Voyage of Traveler / Blog

December 6, 2009

Position Report, Dec 6

Traveler’s Dec. 6 Position Report:

Our 1300 utc position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Barbados are:

Dec. 6 - Day 15
15-32N, 053-00W
172 nm –another great daily run!
408 MTG
Our ETA is Wednesday, early morning.

All’s well onboard Traveler.

During the first few days of this passage across the Atlantic, I read a biography about Christopher Columbus titled, “The Last Voyage of Columbus.”  I liked it so much, I’m reading it again.

Here’s a one-question quiz about Columbus for you.

How many voyages of discovery did Columbus make across the Atlantic to the “New World?”
A. One.
B. Two.
C. Three.
D. Four.

The correct answer is D. We all know of his historic First Voyage, which was basically a reconnaissance mission.  He was intent on finding a westward passage to the Spice Islands of Asia but instead sighted San Salvador in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492.  He then later explored the northern coasts of Cuba and the island of Hispanola before returning home. But did you know his flag ship on that voyage, the Santa Maria, wrecked on a reef and Columbus limped home to Spain on the battered Nina?  Many are aware of Columbus’ Second Voyage, which was from 1493-96.  But did you know that he set sail with 17 ships on that voyage, with the main purpose to establish a colony on the island of Hispanola.  He off-loaded sugar cane, horses, fruit trees and more than 1,000 men and women, and also (unintentionally) rats and diseases.  With the diseases his forced colonial labor supply rapidly died off, more than a million of them, so the European settlers brought in slaves from Africa to harvest the sugar and other crops. On his Second Voyage Columbus explored and charted nearly every island in the West Indies.  On his Third Voyage, from 1498-1500, Columbus discovered the island of Trinadad, the coast line of Venezuela and the Orinoco River, making him the first European to discover South America. Later that voyage, unfortunately, he was arrested and imprisoned by a political rival in Santa Domingo, the city he founded and named after his father. Eventually, he was released, returned to Spain, and was given the authority by the King and Queen of Spain to return to the New World, primarily to resume his search for a passage to Asia. On his Fourth and Final Voyage, from 1502-04, Columbus explored as far west as Nicaragua and Panama, and from the natives there learned that a great sea (the Pacific) was a nine day hike through the jungle.  Columbus believed he had discovered the westerly route to China and was very close to its mainland and that a sea passage would be discovered soon.  Nevertheless, in declining health, he decided to return to Spain.  But along the way, because his two ships, the Santiago and La Capitana, were both leaking badly and no longer seaworthy, he intentionally beached them on a reef on Jamaica, where he and his crew were shipwrecked for a year before being rescued.  He eventually retuned to Spain, departing Santo Domingo on September 12, 1504.  But the return voyage did not go well.  A storm dis-masted his ship when he still had about 1,000 miles to go.  He jury-rigged some sails on a broken spar and limped back to Spain, arriving on November 7, 55 days after leaving the New World for the last time.  He died two years later.

Following in the wake of the great Admiral of the Ocean Seas,
Living the Dream,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

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