Captain John Smith - Voyage of Discovery on the Chesapeake - 1608/2007 - Four Hundred Year Project



Kayaking Inspired Gifts - Sales Help Support This Site




A 400 year re-enactment of John's Smiths voyage of discovery on the Chesapeake will begin May 12, 2007. Retracing the route of Smith's voyages, the authentic shallop, a small shallow draft vessel, will visit many sites as it is rowed and sailed the 222 mile length of the Bay.







Leaving Jamestown on June 2, 1608, Captain John Smith and fourteen fellow colonists left the new colony to explore the rich bay in which they had located their new home. They traveled in a shallow two-piece barge called a shallop. This 30 foot long heavy boat could be carried in the hold of larger ships thanks to the two part design. Call the "Discovery Barge" by Smith and his crew, it carried two sails, a main of lateen design and a jib. It was also provided for two banks of singles oars. The shallop has lee boards to keep from side slipping while sailing.

Smith made his voyage is two parts. Leaving Jamestown, he sailed Northeast to Cape Charles and proceeded north along the shallow shoreline. Exploring the Pokomoke, a narrow and deep river of blackwater and cypress, he sailed up as far as present day Snow Hill. Back in the Bay, he explored Tangier and Smith Islands. Returning to the coast, he sailed up the Nanticoke, perhaps as far as Seaford Delaware. Short on drinking water in the brackish marsh, he turned west to the opposite shore, sailing as far north as the Potapsco where Baltimore Harbor is now located. With many of his crew ill, he turned back south toward Jamestown. But on the way, they found the mouth of the Potomac river. Enticed by thoughts of finding gold as the Spaniards had in their colonies, they spent a month searching for it, getting as far up river as possible. Turned back by the Great Falls on the west side of present day Washington D.C. they did not find the precious metal that they were looking for. But they did find an oyster bar off the mouth of the Potomac that was over seven miles long. It held more riches than any mine they might have ever have hoped for. But it would be until the late 1800s before that resource was strip mined to oblivion.

National Geographic Video

Returning to Jamestown from the Potomac, he set out on the second leg of his journey after three days rest. This time they journeyed all the way to the head of the bay. There they found the great river named for the local tribe of exceptionally tall Indians, the Susquehannock. They turned back at the falls locate a few miles up the river from the bay. A water route to the Pacific, the fabled Northwest passage that would be pursued for the next 200 years, was not to be found here.

They explored the other rivers at the head of the bay, the Northeast, Elk and Sassafras. All these rivers are mostly tidal and do not go far into the interior, unlike the Susquehanna, which starts in upstate New York. Heading back down the bay once more, he explored the Patuxent River and Rappahannock River to their fall lines.

John Smith's voyage was the first thorough and systematic exploration by a European in the Chesapeake Bay. He made the first encounter with many of the indigenous tribes. He drew the first map of the Bay, one that was used for many decades as European settlement preceded in the precariously held colony.

A replica of the shallop has been constructed using native timber and traditional wood shipbuilding techniques by the Sultana Project out of Chestertown, Maryland. The shallop will be on display at the Maryland State house from January 17. 2006 until March. Then it will visit various museums around the Bay area until the voyage re-enactment in May 2007 when 14 intrepid explorers will embark on a 127 day, 1500 mile journey tracing Smith's original expedition. The trip will raise awareness and support for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Water Trail celebrating the unique history and environment of the Chesapeake Bay.

"Spanning the length of the Bay from the Virginia Capes to the Susquehanna Flats and encompassing the tidal waters of all the Bay’s major tributaries, the Chesapeake National Water Trail will unite more than 1,500 miles of waterways into a single, comprehensive network of trails equivalent in scope to the Appalachian Trail. Following in the wake of John Smith, kayakers, canoeists, small boat skippers, and cruisers will have an opportunity to experience North America’s greatest estuary in a manner that will encourage them to explore its natural and human history."

"The Captain John Smith Four-Hundred Project is an undertaking of Sultana Projects, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization based in Chestertown, Maryland, best known for providing educational programs on board its reproduction of the 1768 schooner Sultana. The Captain John Smith Four Hundred Project is being developed as a signature product for the Friends of the Chesapeake National Water Trail, a group whose founders include Gilbert Grosvenor, Chairman of the National Geographic Society, William Baker, President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Patrick Noonan, Chairman Emeritus of The Conservation Fund. The mission of the Friends of the Chesapeake National Water Trail is to celebrate the unique history and environment of the Chesapeake Bay by creating a lasting legacy for future generations through the establishment of America’s first National Water Trail. Legislation authorizing a feasibility study of the proposed trail by the National Park Service was approved by Congress on July 26 and signed by President Bush on August 2.

For additional information please visit: www.johnsmith400.org
or contact Drew McMullen; dmcmullen@schoonersultana.org, 410-829-4380 "


Sp






Forum




EVEN THE BEST BOATERS CAN FIND THEMSELVES IN SERIOUS TROUBLE ON THE MILDEST OF DAYS ON THE WATER. PARTICIPATION IN THIS SPORT IS A STRENUOUS ACTIVITY. CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY SUCH ACTIVITY. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT EACH BOATER TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS OR HER OWN SAFETY, AND IS TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSESSING THE DANGER LEVEL AND ACCEPTING THE CONSEQUENCES OF PARTICIPATING IN THIS SPORT.


SeaKayak Chesapeake bay makes no representations and extends no warranties of any type as to the accuracy or completeness of any information or content on this website.This website is for informational purposes only. All of the information provided on this website is provided "AS-IS" and with NO WARRANTIES. No express or implied warranties of any type, including for example implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, are made with respect to the information, or any use of the information, on this site.


Maps and map related products available on this website, including but not limited to imagery, data, and data sources are hereby specifically identified as being unsuitable for use in navigation. By using any of these products or services, you have agreed to these terms, whether or not the map or any other use is labeled “Not for Navigation”.

Copyright on original material by Sea Kayak Chesapeake Bay TM 2001 through 2019. All rights reserved.

S

k