Lewes’s bay-and-river pilots continue a 400-year tradition

By Bill Newcott
Photograph by Scott Nathan
From the September 2023 issue


The Ineos Independence is a mile or so ahead of us, headed toward open sea just off Cape Henlopen. Here on the river pilot vessel Brandywine, skipper Jesse Billings is playing catch-up, chasing the blue-and-white merchant ship which, while it has slowed down considerably for the meet-up to come, is nevertheless plowing ahead on its way to the Atlantic.

At less than 600 feet long, the Independence is far from the largest ship to ply these waters. Still, the two enormous white tanks on its deck create an imposing presence. Yesterday it was docked in Marcus Hook, south of Philadelphia, filling those tanks with liquefied natural gas. Like a gridiron waterboy, the Independence spends much of its time these days shuttling between Marcus Hook and Rafnes, Norway, a nine-day trip, alternately filling up with and emptying itself of LNG. 

More parents are taking education into their own hands

By Andrew Sharp
Photograph by Carolyn Watson
From the September 2023 issue


For one cohort of students in southern Delaware, their school experience is missing a notable piece: the school building. 

The youth services librarian at the Rehoboth Beach Public Library, Elizabeth Miller, knows this phenomenon well. She coordinates a regular program that brings area home-schooled students to the library for fun (Sharpie tie-dye shirts, for example) and education (squid dissection). It’s a partnership with the Lewes, Georgetown and Milton libraries, which also host sessions

Oyster hatchery may be the first step in revitalizing a lost industry 

By Maddie Lauria
Photograph by Scott Nathan
From the August 2023 issue


In a nondescript building along the banks of the Broadkill River in Lewes, roughly 1 million babies were born on a warm May day. Not human babies, of course, but baby oysters that could one day thrive in Delaware’s coastal waters.

These budding shellfish are the offspring of a years-long effort to bring a basic component to a fledgling oyster aquaculture industry. They are the first batch spawned in a new hatchery that experts hope will serve Delaware’s growing shellfish aquaculture industry as well as support oyster restoration efforts in Rehoboth and Indian River bays as well as Delaware Bay.