Day 4: September 23, 2017
Delaware Finale

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We left Philadelphia this morning and headed down to Wilmington, Delaware, to ride a reproduction of the Kalmar Nyckel. There is a small but quite interesting museum next to the dock. We would see a number of models of the Kalmar Nyckel before we were done but I think this one may have been my favorite. It's actually a casting and not a detailed model like the others but the fact that it was created in 1938 as a WPA project makes it kind of special. 1938 marked the tricentennial of the first crossing. The "ship" in second picture doesn't duplicate the Kalmar Nyckel but does hint at some of its features. The third picture shows a small part of the Watercraft of the World exhibit.

Does anyone remember Banacek? Can anyone explain why I do?

In the years 1637-44 the original Kalmar Nyckel made an impressive four round trips for the New Sweden Company. This full scale recreation was launched in 1997.

Captain Sharon welcomed us aboard then left us with First Mate Mat for safety instruction while she saw to the ship's departure. We were soon under way with the help of a little modern diesel power. When the time came to set the forward sail, Uncle Eldon answered the call for volunteers and the big sheet was quickly lowered and the lines secured. Volunteers handle much of the work on the ship though with a lot more training than today's line pulling passengers. I noticed the helmswoman stepping from side to side to peer ahead and I asked her how she could see anything other than the forward deck. She couldn't, she said, and told me that, in between commands from the captain on the deck above, she simply tried to keep both river banks moving by at the same speed. The long wooden lever is attached directly to the rudder with a pivot point near its middle providing a fulcrum.

With the ship's operation appearing to be in good hands, I could relax and attend to less critical things like taking the required up-the-main-mast photo. Wonderful carvings abound particularly in the captain's cabin. This is where business was conducted and impressing visitors was part of its function. The fourth picture shows a Devil Dog whose purpose was to scare off evil spirits and that's a Guard Dog behind it. Only the closed inboard eye is visible. The outboard eye is wide open and watchful but getting a picture of it while moving involves getting very very wet. Captain Sharon looks rather content standing in front of that giant US flag while the last photo shows the Delaware flag on the ship's bow.

It was getting pretty hungry out by the time our little cruise ended so we took a recommendation from a fellow passenger who lives in the area and headed to the Charcoal Pit. We were told of good cheeseburgers and milk shakes so that's what we ordered. The cheeseburger was really good and the milk shake was the real deal served in a metal mixer cup that filled the glass multiple times.

We finished the day and our sightseeing with a stop at the Old Swedes church in Wilmington. This church, named Holy Trinity, is a year older than Gloria Dei in Philadelphia. As far as is known, no Banksons are buried here. The church's first pastor, Eric Björk, was quite tall and the black walnut pulpit was built to accommodate him. His successors found it a little too tall and the front panels were shortened by several inches. The back panel remains at the original height.

When told that the bricks making up the floor are original, I wondered if I had heard correctly and checked. Yep, those bricks, imported from Sweden as ballast, have seen three centuries of feet. The large key and lock are original although the lock was formerly on the other side of the door.

Here's the other side of the door. When layer upon layer of paint was stripped off a substantial amount of graffiti was revealed including some from 1711 and 1830. The iron numbers on the bell tower denote the year construction began, 1698, and the year the tower was added, 1702. The walls of what are now two side rooms were added in 1740 as buttresses. The nearer room used to house the pastor's horse.

We spent the night at a motel near the airport where Lisa caught a very early flight home. The rest of us slept in just a little longer then drove back to Ohio. We saw quite a bit and answered some questions but plenty remains to be seen and, as is typical, the answered questions have been more than replaced with new ones.

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