Landfall Along the Chesapeake: In the Wake of Captain John Smith

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JHU Press, Feb 8, 2006 - History - 247 pages
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In 2002, Susan Schmidt retraced John Smith's 1608 voyage on the Chesapeake Bay. In Landfall along the Chesapeake, a cruising guide for Chesapeake boaters and a field log for naturalists, Schmidt compares the beauty of ancestral legacy and childhood memory to her observations on a 100-day voyage in a 22-foot boat.

As she circles the Bay counterclockwise from Jamestown, she explores Smith's encounters with Native Americans and the Bay's ecological changes over the past four hundred years. On each river and creek, she quotes Smith's journals on matching wits with Powhatan, meeting Pocahontas, surviving thunderstorms, ambush, and a stingray's barb. Anchored on wild creeks, Schmidt observes swans and dragonflies, lightning and sunsets; in port she interviews colorful characters and working watermen about blue crabs and oysters.

Scientists explain the Bay's nitrogen overload, water-level rise, anoxia, Pfiesteria, Kepone, and the Ghost Fleet. Native American chiefs discuss their heritage then and now. Ashore, Schmidt walks on her ancestor's farm, now a military chemical dump, and climbs her grandfather's lighthouse. Despite her despair at bad air quality and diminished fisheries, and her dread of high wind and rough seas, Schmidt expresses gratitude for small-town hospitality and the navigation skills her father taught her.

  

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Landfall along the Chesapeake: in the wake of Captain John Smith

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In this heartfelt celebration of Schmidt's childhood home on the Chesapeake Bay, the author invokes John Smith's 1607 exploration as she sails his original path, hoping that "storying" the land will ... Read full review

Contents

Jamestown
19
Chickahominy River
26
Downriver to Hampton Roads
37
EASTERN SHORE
46
Cherrystone Creek
53
Tangier
65
Nanticoke River
73
Hooper Island Passage
80
Choptank River
83
THE WESTERN SHORE
127
Acknowledgments
227
Suggested Further Reading
237
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Susan Schmidt, a Virginia native, rows, gardens, and plays music in North Carolina near Cape Lookout and Asheville. A naturalist and poet, she has worked as an English teacher, editor, and policy scientist. A licensed captain, she grew up sailing the Chesapeake Bay, where her family has lived for almost four hundred years.