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Jan 19, 2006

Replica Of Boat Used In Historic Expedition Completed

A replica of the 30-foot shallop used by Captain John Smith to make his historic 1608 exploration of the Chesapeake Bay was unveiled at a ceremony yesterday. The boat. which was built using 17th century tools and construction techniques, will be exhibited at the Maryland State House and then in museums throughout the U.S. and England this year.

On May 12, 2007, the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia, the shallop and a crew of 14 will embark on a 127-day, 1,500-mile reenactment of Smith'’s historic expedition. As posted previously, Smith's expedition resulted in a map, of the Chesapeake Bay area, which was published in England in 1612. The map is a valuable snapshot of what the bay looked like at the time of the first European contact.

One question that remains about Smith's incredible exploration is how did he cover so much of the Nanticoke River in so little time? Smith's records seem to indicate that he made the voyage, preparing a detailed map of both sides of the Nanticoke River, in just three days, while many of his crew were ill. It will be interesting to see how much of the river a modern-day crew can cover each day.