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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Daily Life Aboard the Nina

Daily life aboard our ship the Nina is anything but routine. My day begins about 6 am with the coffee pot and quick trip above deck. If we are very lucky, "cookie" has planed breakfast for the hungry crew.

Due to the crew quarters being 12 ft x 15 ft. for 6 sailors, a quiet beginning to the morning is impossible. Sneaking out of the bunk,trying to dress and start coffee usually results in hitting your my on a beam. I do not always remember that our galley has a head clearance of about 5 ft. and hard timbers are not forgiving.

After a breakfast of steak and eggs, it is time to swab the deck, literally. We hose the deck and ship daily in order for the wooden ship to swell with the water and close cracks in the planking. This is necessary in any wooden ship to prevent leaking. We raise the four flags of the Columbus fleet, swab the deck and prepare for the daily tours.

A typical week day begins with 2-300 children from surrounding schools of any age. We tour the ship with groups of about 20 per guide. The Nina is the most historical of the ships but also the smallest. Columbus loved the Nina and purchased her after his first voyage. She is a sweet ship. After the group tours we quickly grab a lunch and begin the daily visits from people in the area. It does amaze me people will drive 1-3 hours to view of Nina. Today a small family group allowed me to present the Nina and they were a joy. Later, they returned with my lunch from their family picnic. We have had visitors take crew members out for dinner or home. The Nina brings us all together.

Visitors absorb the history about the Nina and Columbus. I have learned so much being aboard the Nina. I tilled the ship from Huntsville and was amazed at the response of the bow. We guide the ship with a tiller and 7 ft. rudder. The ship responses immediate to the tiller. The gentle rock starboard to port and the soul of the ship is felt. Columbus tilled the Nina 25,000 miles and our Nina has sailed over 300,000 miles. The years are sailing off this old sailor.

The evening is consumed with meal preparation, particularly if Cookie has been away from the ship. Last evening we had cheese and meat ravioli, steamed vegetables and fresh fruit. Cookie often prepares hot cider to calm the sailors. However, the evening grog is poured and the crew sails into calm seas. Each evening I sit along the cap rail watching the shipping lanes and the fog roll into the harbor. The air cools over the water and the crescent moon rises above the mountain.

Life aboard the Nina is not our everyday reality. I have a glimpse of the sailors life aboard Nina, without the hardships the young sailors experienced. My daily needs are met, work is easily accomplished and sailing away without cares. The morning brings anew the ship routine until the fine day we sail to our new port.

Sail Away,

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