Warner decoded

Or, rather, not.

I rather like it that William W. Warner doesn’t slow down to define every bit of terminology that he uses in Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay. Words like cultch and shunpike (a great word, that) are fairly accessible through desk dictionaries. But the following passage defies lookup:

Presently the Dorolena threads the long, dredged channel into Tangier [Island]’s crowded harbor. Crab ponds and shanties are everywhere, and on shore one can detect busy people shuttling around on bicycles and golf carts. The feeling of having arrived somewhere out-of-the-way is very strong; passengers line the rail in anticipation of setting foot on this dot of land in the emptiest reaches of the Chesapeake. Indeed, for all true nesophiles, the journey on the Dorolena is reason enough to go to Tangier. (ch. 10, p. 244)

The mystery word doesn’t ruin the sense of the paragraph, but what exactly does Warner mean by nesophile? My fat dictionaries downstairs offer no help; online sources likewise. Bing, somewhat inexplicably, offers Anne-Sophie Mutter’s official site.

Is a nesophile a lover of islands? A devotee of hard-working ships like the Dorolena, a freight-passenger-mail vessel in service more than 30 years? Or is it someone who likes being in the middle of nowhere? Was Warner going for mesophile and mistyped?

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