This is another re-cap of “what we did this summer”. At this rate, I’ll cover Labor Day Weekend by Thanksgiving…
July 26th, 2015 – This was a real treat visiting El Galeón Andalucía, docked in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I’ve long enjoyed stories of trans-oceanic exploration, sea battles, pirates and privateers during the 15th through 18th centuries. So getting to tour El Galeón, and walk her decks was a real thrill.
This is the only galleon class vessel in the world sailing today. Construction of this ship began in 2009, and was built entirely in Spain. Over 150 men and women worked 16 months to create this exact replica of an ocean going galleon from the second half of 16th century. The results are simply astounding.
Technically, it isn’t an “exact” replica. It has modern bathroom facilities – though designed to match the ship – and of course it has an engine room.
It is currently crewed by 22 men and women, and is completing a 5-month, 16th Century Ship Tour, stopping at 10 different ports along the U.S. coast. She will winter in sunny Fort Lauderdale, before setting sail for home port in Spain.
This galleon class vessel was originally built and use for transport and trade of goods, but was also besieged by rival states and put into military service. It was also the target of pirates for looting or to add to their own attack fleets.
As we came aboard the ship, Loly was amazed that such a small vessel was able to cross the vast Atlantic in the times of antiquity. Having read about this period extensively I was not surprised, and knew the Mayflower was a lot smaller!
El Galeón Andalucía is 170 feet long and displaces about 495 tons. The Mayflower was only 106 feet long and displaced only 242 tons. There were 130 passengers squeezed onto that tiny ship when it left England to cross the Atlantic for the New World. Like I said, a lot smaller, but it still made the voyage to Plymouth.
Man, I was the proverbial ‘kid in a candy shop’. My eyes went everywhere, taking in all of the details. I mean not only did the construction of the ship feel authentic, but even the small details like the handmade ropes and all the pulleys, block and tackle, the sails, the cast anchors, the wooden capstan, the netting and even the few pieces of furniture. It was all so cool. There was so much to see and inspect.
It was easy, at least for me, to imagine being on a cross ocean voyage, with full sails set into the wind. That romantic vision lasted but a moment as I remember tellings of the hardships, the hard work, and the oppressive heat and humidity of the Caribbean sitting for days on end in becalmed waters. I like the romanticized picture better…