At church this morning my friend Amanda told me about how her family was going to be going to see the Christopher Columbus ship replicas this week. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but knew I wanted to bring the kids (they were docked about an hour north of us).
The Nina and Pinta replicas travel up the east coast through the great lakes and then down the Mississippi River, docking at different ports.
I am sooo glad that we got to see them!!
The Nina replica was an exact size replica, however the Pinta was 15 feet longer than the original and a little wider as well.
There were about 30 men aboard when Columbus sailed in 1492. The men would sleep above deck (with no bedding), as below deck was too full of animals, food and supplies. Being in the open sea, it was almost constantly wet from the ocean spray and mist coming aboard.
In 1500s the ships were not built to make long trips across the ocean (because the people thought the world was flat), they mostly did port to port trips to trade food and supplies. They often would not last very long due to the wear and tear on the ships. Christopher Columbus discovered that pine tar would protect the wood, helping them to weather longer.
They had some pine tar there for us to smell, potent stuff. The men aboard the ships soon discovered that the pine tar was water-resistant so they would rub it on the skin and hair to protect themselves from the salt-water. Spending that long on the ocean, and being constantly exposed to the elements (including the constant spray of salt-water) with no way to clean their skin, they would often get open soars which could result in infection and sickness. The boat is also lined with rocks along the stern (we think that’s what we heard, though we don’t really remember) which helps keep the ship balanced. The crew lady actually said that the ship would never capsize because of them. (Though I don’t know if I believe that, they said the Titanic couldn’t sink, and we all know what happened there – I’m just saying it’s the Ocean, anything can happen.)
Another interesting thing we learned was that neither Christopher Columbus nor any of the men on his ship could swim. Most of them were actually deathly afraid of the water. The upper deck (the part above the Captains quarters) was called the “poop deck”, but not for the reasons you might think. Christopher Columbus was a very religious man, and always said that his voyages were his mission from God. The shipmates all carried small statues with them to pray to and/or for good luck. These statues were called “Poopas” and they would tie them along the rail of the deck.
On the way home Treyton asked “I thought Columbus was a Christian, why did they have idols if he was a Christian?” I thought that was a very insightful question.
This was an amazingly well-timed field trip. God is so awesome.
Treyton was actually excited to go and after we left he said that he really liked it. The trip inspired him him to try to learn the names of the ships which was so exciting to see.