by Alicia Pimental
August 01, 2007
A replica of the shallop Captain John Smith used to explore the Chesapeake anchored at City Dock in Annapolis on July 14 for two days of festivities that focused on the Bay's history and environment.
The shallop — a 17th century-style boat — and its 12-member crew are retracing Smith's voyages, stopping at various points along the route to showcase their journey and educate the public about the Bay.
Smith's original voyage 400 years ago paved the way for the English colonization of Virginia and subsequent settling of the New World. In December 2006, Congress authorized the nation's first all-water trail, naming it the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail to commemorate the voyage.
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley joined the shallop crew in rowing the final mile of the leg from Eastport into Annapolis Harbor. Along with the John Smith crew and their exhibit, environmental and historical groups provided interactive displays and activities.
- Several species of wildlife were present, including terrapins and oysters.
- There were ample opportunities to learn about how the Bay has been degraded over the last 400 years and what people can do to help restore it.
- Groups participating in the event included the Bay Program, Chesapeake Bay Gateways, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Annapolis Maritime Museum and the Historic Annapolis Foundation.
The modern-day shallop crew began its journey from Jamestown, Virginia, just as Smith did in 1608. From its departure on May 12 to its arrival in Annapolis on July 14, the crew sailed and rowed approximately 700 miles. By the voyage's end, the shallop will have covered 1,500 miles and spent 121 days traveling to the headwaters of almost every tributary of the Bay.
Those interested in following the shallop as it travels the Chesapeake can visit www.johnsmith400.org for daily updates. The shallop's remaining stops are Baltimore and St. Leonard, Maryland, and Tappahannock, Fredericksburg and Deltaville, Virginia, before returning to Jamestown on September 8.
The John Smith project is the work of Sultana Projects, Inc. For more information about the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, stay tuned to www.nps.gov/cajo.