Since 2010, after leaving her homeport in Seville, El Galeón Andalucía has been cruising around the world visiting various ports and delighting hundreds of people. According to her crew members (there doesn't seem to be a great deal of information online), she is a 95% accurate replica of a Spanish treasure galleon from the 16th century. And happens to be the only one of her kind in the world.
At one time, Spain was the single super-power in the world; she had a vast global empire encompassing portions of Africa, including Morocco, bits of India (Sri Lanka), and the Spanish East Indies, and of course great chunks of the Americas. She even controlled bits of Italy, France and the Netherlands.
During the time that ships like El Galeón Andalucía were on the sea-roads, Spain was nearing bankruptcy and was entirely dependent on the income from the American Colonies. The Spanish were always searching for El Dorado, the lake of gold, to add to the thousands of tons of golden Aztec trinkets that were being turned into golden doubloons.
|The cathead, used for hoisting and lowering|
the anchor. It some ships, the end of it was
decorously carved with a lion's head
I’ve had the chance to go aboard several tall ships, but each new one always delights me as much as the last. There are always slight differences in how things are done aboard, but in essentials, they always have the same purpose.
|The great cabin|
Today, the ship is outfitted with a GPS system, but four hundred years ago, the chief form of navigation was dead reckoning, where the Captain, adding up the direction and speed of the ship (and with a little bit of chance) ‘reckoned’ his position on an ill-drawn map. The Sextant, the next revolution in navigation after the compass, was not due for invention for another two hundred years.
I was a bit disappointed with what the ship was like below decks; instead of showing the sorts of cargo the galleon would have been carrying in the sixteenth century, there was a mini movie theater about the construction of the ship. Which was nice…but we didn’t stay to see it.