Captain John and Julie Van Alstine
Southern Anne Arundel County, MD
John Van Alstine grew up in Howard County but relocated to Southern Anne Arundel County to work as a waterman about 15 years ago. In addition to full-time work on the Bay, John is very active in the waterman's association, and regularly provides programming for area heritage organizations and maritime museums. Harvesting on the Chesapeake Bay requires a commitment from the whole family, and Julie has been an important part of the family's success on the water by working as crew aboard the family boat, assisting with the shedding floats and business operations.
John carries a 100-ton USCG Master’s License and regularly carries guests onboard his vessel to experience a day of working on the water. Trips are highly flexible and Captain John takes pride in providing his guests with a combination of education and entertainment while onboard.
Tours are primarily in the West and Rhode Rivers but can be customized to include trips to Annapolis, Solomons, the Bay Bridge, Baltimore, the Choptank and Eastern Bay. Trips are offered throughout the year and correlate with the commercial fishing season. In spring and summer up to 6 guests can board one hour before sunrise and head out for a trotlining trip. After you catch your limit of blue crabs you can help Captain John pull some of his commercial crab pots in the main stem of the Bay. You will be back home in early afternoon just in time to take your catch home and invite your friends over for a crab feast.
Fall and winter trips are based on the oyster-harvesting season. Up to 4 guests can experience the hard work of hand-tonging or patent-tonging on both public oyster bars and the Alstine’s 34-acres of leased bottom ground. While on the water you will learn about the history, politics, and economics of the oyster industry in the Chesapeake Bay all while being surrounded by the boats of one of the last wild-harvest oyster fleets in the nation.
Photo cruises, lighthouse tours, and other styles of trips can be arranged. Guests are provided with water but should bring their own snacks, beverages, sunscreen, and warm clothes (during oyster season). The nature of these trips makes them highly weather dependent and the Captain reserves the right to cancel trips due to unsafe conditions.