Monday, October 09, 2006

The Nina

After I saw the Nina, I had much more respect for Christopher Columbus and his crew.

I was on assignment aboard the Picton Castle a 180-foot long, 500-ton behemoth. As part of the Great Lakes Tall Ship Festival, we sailed from Cleveland to Bay City, Michigan. Many of the crew had sailed around the world; the thought of being on the open ocean as opposed to the Great Lakes made me a little squeamish. And then I saw the Nina at just 90-feet long - a high-walled bathtub with a couple of masts and a crew of 13.

No thanks.

The replica Nina, built for the movie 1492, still sails allover to this day. Life on the original was -- shall we say -- much more interesting. For starters cows swung from the rigging.

Life on Columbus’s Nina as read on the replica Nina’s website:

Life on board the Niña in 1492 was not for the light hearted. When the Niña left on any of her three voyages to the New World, her cargo hold was full of provisions, water, armaments. There were live animals ranging from horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. The four-legged animals were suspended in slings as the rolling motion of the vessel would have easily broken their legs.

Needless to say, there was little room below decks for the 27 or so crew to sleep or cook. Cooking was done in a fire box located on decks in the bow of the ship. Sleeping was on the deck and was always uncomfortable as the ship was so loaded with cargo, her decks were always awash. A lucky few could sleep on the poop deck or find a coil of rope to sleep on to keep them off the deck a foot or so.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

Yeesh! I agree. No thanks!