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"Finally, as the tide lowered, Lonnie poled along slowly, scanning the bottom, looking for the tell-tale signs of the resting flounder. The animal would have wiggled and squirmed until the flat body was barely visible, embedded in a lite covering of sand. But the outline of the flounder could still be detected to his trained eyes.
With the change of the tide and rising water, Lonnie would turn his skiff towards home. His night’s work was over. Some nights the catch would be a dozen or more large ones and very rewarding. Perhaps a small “fluke” or two
as well. The flounders would be unloaded at Henry’s fish house and his skiff anchored until the next time.
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The night’s work was lonely, perhaps, but rewarding in more ways than one. How else could one spend hours polling quietly in shallow waters dotted with scallop and clam spouts and sea squirts and sea weeds and shells of animals long gone.
On dark nights he would be able to see millions of stars. The Milky Way would look as if someone had freshly painted innumerable stars and galaxies overhead from the southern Shackleford horizon stretching all the way to the sky above Shell Point at the east end of the Island. South of Shackleford there is nothing but ocean waters for thousands of miles, all the way to Brazil. The sky is black with
twinkling diamonds.
Early in the evening hours in mid-July the ecliptic would be low with the Scorpion and Tea Pot just over the Shackleford tree tops. Later in the evening,
towards midnight, the flounder fisherman poling along the shallow waters in the lee of Shackleford could have seen the Great Square of Pegasus rising over Core Bank and the Big Dipper would be low in the northwest. In those days the Island was still dark with no lights washing out the night sky. If he looked west all he would have seen were the dim lights of Beaufort.
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CRANEY
Impressions
Core Sound Waterfowl Museum