Miles River ecology cruise aboard Winnie Estelle at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

On Tuesday, June 14 from 1:30-3:00 p.m., children and adults are invited to join CBMM Director of Education Kate Livie aboard the buy boat Winnie Estelle for a personal exploration of the Miles River and its unique habitat and ecology. The cruise will be offered again on Thursday, August 4 from 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Cruise aboard Winnie Estelle

Cruise aboard Winnie Estelle

The historic buyboat departs with limited passengers from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, where she joined the museum’s historic floating fleet in 2014.

During the ecology cruise, participants will learn how to monitor the water quality of the river, perform water testing, and explore the critters on an oyster reef. Birders will enjoy the route, known for its eagle and osprey population and heron rookery.

Buyboats were used to haul seafood and cargo along Chesapeake Bay waterways before many of the Bay’s peninsulas were connected by bridges. As the seafood harvest declined and highways became the mode of travel, the large graceful buyboats faded from local waters, leaving no more than 30 of the oyster buyboats remaining on the Bay.

Built in 1920 by Noah T. Evans—a native Smith Islander—Winnie Estelle was used as a workboat on the lower Chesapeake for more than 50 years, carrying seafood and produce to market across the Bay. In the 1970s, she made Belize her port of call, where she operated as an island trader, carrying lumber from Honduras to Belize, and later as a charter boat for divers. She returned to the Chesapeake in 2012.

Winnie Estelle runs four daily cruises on Fridays through Mondays beginning each May and continuing through October, with same-day tickets purchased at the museum. Winnie is additionally available for private charters and will be participating in the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association’s 12th annual Buyboat Reunion, which will be in St. Michaels, Md. August 11-14, 2016.

Boarding passes for the June 14 and August 4 ecology cruises are $15 for CBMM members and $20 for non-members, with reservations made by contacting Allison Speight at [email protected] or 410-745-4941. For more information about Winnie Estelle, visit