A few weeks ago, Tadpole and I had the opportunity to go see the replica of the Nina and the Pinta that were, at that point, docked in Freeport, Tx. When I first heard about this, I cleared my schedule so we could go because it sounded so interesting and I knew that Tadpole would enjoy it and it would drive home much of her history studies about explorers that had wrapped up a couple months prior. I was excited and a couple public school teachers I know who did not know about it were jealous of the opportunity I had with Tadpole that their children did not have.
Approaching the Nina
To say the least, the ships and the tour were both very impressive. The Nina is an exact replica; sans a few mandatory things for modern seafaring, including a diesel engine and quarters down below (more about this later). The Pinta is a slightly modernized ship. By modernized, I mean it is designed to fit 2012 humans, rather than 1400 humans who were decidedly shorter. It is longer, taller and wider and 120% the original. Both ships were built in Brazil by a family of shipwrights that have had the tradition passed down to them back to when the shipwrights were exported to the lush forests of Brazil from Portugal, many generations ago. The Pinta, being larger, can hold more people and has a full galley and other modern touches but from the exterior it looks like a caravel that Columbus would have been proud of.
A picture of a picture of The Pinta's Galley
The biggest difference from 1492 to modern times is that there is no livestock down below in the hold, nor 6 months of provisions. Instead, the crew gets to sleep in the hold. Tadpole thought this was a far better arrangement than sleeping on the deck as the crew would have on the original ship. Tadpole was also impressed as to how small the Nina actually was and that this relatively tiny ship that was only a couple feet off the water traversed the Atlantic Ocean.
Our Tour Guide
Both of our tour guides, as well as the other ones I was listening to when we had free time had a wealth of information and enthusiastic information at that. Many of the children on our tour were from various homeschool groups and they asked many excellent questions, all of which the tour guides had answers to. The wealth of information they had was impressive and how they were able to put into context for younger children was good as well. The cost for admission with the group discount was a token for the education and impression it made on Tadpole as well as me. All in all, even at full price it is well worth it.
We were docked so Tadpole was not driving!
The Nina and Pinta are real sailing ships and tour yearly. Their travels have taken them to stops in Texas, Louisiana as well as up the Atlantic Coast, through the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi river in past years. Their schedule for this year is available at http://www.thenina.com and will likely be updated soon with the rest of the year’s schedule. If it’s nearby, drop everything and go. It will be a great day with your homeschool family!
The view from the Poop deck of the Pinta