P.O. Box 91
Gloucester, North Carolina
Notes from the Field - "Cherokee" Huckins Restoration Project
September 18, 2003
Hurricane preparations were underway, as Isabel seemed intent on making a beeline for the Huckins site in
Gloucester! Isabel's eye was expected to cross Carteret County Thursday at noon, with an eight to
ten foot storm surge, the likes of which has not been seen in this area for many decades. The crew prepared
for Category 2 winds by securing Cherokee in the middle of the creek where she has less
chance of getting battered. The guys also secured all loose debris inside the Huckins as well as the
surrounding yard and shed. Bryan figured the Cherokee would fare well, but he wasn't so
sure about all that plastic that's covering the facility!
The Huckins Tied Down and Ready for Isabel
Below, Bryan's surveying various lines from the trusty canoe. The creek is usually full of boats and is
crisscrossed with spiderwebs of rope, but it's less crowded during this hurricane because a lot of
fishermen happen to be shrimping in South Carolina. Bottom right shows Casey
guarding two tie-up points - the tree in front of him and the massive oak behind him. According to Lloyd
Pigott, deceased fisherman and pioneer Claude Brown was "never happy until he tied up to that big oak
during a storm."
Big Chief Huck-A-Buck and Little Brown Happy Mutt
Battening Down, Cap'n!
Above, Bryan's securing the storage boxes on Cherokee's bow. Below, the windows are freshly
sealed to prevent water leakage, and strapped down tight.
Hurricane Preparations Underway
Isabel is here and it's a direct hit! Bryan checked on the Cherokee about 4:00am as Isabel was just
strutting her stuff, but the boat was good and secure. The storm struck with a vengeance about 11:00 am, and the pictures below were
taken after the eye passed overhead and the winds shifted out of the southwest.
A View of Isabel from Cherokee's Bow
"The Cherokee has no damage," reports Bryan. "But there's more water down there than
I've ever seen. We've got eighteen inches in the shop." The plastic withstood an amazing
amount of punishment, but the back wall of the facility was blown out. Folks are comparing the storm surge
from Isabel to the '33 storm. The villages of Cedar Island, Atlantic, and Sea Level are especially
flooded. Nobody in eastern Carolina has power, and some half million people will be dining to candlelight tonight.
Cherokee Sitting Pretty, High Tide in the Shed
Lloyd Pigott got water in his shed as well, but all boats are fine. The truck shown below
has a vessel's rope tied to it. If there's no tree or piling available, fishermen will find a way to secure
the means of their livelihood!
A View of Lloyd Pigott's Railway from Blake's Office
"My boy Bubby stayed on the Miss Mogie during Hugo in South Carolina," recalls J.M. Brown as he tied up the
Lady Beth. "He ran her down near Conway and tied up to some cypress trees. The crowd from Salter Path stayed
in McClellanville and ended up with their boats on the marsh!" What could possess fishermen to stay aboard
during a screaming storm? "That's the place to be during a hurricane," J.M. grins. "You rise with the water!"
Some fishermen keep their engines running and pretend they have a little control. But lots of big trawlers
ended up scattered along marshes, fields, streets, and yards after Hugo, as you can see in the movie Forrest
Gump. Bryan decided to lend a hand to Tarheel fishermen that October of '89, so he spent a week in McClellanville getting vessels on rollers, and edging
them back in the water where they belonged. The fishermen bunking with Bryan appreciated the help, but weren't so
sure about the price - they had to listen to his catterwalling night after night as learned
Cajun fiddle. Signing off for now, Barbara "Fish Doctor" Blake
Blake Boatworks Archive Page
Find Out More About The Huckins:
Check Out FishDoc's New Book! Fish House Opera!
©2002 Blake Boatworks. All rights reserved