The Vasa, Stockholm

On Sunday August 10th, 1628, the Vasa set sail on her maiden voyage. She was the gleaming new pride and joy of the Swedish Navy, and three years of construction had brought her to this point. The crowds cheered as she left her moorings below the Royal Castle in Stockholm.

But just 1400 yards later, the Vasa’s naval career was over. As the wind caught the sails of the top-heavy warship, she began to heel (lean sideways). Evermore she heeled, until water began to pour in through her open gunports. At this point, the Vasa began the next stage of her journey. To the bottom of Stockholm Harbour.

The Vasa heels over (Copyright Vasa Museet)

The Vasa heels over (Copyright Vasa Museet)

Several attempts were made to recover the ship, which now rested 100 feet below the surface of the sea, but all ended in failure. In 1664 most of the Vasa’s cannons were recovered, but the ship herself was abandoned, her exact location eventually forgotten.

Normally, the Vasa would have slowly rotted away, eaten by shipworm. But this tiny marine clam can’t survive in the Baltic, the cold waters of which contain less salt than most other seas. So it was that the Vasa’s timbers endured, to be rediscovered in 1956.

But salvaging the ship was still going to be an immensely difficult task. Finally, plans were made to hoist the Vasa from her watery grave. But would they succeed? I’m sure there were a great many nervous people looking on when, on April 24th, 1961, the Vasa re-emerged into the daylight. Yet she was so well preserved that by May 4th she was floating on her own, and able to be towed to a nearby dry dock. After a voyage that had begun 333 years earlier, the Vasa had finally made port.

The Vasa afloat once more (Copyright Vasa Museet)

The Vasa afloat once more (Copyright Vasa Museet)

For the next 27 years, the Vasa remained in her temporary lodgings, while the slow process of preserving her for the future was undertaken. Then, in December 1988, she made her final Journey, towed to her purpose-built home in the centre of Stockholm.

The Vasa Museum (on the right), central Stockholm - Note the metal masts, which convey the full height of the Vasa's rigging

The Vasa Museum (on the right) in Central Stockholm –
Note the metal masts, which convey the full height of the Vasa‘s rigging

My first view of the Vasa

My first view of the Vasa

I can't believe I'm here!

I can’t believe I’m here!

It's utterly amazing to think this ship spent 333 years at the bottom of the sea!

It’s utterly amazing to think this ship spent 333 years at the bottom of the sea!

Bow down to this miracle of preservation

Bow down to this miracle of preservation

IMG_8524

New pieces of timber are smooth and lighter-coloured, everything else is original

New pieces of timber are smooth and lighter-coloured, everything else is original

The Vasa's figurehead

The Vasa‘s figurehead

Looking along the hull

Looking along the hull

Peaking inside through a gunport

Peeking inside through a gunport

More gunports

More gunports

Some of the Vasa's 24-pounders

Some of the Vasa‘s 24-pounders

IMG_8519

Looking up at the rigging, near the Vasa's stern

Looking up at the rigging, near the Vasa‘s stern

Gazing up at the Vasa's stern

Gazing up at the Vasa‘s stern

The massive carved stern of the ship

The massive carved stern of the ship

Both the original detail and the preservation are incredible

Both the original detail and the preservation are incredible

View down the starboard flank of the Vasa

View down the starboard flank of the Vasa

The main deck and port side from the stern

The main deck and port side from the stern

Sue in a mock-up of the Vasa's rigging

Sue in a mock-up of the Vasa‘s rigging

A model of what the Vasa would have looked like as she set sail in 1628

A model of what the Vasa would have looked like as she set sail in 1628

This post was inspired by this week’s Cee’s Which Way Challenge.

Stitched view of the Vasa's stern and port side

Stitched view of the Vasa‘s stern and port side

While you’re marvelling at the preservation of the Vasa, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Europe, History, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Vasa, Stockholm

  1. Cee Neuner says:

    Interesting story and take on which way. Thanks so much for playing along.

  2. jpeggytaylor says:

    Wow! How amazing is that ship and a fascinating tale! The carvings are fabulous and the level of preservation is incredible given how long it was underwater. Your final stitched image really demonstrates the vast scale of the ship. Thank you for posting this – the Vasa really is marvelous 🙂

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