
2 Friday, 13 August 2010 19:44
john ennis
Knew many like him when I lived on the Chesapeake..They didn't draw welfare checks but bent to..12 or more hard working hours a day to put food on the table and pay bills. a tradition that fades with each sunset.
1 Friday, 13 August 2010 14:12
Ed
I enjoyed your tale of Cap'n Wilson. Everyone should be so lucky to have a Cap'n Wilson in their lives.

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