Visiting the Nina and the Pinta

The recreated Pinta


The stern of the Nina
When Columbus came to America he sailed with three ships.  Most famous of them on his first voyage was the Santa Maria. That ship was accompanied by two others, the Nina and the Pinta.   The Santa Maria ran aground in the Caribbean.   So Columbus boarded the Nina, made it his flagship, and returned to Spain with two ships.   The Pinta then disappears from history.  But Columbus returned to the Americas with another fleet and the Nina at its head.  This fleet encountered a hurricane on its return voyage and all the other vessels sank except the Nina.

All this I learned as we visited on Saturday the floating historical display, the re-created Nina and Pinta moored this past weekend in Oswego harbor.   The Nina I saw was crafted using the same type of tools and skills that would have been used 500 years ago to build it.  It was built at a shipyard in Brazil where this type of skill is still known and practiced.  It was as exact a replica as research could determine.  Another interesting fact I learned from the crew of the re-created ships was that the crew that sailed with the early explorers like Columbus were probably very young — most likely teenagers — but had very limited life expectancies.  Most would’ve barely lived into their twenties.  

JoAnne and I were impressed by the fact that the vessels were much smaller than we thought. We learned that the crew constantly stayed on deck even in rough weather, and would have been often drenched by the splashing sea. However, I also learned that Columbus’ crossing from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean took 33 days, which is long enough but not as long as I thought it would have taken.    One definitely came away from the visit impressed with the courage of the early mariners and amazed at the hardships they endured.

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