On May 7, 2007, a crew of 12 explorers sponsored by the Sultana Education Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Conservation fund set out from Jamestown, Va. to replicate Captain John Smith’s famous 1608 exploration of the Chesapeake Bay. Over the course of the next 121 days, this team lived on a replica of Smith’s 30-foot small boat or “shallop,” rowing and sailing more than 1,500 miles while navigating to the head of nearly every major tributary of our nation’s largest estuary.
Along the way, over 30 public events were held where crew members told the story of Smith’s expedition, the native American cultures he encountered, and the incredible ecosystem of the 17th-century Chesapeake Bay. Over 300,000 visitors attended these events, and the publicity from the voyage led directly to the creation of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Overseen and managed by the National Park Service, the trail is the first all-water National Historic Trail in the history of the United States.
On May 10, the Sultana Education Foundation will reunite the crew of the John Smith shallop on the 10th anniversary of this amazing re-enactment for a retrospective forum at the organization’s new Education Center in Chestertown. Many of the crew members will be seeing each other for the first time since their voyage ended on the shores of Historic Jamestown ten years ago. Accompanied by videos and photos of their 2007 journey, the crew will recount their experiences and remark on the impact the expedition has had on their lives over the past decade.
Representatives of the National Park Sevice and the Chesapeake Conservancy will be on hand to provide introductions for the evening and give an overview of the progress that has been made on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail since its inception.
The John Smith 400 Project Retrospective Forum will begin at 7 p.m. at Sultana’s Education Center at 200 S. Cross St. in Chestertown. Seating is limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. For more information see the John Smith crew, and the Sultana website.