November 8, 2010
FIELD TRIP! When Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue...
…we all know that he had three ships on his voyage of discovery that landed him in the new world: Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria. This week, I had the awesome opportunity to go visit life-size replicas of two of those ships, the caravels, both Nina and Pinta.
Being an age of sail fan means a lot of old books, sketches and historical fiction. Being able to step onto these floating museums made available on the Tennessee River this week was a remarkable experience for me. I've only seen lines like shrouds and halyards in pictures, and I've never had the opportunity to smell pine tar – the stuff they painted their wooden ships with for weatherproofing. I'm pleased to report I thought it smelled wonderful, and I only got a little choked up thinking about Captain Aubrey and Midshipman Hornblower standing on deck with spy glasses trained on the horizon (even though it was a little before their time).
The ships were made by hand in Brazil using 15th century techniques and are sailed all around the world for visitors to explore. Crews are volunteers who sail for a minimum of four weeks, no sail experience required. Can you guess what I've been wishing I could do all week?
This winter the ships will head toward the Caribbean so it was more than likely my only chance to see, smell and hear what life aboard a floating wooden ship was all about. Thank you so much to my best bud in the world, Stacy, for the information and a wonderful day. We even ran into some pirating neighbors from home!
For all the cool information about this unique historical experience, check out www.thenina.com.
Then watch out for the re-release of my Caribbean age of sail historical, THE PRIVATEER, coming soon January 2011 with Desert Breeze Publishing!