Thursday, June 19, 2014

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me

This isn't actually about pirates. Well, not the parrot wielding, eye patch wearing, rum swilling kind of pirate. We had an opportunity to go see replicas of the Nina and the Pinta, Columbus's ships. There is no Santa Maria because it crashed and never made the return trip. And guess what? Not only did I take notes, I took pics, too!

The Nina was built to scale of the original. It was also built with tools that would have been used back in those times. The builder wanted it to be as authentic as possible. It is small! The crewmen were relatively small compared to men of today, so they didn't need as much space. They were between the ages of 14-19. They worked in 2 crews of 12 each. Each crew worked 4 hours on then 4 hours off and repeat. The equipment used on the ship is as close to the original with some up to date electronics to help the voyage go a little smoother. The ship carried enough food for 10 months for a trip that was estimated to take 3 months. Round trip was 8 months. Good thing they were prepared.

The only people that had quarters below deck were Columbus and the first mate. Every one else slept where ever they could find space, which was somewhere top side. Below decks was reserved for animals and supplies. In the cargo hold they had a small farm with animals like sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs. To get the horses on board they used a combination of ropes, pulleys, and the windlass. The only means of ventilation down there were the cargo doors. Can you imagine the smell? It was definitely not Noah's ark!

There were only 2 cannons on the ship. They didn't really need more than that. They were used for defense, but they were also used for sounding, so the boats would know where the other 2 were. They still use them for that purpose today, but they don't use cannonballs. I was a little disappointed by that, but since I'm not volunteering on the boat, I guess I can't gripe too much. Well, I could, but I'm not going to. About this anyway.

And just for a fun fact, Columbus kept 2 sets of log books. He sensed a bit of treachery by the king and queen. His book was incredibly accurate, but what he turned in to the royals was a bit less so. That way they couldn't duplicate his journey without him. Sneaky dude...

This is both boats as we approached them. They are quite impressive when you see them. The Pinta is bigger, but wasn't built to the exact scale that the Nina was built. 

This is from the end of the dock. The Pinta is in front, the Nina is in the back. Still so cool.


This is the back of the Pinta from the deck of the Nina. We couldn't get all the way in the front, but we got as close as we could.

You have to love a shot of the cannon. Oh, to have a cannonball in my pocket at this exact time with a little gunpowder. Just a little boom. At least people would know where I was...

The ships are sailed by volunteers. They sail all around the world and show off these spectacular boats. They work very hard to make sure the ships stay in great shape and that the history of these grand ladies is known. If you get the chance, go see these great ships. You will not be disappointed. And if you're lucky, you can go to the beach when you're done. We did. And it was wonderful!

Have a great day.

No comments: