Delaware’s world-famous Kalmar Nyckel ship will soon appear on National Geographic’s film entitled “Return of the Ghost Ship.”

Delaware’s world-famous Kalmar Nyckel ship will soon appear on National Geographic’s film entitled “Return of the Ghost Ship.”

The world premier of the episode will air at Barclay’s Rock Center in Wilmington on April 3, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free but seating is limited.

“Return of the Ghost Ship” features underwater explorers in the Baltic Sea who seek to restore a recently discovered “ghost ship” that still appears intact. Through the use of maritime archaeology and the latest technology, the crew will attempt to recover artifacts from the ship, take measurements and construct a 3-D model of it.

In addition, Scientists are compelled to study the Kalmar because it’s the only ship in the world that’s reconstructed in a 17th Century design and sets sail on a daily basis.

“Kalmar Nyckel was chosen for the film,” said Sam Heed, senior historian and director of education for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, “because she resembles the ‘Ghost Ship’ in size, look and functionality better than any other tall ship sailing in the world today.”


WHAT “Return of the Ghost Ship”

WHEN 4 p.m. Sunday, April 3 (showing at Barclay’s Rock Center); 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 6 (televised showing on the National Geographic Channel)

WHERE Barclay’s Rock Center, 125 N. West Street, Wilmington



He added, “there was a second critical factor in our being chosen for the film. The film’s director and producers had absolute confidence that our captains [Lauren Morgens and Sharon Litcofsky] and crew could handle the challenges presented by the complex sailing sequences.”

In addition to its two captains, the 104-foot-tall Kalmar features 350 fulltime crew volunteers. Approximately 15 crew members and 49 guests can board the Kalmar during daily sailing trips, Heed said.

The ship, which is based in Wilmington, actively sails during the months of April through November. During the fall, the Kalmar offers rides down the Christina River. In May, the ship tours in Lewes. During summers, the ship voyages to Virginia and New Hampshire. Since the ship isn’t certified to carry passengers on overnight sails, the Kalmar offers public rides to locals once when it arrives in a new state, Heed said.

In order to provide the ship’s captains and crew with a silky smooth travel, the Kalmar is retrofitted with an engine and other conveniences including a bathroom and kitchen.

In other words, the crew is spoiled rotten.

“In the tall ship community, the sailors think our ship is well appointed and has lots of conveniences,” Heed quipped. “Not all ships have showers.”

In addition to being recognized by NatGeo, Heed and the ship’s two captains were recently invited to speak at a January lecture at the prestigious Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Museum is one of top maritime museums and research facilities in the world.

“It was a thrill to be able to give a lecture there at this world famous museum,” said Heed, noting he and the Kalmar’s captains offered an in-depth discussion on how 17th Century ships operated. Furthermore, the invite to the lecture demonstrated how “important the Kalmar is and the kind of regard others have for our captains and crew,” he said.

Heed’s anticipation for the premier of “Return of the Ghost Ship” is brewing, especially since it’ll also air before a national audience on Wednesday, April 6 at 9 p.m. It’s going to air in more than 124 countries, too, he said.

“We’re really making tremendous progress and it’s been very exciting,” Heed said.
“It makes us like a world important research platform and it’s a pretty nifty thing, right here in Delaware. Who knew?”