Beginning this August, you can mail your cards and letters with a nod to one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most unique historical sites: the “ghost fleet” of Mallows Bay, as photographed by a talented Annapolis-area environmental photographer.
Peter Turcik remembers the moment well. He had been kayaking and photographing Mallows Bay all day. It was August 2016—hot, muggy, and with plenty of bugs.
But the light was perfect when he came across the shipwreck at low tide, its graceful, yet gnarled, wooden bow arching out of the water and the sun setting behind it. He grabbed his camera, laid on his belly hoping not to drift too far before snapping the perfect photo.
In 2020, the United States Post Office approached him. They wanted to use his photograph in a collection of 16 postal stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuaries.
Managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Sanctuary System consists of 15 underwater wildlife sanctuaries and two marine monuments found along the US coastlines, the Great Lakes, Hawaii and American Samoa. Mallows Bay-Potomac River, known for its ghost fleet of over 100 shipwrecks visible from the water’s surface, was designated as a National Marine Sanctuary in 2019.
“It is surreal,” says Turcik, an Edgewater, Md. resident who works as a writer, photographer, videographer and editor of Fisheries magazine. “I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors and I feel honored to have one of my photographs selected.” He began photographing Mallows Bay while working as a media specialist for Chesapeake Conservancy, an Annapolis-based non-profit dedicated to the conservation of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
“I’ve followed Peter’s photography for a number of years,” says Jody Hedeman Couser, Senior Vice President of Communications for Chesapeake Conservancy. “He never ceases to astound me with his ability to capture a sense of place or a moment in time. He is extraordinarily talented.”
The new Forever stamp series showcases the diverse wildlife and underwater ecosystems found within the 63,000 square miles that make up the National Marine Sanctuary System. The collection is currently available for pre-order at usps.com/stamps. It will be available for purchase at most Post Offices on and after August 5.
Turcik’s photography can be viewed on his website: peterturcik.com.