Monday, January 4, 2010

The Columbus Ships

Right before Christmas the Nina and the Pinta, replicas of Christopher Columbus's ships, sailed into Pensacola.

The ships were docked at Palafox Pier so on New Year's Eve we drove over to see them.

We studied Columbus in our homeschool not long ago and I was excited that we'd be able to go aboard and really get a feel for the ships.

At first sight, I was shocked at how small these boats are. And I'm saying boats here because surely these aren't big enough to call ships.



I guess I had images of something large like the El Cano in my mind but these are actually the size of a typical cargo ship from that time.

I would love to sail around the bay on one of these but you couldn't pay me enough to cross the Atlantic on one.

The ships are operated by the Columbus Foundation and there was a $7 per adult and $5 per child fee to go on board.

So we paid our fee and made our way down the dock to the ships.

There were a lot of other people touring the ships so we weren't able to get a lot of good photos but here's what we did get.










Being a history lover and a homeschooling mom I really love these hands on, here's what it was like, kinds of exhibits but I have to say we were really disappointed in this one.

Everything below decks on both ships has been converted to modern day living and sleeping quarters for the crew - which meant no one is allowed to go below.

So the hatches were closed and above each hatch was a photograph of what it looks like down there.

What it looks like now. Not what it might have looked like in 1492.

Which was very disappointing because going below to get a feel for life on the ship is something we really wanted to do.

There were photographs all over both ships showing how they were built and a lot of information about the organization that built the ships but there was very little about Columbus and his voyage.

When we were walking back up the dock both the Island King and I talked about how disappointed we were.

We paid $30 to stand on the deck. And neither of us felt like we'd learned anything except that these ships were small.

We could have seen everything we saw on the boats from the dock - and for free.

As I said, I'm a big supporter of groups like this but in all honesty I felt a little ripped off when we were finished.

And I realize that the crews live on these boats and need a modern cabin but it's a shame there wasn't one little spot left below for visitors to see it as it was in the 1400's.

It was like paying to tour an old home and then finding out that all you can do is stand on the porch.

So that's my take on the Nina and the Pinta. It was interesting to see the ships and I'm glad we went but I don't feel like it was the learning experience I wanted it to be.
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