We had an interesting experience yesterday. Replicas of the Nina and the Pinta were on display at the Baytowne Harbor in San Destin, Florida. We were reminded again how hard it was in the 1400s to cross the Atlantic in small, crowded vessels. The Nina was sixty-five feet long and held twenty-four men who worked, ate, and slept on the deck during a journey that took seventy days. The Pinta was slightly larger, enough so to hold a crew of twenty-eight and sometimes some livestock to provide fresh meat.
Columbus made the trip on the Nina five times, never actually saw the North American continent, and died believing the islands he had visited so many times were the outer islands of Asia.
One volunteer crewman on board the Nina informed us that at 5 feet 8 inches Columbus towered over his crew. In those days the average male stood 5 feet 2 inches and women averaged 4 feet 8 inches. Sounds small, but that’s what he said. Meanwhile another volunteer volunteered jokes. “Which side of a chicken has the most feathers? The inside.” “Why doesn’t a seagull fly across the bay? Because then he’d be a bay-gull.” “Did you hear about the teacher with crossed eyes? She couldn’t control her pupils.” What would you call that, stand up history?