Friday, 8 July 2016

The Kronan

We spent the day in Kalmar doing odd jobs on the boats and trying to sort out Calismarde's engine which seems to be suffering from air in the fuel.

We visited the local museum and there learnt a little about the Kronan. There do seem to be many wrecks around these coasts. The Kronan was a very large Swedish warship - about 120 guns- that foundered in 1676.  She was going into battle (with the Danes) when she was capsized by a squall. The magazines exploded and she quickly sank in around 25 m of water taking most of her crew with her. She was found by divers about 30 years ago and many items that have been recovered are on display.
Some of  the crew's hats


Its interesting that the intermediate salinity of the Baltic has led to the survival of many fragile objects that are not usually found in old shipwrecks. The iron has rusted away but some delicate objects such as items of clothing have been recovered in reasonable condition.

We saw a violin that had been recovered from the wreck (the oldest violin in Sweden). There is a collection of hats- the broad brimmed hat would have been worn by a superior person - perhaps an officer. There were no standardised naval uniforms in those days. We saw a set of fine clothes that probably belonged to the admiral who went down with his ship. There were many small personal items such as purses, pocket watches and knitted stockings.

The Kronan's carvings have spent 350 years under water
We learnt that there were no women on a warship, but those men who did 'women's work' - such as washing - apparently used to wear women's clothes on board including carrying handbags. This does sound a bit unlikely to us but it seems there is evidence that it is true.

In the evening we were joined by Dave and Julie Patuck who have come via Copenhagen for a few days Baltic sailing.