The Nina and the Pinta Dock in Davenport

August  01, 2013

In 1492, Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue. And today in 2013 his ships are sailing again, but this time down the Mississippi River. Replicas of the Nina and the Pinta docked at Oneida Street Landing in Davenport this Thursday afternoon. The two historically accurate ships are in town for 10 days, and open to the public Friday. 

Morgan Sanger is the Senior Captain of the two ships, and built them in 1992 for the quin-centennial of the original voyage. Sanger says in the 15th century, a long voyage was very unpleasant.

"They didn't know what scurvy was," said Sanger." They ran out of fresh fruits and vegetables. They had cattle and horses down below, and animals that they would slaughter and eat. The water was rancind. They would be calmed with no wind inthe middle of the ocean. It was bad. But for us today, it was really bad, but for them it was part of life."

Charles Nelson drove forty minutes from Wilton, Iowa to see the two ships dock in Davenport. He says he can't believe that nearly thirty people traveled in each one from Spain to America more than 500 years ago.

"I figured it was going to be like the length of two of them put together," said Nelson, "You know, something really big. And to see how small they are, I can't imagine. I can't picture what that used to be like. And then they didn't know where they were going, there there was any land. Can you imagine doing something like that?"

Though he wasn't allowed on board Thursday, Nelson said he'll be back Friday for the full tour of the vessels.

The Nina and the Pinta will be docked at in Davenport next to the Boat House Restaurant through August 12th. The ships are open to the public every day from 9 am to 6 pm.