At William’s Wharf, our primary focus is producing incredible oysters. But that is not all we stand for! We believe that, along with the perfect oystering conditions of William’s Wharf, our history & tradition is what makes us and our oysters truly stand out. We use methods of cultivating and harvesting oysters that are tried and true, so it only makes sense that we use equipment that was an integral part of North Eastern Virginia’s rich history. For these reasons, we are thrilled to launch our newly restored Chesapeake Bay Deadrise, Miss Robin!
This boat is very special to our founder Billy Hooper, and was originally constructed by his father in 1986. This Deadrise is the first boat that was made by Mr. Hooper, and Billy remembers assisting in her construction while he was visiting home from college. Along with the help of Johnny who works here at the oyster farm, and two of Billy’s sons, the boat was completely restored and is now ready to take customers out on tours of the bay, and to check on the oysters around the farm. You can watch her being transported to the dock, below:
A boat’s name is very important! We have been naming them ever since man constructed the very first sea-faring vessel, and we continue to do so today. So why the name “Miss Robin”? Robin was Billy’s first girlfriend at the tender age of 11, and he even named his first working boat, an 18’ skiff after her. Naturally, when they each went away to school the pair lost touch, which was easier to do without cellphones and Facebook. They each married and had children but both of their relationships ultimately ended in divorce. Years along the line, and thanks to the internet, (and the help of a very popular dating site) the two reconnected and it was as if they’d never been apart. “She is my partner in the farm, and in life. No better name for a boat!” The two celebrated their marriage on August 26th of this year.
“We actually have another wooden Dead Rise that is 26’ long. She is named the Eley Girl & we use her for oystering and fishing,” The Eley girl got her name from the teachers at Billy & Robin’s childhood school. The pair were known for being a little wild (Robin more than Billy at times) and as they walked the halls of their school, teachers could be heard murmuring, “There goes Billy and that Eley girl,” and in a way, Billy guesses, they are still saying that all these years later.
Miss Robin is more than just a boat to us at Mobjack Bay Oyster Company. She represents everything we stand for: tradition, history and connection (and of course, unforgettable oysters). We are beyond excited to have her in our fleet, and her journey with us is more than a meaningful restoration: it’s a bit of a love story, too. Watch Miss Robin plunge into William’s Wharf for the very first time: