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America's Coastlines | Chesapeake Bay

The Bay

"It is so known through the length and breadth of its watershed. The Bay. There is no possible confusion with any other body of water, no need for more precise description. It is, after all, the continent's largest estuary. Its waters are rich, the main supply of oysters, crabs, clams, and other seafoods for much of the Atlantic seaboard. Its shorelines cradled our first settlements. It is the Chesapeake.

North to south, from the choppy wavelets of the Susquehanna Flats to the rolling surges of the Virginia capes, the Bay measures almost exactly two hundred miles. Alone among its vital statistics, its breadth is not impressive. The extremes are four miles near Annapolis and about thirty miles near the mouth of the Potomac River. In all else the Bay is champion. Its shoreline is prodigious. Put together the great rivers on its western shore: the York, the James, the Susquehanna, and the Potomac. Add the labyrinthine marshes of the Eastern Shore, always capitalized, since it is a land unto itself. The combined shorelines string out to about 4,000 miles, or more than enough to cross the country at its widest..."

In: "Beautiful Swimmers - Watermen Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay" by William W. Warner, 1994 Edition, p. 3. Library Call Number SH380.45.U5 W37.



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Last Updated:
September 30, 2009