The Pinta and the Nina

The Pinta's rigging

The Pinta’s rigging

I love boats and ships.  In fact, the white noise that I use to help me fall asleep most night is an app that has a boat sounds selection.  The creaking of the ropes and the lapping of the water against the hull make me feel like I am being rocked to sleep.

Entrance to the Nina's Captain's cabin

Entrance to the Nina’s Captain’s cabin

So I was really looking forward to touring replicas of the Nina and the Pinta.  (Drives me crazy not having the proper key for the Spanish character in Nina).  🙂

But the crowds were too large and moved too fast for me to get the feel of life aboard the ships.  I learned how the crew hoisted the heavy anchor.  I learned how they steered without a wheel.  And I learned that, with the available instruments in the 1490’s, they could determine longitude but not latitude.  Their time pieces weren’t accurate enough.  For instance, if the sand in your hour glass got damp and started clumping, you were out of luck.

View through the grate covering the Nina's cargo hold.

View through the grate covering the Nina’s cargo hold.

But I couldn’t go down into the cargo hold and see where horses (must have been small Spanish horses) were hoisted down into and kept with slings around their bellies for support so they wouldn’t break their legs on one of the Nina’s voyages.  I couldn’t go into the captain’s cabin with a 4′ high ceiling and no ventilation except the grate over the entrance.  And although they told us where the crews slept, I don’t remember because I didn’t experience the spaces.

Provisions cask

Provisions cask

So I’m glad I went.  I saw both ships, but I still don’t know them.

There was a sign saying they needed crew members.  Ron told me I should sign on as ship’s cook.  If I were younger and healthier, I would probably do just that.  At least I would KNOW how Columbus and his crews felt on their long voyages into the unknown.

Well, I wouldn’t know the unknown part, but I would know the ships!

The tiller attached to the rudder was used to steer the ship.

The tiller attached to the rudder was used to steer the ship.

BTW, the smaller Nina was my favorite of the two ships.  It was Columbus’s favorite, too.

Rope that was too worn to use for rigging was used to make bumpers.

Rope that was too worn to use for rigging was used to make bumpers.

Model showing the ships' structure.

Model showing the ships’ structure.

Here's your chance, wannabe sailors!

Here’s your chance, wannabe sailors!



  1. Cool! I love sailboats too….your “white noise” sounds really neat! I think I’d like to be a ships cook too, though there’s that seasickness thing…………


  2. Sounds like a fun day. to bad it was too crowded to really check it all out but at least you made


    • I am very glad I went. I also got to see a little more of the area.

      Tomorrow we’ll find out what is the best seafood restaurant and treat ourselves to dinner somewhere.


  3. Isn’t it hard to fathom how difficult life must have been for these sailors? Amazing that they survived these voyages.

    Love the drama of your first photo. Glad you got to go aboard.


    • After the Santa Maria was lost, they had 120 people in one of the ships. Can’t remember which one. But it was wall to wall people. I can’t imagine what that was like.

      I love experiencing and reliving the lives people lived so long ago. I think that’s what the main attraction of primitive skills was to me. I really understood a little of what their lives were actually like. And that’s what I was looking for on the ship tour.

      But then I’ve read enough history and historical fiction to have an idea of what a brutal, smelly life it was. They were tough!

      To be fair, the whole point of their presentation was to show the technology the sailors of that day worked with. And they did a good job of that.


  4. Very cool. Love the title photo – reminds me of the 1490’s. 😊


  5. Emily

     /  February 17, 2015

    I have toured a few old ship replicas as well as early day homes and just was amazed at the low heights compared to today. I am not a boat person but can just hear the boat “white noise”. Wonder if the sound would be the same if it was our eggs? Hope you are far enough away from the affects of Octavia north of you (and your other home).


    • Emily, many, many years ago I toured the old hospital in St. Augustine. Florida. The doors were very low, and the beds were very short. They told me that back then the average height for a Spanish man was around 4’7″ (if I remember correctly).

      Our guide on the ship tour had to lean his head forward to keep from bumping it when he demonstrated use of the tiller.

      No, the sounds are not alike at all. It poured here last night. I slept through most of it, but woke once and just enjoyed the sound. A Casita feels so cozy and secure in the rain, doesn’t it?


  6. Just now caught up with you, again. Enjoyed all your posts. Remember touring a replica of the ships in Charleston many years ago. Was so surprised with how small they were. Claustrophobia took over very quickly.


    • I also wondered how anyone could manage being on a tiny ship like that for the voyage of 30 days across the Atlantic.

      Maybe that’s why the sailors headed to the bars and went wild when they stopped in a port. I’d probably go a little crazy, too! 🙂


  7. Glad you were able to tour the ships…..and I was totally amazed at how tiny they are.

    Hope you are comfortable where you are……looks bad at our home in TN.


    • I was amazed by how tiny they were, too. Like a waterborne Scamp 13 — with lower ceilings. 🙂

      Our weather today was sunny, but cool. Tonight, tomorrow and tomorrow night are going to get really cold — as in hope our water doesn’t freeze. But after that it’s supposed to bounce back into the 50’s, 60′ and up to 70… before bouncing back down again.

      But February’s halfway through. Sure am glad you are not in Tennessee right now!


  8. I am also just catching up…having the Twin Girls and their “Mate’s” down here has kept me busy….I am impressed with you’re Traveling “Laundry Mat”…..I guessing standing in the rain doesn’t count… 🙂 I enjoyed this post about the Ships…Love to see History related stuff..thanks for sharing….Can’t believe “JerryC” got Claustrophobia touring those ships…and he and Wanda live in a Casita for months on end…need to raze him about that.. 🙂 I am enjoying your Guys adventure….Take Care…Horst sends


    • HaHa! That was my first thought when Jerry mentioned claustrophobia on the ship. But then I remembered that the Casita does not have 4′ ceilings and no windows and no fan in the bedroom. 🙂

      Hope you are having fun with the young ones. I am sure they are keeping you busy.

      I do love my little laundromat. I read that the next park we are going to allows clotheslines, so we’ll be all set!

      Looking forward to your next adventure!


      • David, the Oliver is beautiful. And Carol’s upholstery work is superb. Everything from the coordinating pillow patterns to the pattern on the lamp are inspired matches.

        Great job all around!

        Thank you so very much for sharing the link so I could see it. 🙂


  9. Sharon. I put up some photos of Carol’s handiwork in our Oliver at Just click on the Oliver tab.


  • Enter your email address to subscribe to Tinycamper's blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 959 other subscribers
  • Cool Stuff!

  • My Blog Topic Categories

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,026,807 hits
%d bloggers like this: