The last sail-only oceanographic expedition left Virginia in the summer of 1838. It was called the “Ex Ex” for Exploring Expedition, and was a bold 4-year investment by a young nation to map areas of Antarctica, the Pacific Northwest, and far-flung islands. Lieutenant Charles Wilkes was the commander of the six-vessel fleet; his name is synonymous with numerous geographic sites. The “Ex Ex” circumnavigated Earth and made many scientific observations, over a decade before the term “oceanography” was coined. Wilkes's ships were naval vessels, entirely made of wood, and masterfully sailed using skills that harken back to the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Vikings. The introduction of steam power and steel in the mid-nineteenth century was a paradigm shift in seamanship.