National Geographic : 1962 Jan
tion of 17th-century life awaiting modern eyes when the work is finished. Twelve skeletons-well preserved after more than 300 years in these northern waters -have also been recovered. There had been other memorable days in my long search for Vasa. The day I learned that wood-destroying shipworms are not active in cold, brackish Baltic waters... the day I came upon a yellowed document clear ly locating the scene of the Vasa catastrophe ... the day a diver reported that he was climb ing a wall of wood, probably Vasa's hull.... My interest in the archeology of old sunken ships began in the 1920's when, as a young ster, I spent summer holidays at Dalaro in Vasa Heels Over and Sinks While Still in Sight of Stockholm Waterfront One of the mightiest warships of her day, Vasa set sail on her maiden voyage on a calm day in 1628. When a puff of wind filled her shortened canvas, she heeled to port, scarcely a mile from her quay. Water gushed through the lower tier of gunports-care lessly left open-and lapped over the gun wale. Knocked on her beam-ends, she sank like a stone in 110 feet of water. This and two other National Geographic paintings (pages 42 and 49) have been re searched to the minutest detail. Sailors, scrambling for their lives, wear their hair long, in the fashion of the 17th century. A few men took along wives and children for the first stage of the voyage. Modern Stockholm preserves buildings that saw Vasa set sail. One of these, St. Ger trude's spired church at right, appears in the scene painted on pages 42-43.