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.
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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; firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-829-4380 "