Take the family on a treasure quest on the Chesapeake Bay this summer and unravel a centuries-old maritime mystery.
The inaugural Big Bay Hunt will run from Memorial Day to Labor Day and is based on the recently unearthed diary of a sailor named Matthew C. Henry who hailed from a sleepy tobacco farm in Southern Maryland. Henry signed on with the US Navy in the days when British ships were plundering towns and farms along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. He chronicled his voyage in a diary and the cryptic notes revealed he had a secret quest that was linked to his patriotic duty. One night, a storm blew across the bay and sank Henry’s ship. There were no survivors. A trunk carrying his diary washed ashore and was stored in the attic of a home on the Eastern Shore and centuries later was discovered and handed over to the Chesapeake Maritime Historical Society.
Using his diary as a guide, naval archaeologists retraced Henry’s journey and created a list of ports he visited. Experts investigated each location but the mystery remains unsolved. That’s where your family comes in.
Follow in Henry’s footsteps to decipher cryptic messages from the pages of his diary and figure out what he was seeking on the Bay. The hunt will take you to nine waterfront establishments where mysterious clues are stashed. Gather clues from each location to reach a final solution. Winners receive prizes at the end of the summer.
How the Big Bay Hunt works
- The Big Bay Hunt map shows nine Chesapeake Bay locations mentioned in Matthew’s diary.
- At each location find the Big Bay Hunt clue and solve the diabolical puzzle. You must visit all locations during the summer, but you do not have to visit each location in any particular order.
- The solution to eight of the nine clues is a single word. Enter each one–word solution in the KEY and then combine the eight words for the final solution — something Matthew Clement Henry was seeking.
- A clearly marked Bonus Clue is included — but the solution is not a single word. Warning: This one is tough!
- Enter this solution in the KEY as an added bonus to help you solve the mystery.
- Once you have unraveled the mystery, e-mail your final solution to email@example.com. Winners will receive great prizes at the end of the summer and will be invited to attend a post-hunt party in Baltimore.
Hunt destinations include:
- Big Owl Tiki Bar in Grasonville
- Bridges Restaurant in Grasonville
- Cheshire Crab Restaurant in Pasadena
- Hard Yacht Café in Dundalk
- Little Havana Restaurant in Baltimore
- Passages Bar & Grill in Rock Hall
- The Point Crab House & Grill in Arnold
- Rowboat Willie’s Dock Bar in Sparrows Point
- St. Michaels Crab & Steak House in St. Michaels
“The clues are challenging and fun to figure out. It’s all about exploring fantastic Bay destinations while enjoying a unique adventure and friendly competition,” say Susan and Bill Wade, authors of the Big Bay Hunt and the travel guides, Crab Decks & Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Big Bay Hunt is free and open to the public.To register visit the Marina Life website and get instructions, sponsor locations and a printable treasure map for your hunt. Pick up a copy of the Marinalife Chesapeake Bay Edition for a treasure map and more details about the hunt.