Lower naval gazing…
I went below!
Apropos of the last post on Notorious, the caravel…
We attended the Wooden Boat Festival and I went aboard this amazing replica.
Lack of space is the most intense sensation – I had thought caravels were so much bigger.
The solidity of the timbers.
The pure functionality of the space below.
Staggered at finding a fireplace and asked if that was historically correct. It appears yes. They cooked their food this way. Stone pavers beneath the fire were ballast for the craft.
Looking down through the gratings into an overall blackness and was reminded of the oubliette that features in my first book, The Stumpwork Robe.
Looking up through the gratings, it occurred to me that African slaves being transported to Europe would have seen this view. Just the sky, a glimpse of the freedom that was and might never be again. The same view for convicts being transported to Australia on different vessels three hundred years later.
The experience of going aboard was one to be cherished … but I can tell you this, I would no more have wanted to sail from Lisbon to the Ivory Coast on a vessel like this than to swim around Cape Horn. The sailors were profoundly brave, the drive to explore remarkable!
Fascinated to see your pictures, Prue, and I agree that I thought caravels were larger than this. It doesn’t look as though there would be much room for cargo. Many years ago we went aboard a replica of one of the three ships which sailed to New England with the Pilgrim Fathers in the seventeenth century, but it wasn’t full size. Two-thirds, I think. As far as I remember, it was a similar size to your ship. It was part of an round Britain cruise for sailing ships of all kinds. When we were in Denmark for a conference we saw original Viking ships which had been excavated as well as exact replicas which they sailed and rowed. Like you I’m filled with huge admiration for the sailors who manned these ships, and also for the families who entrusted themselves to wild embrace of the oceans.
From what I can gather, Ann, this vessel is built exactly to the specs of the original caravel design. I agree – little room for cargo, but I am wondering if beneath the living quarters, deep in the hold, there would be even more room for storage.
It’s changed my image of the original vessels so much. Do you know there isn’t another caravel in the world?
300 years later, ships were so much bigger, maritime design so much more developed. Let’s face it, in the fifteenth century, most sailors were just getting over the idea that the world wasn’t flat!
Amazing! The ship looks so rickety it scares me to think of this vessel actually crossing the ocean. Has it?
Hallo, J.G., welcome to my blog. Trust me, it wasn’t ricketty at all, it was so unbelievably solid, one wonders how it actually floated. The work of a dedicated shipwright is evident. And yes, it sailed from Victoria in Australia, across Bass Strait to Tasmania for the festival. It travels to other maritime festivals around Australia. Bass Strait is a pretty unsound stretch of water (see the disasters of the international Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race) and it managed it very well.
All I can say is “wow”! Thank you for the additional information. 😀
Amazing photos. I got such a feeling of claustrophobia. You’re right that those sailors were brave!
I have dreadful claustrophobia, Anne, which makes flying a nightmare. And one would think this vessel would generate such a feeling. In the time I was on board, I certainly didn’t feel like that, but maybe subconsciously I knew it was a fleeting visit and I could escape. That said, I was brought up on a beautiful wooden yacht in my childhood (my grandfather’s) and my favourite thing was to go below and burrow into the sails he stored on one of the bunks in the second cabin and go to sleep, so perhaps shipwise claustrophobia isn’t as strong as plane claustrophobia!
It always amazes me how people coped with travel etc in the past. On such a vessel I would be both claustophobic and seasick, so probably wouldn’t survive! But then I’ve been brought up soft. They didn’t know any different then.
For what its worth Nikalee, even the most seasoned sailor gets seasick. You’d be in good company.