James "Ooker" Eskridge is a 3rd generation waterman and the mayor of Tangier Island, Virginia. Since it sits right out in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, the only way to get there is by ferry. Or private plane.
I met Ooker while researching a feature story for Coastal Living magazine on the people and places along the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
Tangier is truly one of the most unique places I've been, and that's partly because the locals there have their own accent. You'll hear it when you listen to Ooker. Words like "about," "out," "around," "down," and "town" emphasize the Cornish-tinged dialect. Many of the families here trace their roots directly back 300 years to Cornwall, England.
"I enjoy traveling and visiting places in the state and all around," says Ooker. "But it's nice to get back to the island. After I'm away so long, I think I start drying out. I need to get back to the water. I don't want to leave the water too long."