Writing Sample: Queen Conch

Text and Photos Copyright Matt Claiborne, 2018.

Queen Conch (Strombus gigas)

No animal epitomizes these islands more than the Queen Conch (pronounced “konk”). These large sea snails are so embedded in island life that they appear on the national coat of arms and all coins and bills. Walking around settlements and beaches, you will see shells everywhere. Piles will be littered around fish cleaning tables, where conchers punch the upper shell to remove the animal to make cracked conch. In less populated areas and in deeper water, you will likely see these unusual creatures pulling their heavy shells around with their large operculum or pointed foot.
Conch eggs only take three days to hatch, and the female can lay up to half a million eggs at a time. As with many ocean species, only a tiny fraction of these eggs will make it to adulthood. Conch begin life as free-swimming larvae with no shell and are known as “veligers.” After two months, conch sink to the bottom and begin metamorphosis. …

Writing Sample: Running the ICW

Originally published on

Running the ICW: 10 Tips for Newbies
Text and photos copyright Matt Claiborne, 2017.

Matt: “Why is that guy hugging that green channel marker so closely?” CRASH.
Lucy: “Gosh, that catamaran looks way out of the channel!” CRASH!

Fun fact: when only one keel of a catamaran runs aground, it spins violently! Pretty fun to smugly watch from a free floating vessel, but we bet it’s shocking to be aboard. Hopefully, we can continue to be smug.

But we don’t like to get too smug. We did have a few close calls (we draw 4 feet and we consider anything less than 6 too skinny!). We got to 5.2 at one spot outside of McClellanville, SC. We saw it coming and were going very slow. Nothing happened, we made it fine.

Now we know what you are saying, “there’s two types of sailors, those that have run aground and those that have lied about it.” And that may be true. When we bought our first boat to live aboard, a 32-foot monohull, we ran hard aground minutes after ca…

Vector Artwork Projects

All artwork and photography copyright Matt Claiborne, 2018.

Food Photography: St. Patrick's Day Menu

All photography copyright Matt Claiborne, 2018.

Writing Sample: Hope Town

A Visit to Hope Town, The Abacos, Bahamas by Matt Claiborne
With its candy-striped lighthouse overlooking a protected harbor full of happy sailors, the settlement of Hope Town is the perfect island getaway. A twenty-minute ferry ride from the larger city of Marsh Harbor brings you to the idyllic town, which is situated on tiny Elbow Cay. The town’s pedestrian-only roads are lined with charming, colorful cottages and friendly shops.
The ocean surrounds Elbow Cay. A beautiful, white sand beach fringed with turquoise blue-green water awaits visitors on the eastern shore of the island. Snorkeling, diving, and fishing are all great ways to enjoy the spectacular reef system that surrounds Hope Town and the other islands of the Abacos.
A popular spot for cruising sailors and charter boat skippers alike, Hope Town Harbor is often crowded with boats of every description, tightly packed and swinging contentedly on their moorings. The harbor is lined with docks for restaurants, inns, hotels and priv…