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Explorer Society events planned

Kaptain Krunch mans the helm of the John Smith replica “Explorer” as he schools a new group of visitors in the fine art of 1600s rowing technique at last year’s Working Waterman’s Weekend at the Deltaville Maritime Museum. The Explorer now boasts a new sail rig and is currently being spruced by the newly-formed Explorer Society for the 2012 season of trips and events.

by Bill Powell
Events Director
Maritime Museum

Do you enjoy “messin’ around” on boats?

Interested in the maritime history of Colonial times?

Enjoy getting out on the water? Wearing authentic costumes?

Do you want to get involved in historical reenactments and festivals on the water?

If any of these are the case, then the newly-formed “Explorer Society” at the Deltaville Maritime Museum is for you.

Come on out and join in the adventure!

For those of you who don’t know, “Explorer” is the authentic replica, built in 2006 by the Maritime Museum, of the 1600s shallop Captain John Smith and his crew used to explore and map the Chesapeake Bay. Three were built for the 2007 Quadra centennial celebrations, but the Explorer is the only shallop of the three still seaworthy. Explorer was built using detailed research from the Calvert Museum in Maryland.

The Deltaville Maritime Museum, whose mission is to preserve the maritime history of bay-working watermen, considers Explorer as the first working craft on the Bay, VA 00000001.

The Deltaville Maritime Museum Explorer Society is a dedicated crew of volunteers who maintain, sail, row, steer, navigate, and enjoy themselves on the Explorer throughout the Chesapeake Bay waterways.  The Explorer Society crewmates are enthusiastic volunteers whose mission is to educate the public on the historical significance and sheer fun (or not) of the shallop, especially on its use in the Chesapeake Bay, through hands-on demonstrations and public participation.

The Explorer shallop and crew add flair and historical accuracy to boating celebrations such as the Blackbeard Festival, by creating an active waterfront to mimic, and in some cases duplicate, the busyness of ship activity of yesteryear. The shallop, under full sail or under a full crew of oarsman, is a true head-turner on the waterfront.  You truly need to see the command “Ship Oars!” to fully appreciate!

The Explorer crew uses traditional verbal sailing and rowing commands as used in 1608 and dress the part in period costumes so a real living history is felt.  

The Explorer crew routinely takes the public for rowing and sailing adventures to experience what it was like to row and sail an open, engine-less, wooden shallop as did the crew of Captain John Smith. Most visitor crews ask, “How the heck did they do this for 181 days?” This was the duration of Smith’s first exploratory expedition.

Society members are currently putting together a schedule of fun events and trips for 2012 to show off the Explorer and put on authentic exhibitions at various locations on the bay. The current list of events is listed below. Meetings are generally on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. Practices will be scheduled at meetings and announced in the Sentinel.

Saturday, April 28, “Working Watermen’s Weekend,” 9 a.m.-2 p.m., the official season opening of the museum. There will be creek rides, classic workboat exhibits, and breakfast at 8 a.m. This is an all-day event.

Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, Middle Bay Boat Show at Norview Marina.

Saturday, May 26, Deltaville Farmers’ Market, 9 a.m.-l p.m. with Billz Bistro open at 8 a.m.

Deltaville Maritime Museum and Holly Point Nature Park is a non-profit organization at 287 Jackson Creek Road and on Mill Creek. Turn right off Route 33 across from the Shell Station to get there.

Holly Point Nature Park, the Pierwalk and all other outside exhibits, gardens and facilities are open dawn to dusk throughout the year, except during pre-announced private events.

To find out more, visit, email or call 776-7200.

posted 04.11.2012

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