The original Kalmar Nyckel crossed the Atlantic and arrived in America in 1638. Its passengers established the first European settlement in the Delaware Valley, New Sweden, in present day Wilmington, Delaware. The Kalmar Nyckel crossed the Atlantic again for a total of 4 trips, yet its name has been mostly lost in history. In 1998 a spirited group of people decided to rebuild the Kalmar Nyckel and now operate it as an non-profit outreach, educating school children and people of all ages about history and the sea.
We made our reservations ahead of time and then found her in docked outside of Timothy’s Restaurant in Dravo plaza, part of the Wilmington Waterfront. The boat set sail down the Christina River, and we enjoyed the contrast of the old world ship with the modern buildings of the city. We watched drawbridges go up at our approach, and people wave from the waterfront parks. Fisherman hung out on docks and small boats passed us by.
The Kalmar Nyckel design is so old, it doesn’t even have a wheel. I’ll let you see for yourself how they steer it. I enjoyed watching the crew interact and since they are mostly volunteers they are happy about what they are doing and eager to answer any questions you may have. The boat is fun to explore and I especially loved seeing the intricately carved Captain’s Quarters.
And did I mention they have pirate trips for the kids? I think it’d make a great birthday party!
The revitalization of the Wilmington Waterfront is coming along nicely. They’ve really made the area look nice. After our boat trip we had dinner at a delicious Thai Restaurant, Ubon Thai. We sat outside and enjoyed the view of the river and all the people walking by. We’ll definitely be back soon.