The Nina, the Pinta, and the …

The Niña, the Pinta, and the …

On their tour of the Intracoastal Waterway, the Niña and the Pinta made a stop at Guntersville Lake, Alabama, which is about a two hour drive from us. So we got up early for a Sunday drive and a day together doing nothing but enjoying ourselves.

Nina, the Floating Museum

This ‘sailing museum’ is on a mission to educate the public and school children on the ‘caravel’, a Portuguese ship used by Christopher Columbus and many early explorers to discover the world. It is totally funded by the small boarding charge (I think it was $8 for adults) and donations. The crew are all volunteers. You can visit the website here:

Anchor on the Pinta



I was driving when we arrived in Guntersville and we appeared to be surrounded by water. There was water on both sides of us according to our GPS, and I commented that we should be able to see the docked ships any time now, to which Mr. Menace replied, No, you won’t be able to see them over these buildings.

Nina and Pinta

I was bewildered. These “buildings” that he spoke of were some type of industrial warehouse buildings which were one story and flat roofed. Surely we would be able to see the masts of these explorer’s sailing ships over the top of such short buildings??

Nina and Pinta

Notice that the ships are not even visible above the cars in the parking lot.

Sure enough, when we arrived at the city marina, there were two small ships docked. I was fascinated. THESE tiny ships carried 24 crew (Pinta 26, Santa Maria 40) on the first voyage across the Atlantic which lasted 7 months? Amazing.

These ships are, of course, replicas of the original Nina and Pinta, and were built in Brazil by master builders, using design and construction techniques dating back to the 15th century. The Columbus Foundation has no plans to build a Santa Maria because she was bigger and could not make it through the waterways that the floating museum travels.

Nina and Pinta

Anchor on the Nina

You may recall that it was in 1492 that the original Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria took off on their first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. When I was a kid, I was looking at some old school work of my mother’s and found this poem that she had used in a class project. History never much interested me in school and I think that’s why this poem tickled me then, and it still tickles me now.

Johnny’s Hist’ry Lesson

I think, of all the things at school
A boy has got to do,
That studyin’ hist’ry, as a rule,
Is worst of all, don’t you?
Of dates there are an awful sight,
An’ though I study day an’ night,
There’s only one I’ve got just right –
That’s fourteen ninety-two.

Columbus crossed the Delaware
In fourteen ninety-two;
We whipped the British, fair an’ square,
In fourteen ninety-two.
At Concord an’ at Lexington.
We kept the redcoats on the run,
While the band played Johnny Get Your Gun,
In fourteen ninety-two.

Pat Henry, with his dyin’ breath –
In fourteen ninety-two –
Said, “Gimme liberty or death!”
In fourteen ninety-two.
An’ Barbara Frietchie, so ’tis said,
Cried, “Shoot if you must this old, gray head,
But I’d rather ‘twould be your own instead!”
In fourteen ninety-two.

The Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock
In fourteen ninety-two,
An’ the Indians standin’ on the dock
Asked, “What are you goin’ to do?”
An’ they said, “We seek your harbor drear
That our children’s children’s children dear
May boast that their forefathers landed here
In fourteen ninety-two.

Miss Pocahontas saved the life –
In fourteen ninety-two –
Of John Smith, an’ became his wife
In fourteen ninety-two.
An’ the Smith tribe started then an’ there,
An’ now there are John Smiths ev’rywhere,
But they didn’t have any Smiths to spare
In fourteen ninety-two.

Kentucky was settled by Daniel Boone
In fourteen ninety-two,
An’ I think the cow jumped over the moon
In fourteen ninety-two.
Ben Franklin flew his kite so high
He drew the lightnin’ from the sky,
An’ Washington couldn’t tell a lie,
In fourteen ninety-two.

— By Nixon Waterman.

Us and Nina

Are you a history buff? Do you like poetry?



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    • gwingal says:

      Over the years, I have thought about this poem and smiled and then tried to Google it, always without much success. But persistence does pay off and eventually I found it again. I love it and I love you for making me love it! xxoo

  1. Melissa Ruddy says:

    Sounds like a fascinating little trip. I love when you actually get to walk on the grounds of something historic. It really gives you a connection to the past and makes it more then just a story.

    • gwingal says:

      It was amazing to get on those ships and try to imagine sailing across the Atlantic Ocean! I don’t think I’d try it. 🙂

  2. Laurie says:

    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us this week on Brag About It. I had no idea these existed. Pinning to my vacation board!

    • gwingal says:

      Oh I am so glad you enjoyed it! They are going all the way up the east coast this year and I hope you get to see them.

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