The cold rain kept us tucked in our cozy room most of the morning, but about noon we ventured out. After going by the Verizon store to ask why we kept getting kicked off the Internet by our air card (nice guy, best answer - the network doesn't work as well near water....) we went to the waterfront to see if any part of the festival hadn't been canceled because of the bitterly cold wind and rain.
We found a lively enough group in a warm tent down by the water listening to Them Eastport Oyster Boys. But since food was being served, Madison was forbidden, so we wandered down to look at the tall ships. They were supposed to be sailing and for $25, a person could go along, but the sails were canceled due to gale warnings. We got a kick out of looking at the ships though. The Kalmar Nyckel from Wilmington, Del., was most impressive. It is a re-creation of the first Swedish settlement ship to arrive in America. She's ornately carved with a wonderful cast of characters including a dog sticking its tongue out. She was launched in the fall of 1997. And did I mention that she's huge! She's 148 feet LOA with a 25-foot beam. The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation owns the present Kalmar Nyckel and uses her for educational purposes and as an ambassador for the state of Delaware. In 1638, the original Kalmar Nyckel brought a colony of Swedish, Finnish, German and Dutch settlers to the Delaware Valley where they established a permanent settlement called New Sweden in present-day Wilmington, Del. Kalmar Nyckel crossed the Atlantic round-trip four times, more than any other ship of the era.
A history by a descendant of a Kalmar Nyckel settler
We were freezing and though I would have loved to stand around and admire her for much longer, we moved on. On another dock we watched the "ship's doctor" use a very 20th century plastic pump to clear the bilge of a "jolly boat," the smallest tender a British ship of the Age of Sail would have carried. At 17 feet, she would have been stacked inside three other shore-going boats on the deck of a ship, or so her sailing master "Alastar Smee" by name, told us. We came upon "Alastar" (whose 21st century name is Patrick) as he was tugging on one of the lines holding "Vigilant" to the dock. Their ship's doctor was a midwife pressed into service when the real ship's doctor became indisposed, he said. The jolly boat was the easiest to launch and was used by the captain when he went ashore and for ferrying mail and supplies back and forth to the ship. "Alastar" speculated that the name "jolly" might have been attached to the boat because the crew that rowed her ashore had a chance to become "jolly" before returning. Vigilant was built in 1991 and belongs to Lloyd Robbins. She's a reconstruction of an 18th Century jolly boat from the ship Columbia commanded by a Captain Gray who explored the mouth of the Columbia River in 1792, according to the sign posted next to her.
There was so much to see but it was soooooo COLD. We tramped down every dock, but the wind was so strong it threatened to snatch my day pack out of my hands everytime I took it off my back. We finally retreated to the car and drove down the charming tree-lined streets with brick sidewalks around Chestertown's harbor heading for the outskirts where we could find fast food and coffee. We drove around a bit exploring the town, then camped out in the Verizon parking lot to connect to the Internet for a few minutes. Afterward, Robert brought me back to Rock Hall and he went back for a program at 5 p.m. about the building of Sultana.