Krogens Cruise The Rappahannock
With Solveig IV’s anchor securely aboard, first mate Barbara Holum performs her ritual anchor dance before a packed pilothouse.
major part to diverge from our well-worn routes and
see something new.
Capt. Smith’s party had a guide with local knowledge.
We had two. On his earlier venture up the Potomac,
Smith had acquired a Wicocomico friend and adviser
named Mosco, who caught up with the party again on
the Rappahannock. As he had previously, Mosco offered
sound advice on relations with warring tribes, which
Smith improvidently discounted, thus building on his
inventory of nasty encounters with the locals.
Drawing the appropriate lesson, we listened intently
to our own guides and mentors: John Page Williams, a
Chesapeake Bay Foundation senior naturalist, author,
and virtual walking website on the Bay’s history and
condition, and his colleague Bill Portlock, another
longtime CBF educator and also a brilliant photographer
and contributor to Williams’ beautifully rendered
National Geographic book, Chesapeake: Exploring the
Water Trail of Captain John Smith. With their help, we
were able to easily find the friendliest members of the
local populace and “trade” for delectables at every stop.
Finally, like Smith, we were something of a curiosity.
As we motored up the river beyond Tappahannock,
snapping pictures of topography and wildlife, we noticed
a few spectators along the shoreline with their cameras
aimed our way. We even drew the attention of the law,
as I’ll explain later.
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
The expedition got under way in Deltaville on May
18, a Sunday afternoon. We assembled at Deltaville
Marina on Jackson Creek, on the Piankatank River side
of the town. We first gathered formally midday Sunday
for a picnic lunch under a shade tarp at an outdoor
site at the marina. Deltaville Community Association
President Bob Walker came to welcome us. He had to
speak loudly to be heard over the clatter of the tarp
snapping in the wind, and concentrate to keep his
message straight as we periodically lunged after food
skittering off the table.
Walker also was the perfect host at the Deltaville
Maritime Museum, where visitors can see one of three
shallop replicas constructed on the Bay to commemorate
Smith’s explorations. Expert volunteer craftspeople at the
museum also are lovingly restoring a 1924 nine-log-bottom Chesapeake buyboat, F.D. Crockett. Once a
leading site for building boats, especially those of the
solid and swift deadrise design favored by generations of