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!