The Mystique of Tangier Island   2 comments

In January, I moved to Baltimore to complete the NIH portion of my DPhil work. Working with the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and collaborators at Johns Hopkins Electrophysiology, I am investigating the use of MRI during interventional cardiology procedures. The research is fantastic, and as difficult as it is personally to leave Oxford, I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with friends and family back home, and getting back into flying after a nearly two-year hiatus.

My most recent airborne adventure was a trip to Tangier Island with Léa, an old friend from my amazing high school. Tangier Island is a unique place — fairly isolated from the rest of the Eastern Shore, let alone the rest of the world, it is served only by occasional boats and a small landing strip. The isolated locals have survived as a crabbing and oystering town, where they get around on golf carts and speak a dialect held over from Restoration era English. Wandering the town felt like walking through a hybrid folksy historical drama turned pre-surprise horror movie. The town’s first high-speed internet connection in 2010 spurred this ESPN commercial, and for the past couple of decades most of their health care was provided by one doctor who flew there to volunteer on his weekly day off. The whole Wikipedia article is worth a read if you get the chance.

On the aviation side, Tangier’s airfield is in the realm of Naval Air Station Patuxent, home of the US Navy’s Test Pilot School and various weapons ranges. The AFD entry for Tangier helpfully points out “Be alert Restricted Area 1 mile west of arpt, hi-speed acft drop bombs and fire live ammunition in area.” With this bit of advice, Léa and I (alertly) flew to Tangier in a Diamond DA20, hoping to taste local crabs. Unfortunately, it turns out crabbing is a seasonal industry in Tangier. Even if crabs were available, the town was closed on account of the local school basketball tournament — every family seemed to have a child playing. One of the locals gave us a golf cart ride over to the tournament, and we set off for the dusk flight back to Baltimore. But hear this, Tangier: we will return, and we will eat crab.

Photo Mar 09, 17 45 54

Posted 10 Mar 2013 by John McManigle in Adventure, Flying

2 responses to The Mystique of Tangier Island

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  1. and you shall take me with you? :-D

  2. Pingback: Le Bleu Ridge Adventure | Oxford Echoes

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