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Voyage of Discovery
The Original Santa Maria
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Home >> Experience History >> Voyage of Discovery

Voyage of Discovery
After years of trying to convince the rulers of Portugal of the merits of his proposed journey, Columbus finally convinced Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Spain, to share his dream. He equipped an expedition of three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

The fleet left Spain in August with a crew of 90, heading for the Canary Islands. Along the way, the ships were hit by a severe storm, a storm so severe that it broke the Pinta's rudder. After their stay in the Canary Islands to restock their supplies and repair the Pinta's damages, Columbus and his crew departed on a journey that would eventually take them thousands of miles from home, relying solely upon the wind and current for propulsion and a crude compass, the sun and the stars for direction!

The Landing
More than two months into the voyage, the crew was becoming extraordinarily weary and supplies were running very low. Columbus became increasingly worried that the crew would throw him overboard and return to Spain. So on October 9th, Columbus made a deal with his crew: if they did not sight land in three days, they would turn back. The first day comes and goes. The second day passes with the same results. In the middle of the third night, October 12, 1492, crew members rejoice at the sight of land in what is now known as the Bahamas.

Exploring the Islands
Over the next three months, Columbus hopelessly searched for the Kahn of China to establish trade ties, thinking he had made it all the way to the Orient. During this exploration he and his crew sailed around the islands in utter awe of the beauty of the "new lands" and friendliness of the inhabitants.

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SANTA MARIA
SHIP INFO
Overall Length: 98 feet
Height: From the keel to the top of the mast: 89 feet
Hull Dimensions: At the water line: 72 feet by 26 feet. The hull is 2.5 inches thick below the water line and 1.75 inches thick above the water line.
Weight: 130 tons with ballast
Main Mast: This 65-foot mast is carved from a single Douglas fir.
Hull Planking: 44,000 board feet of Port Oreford cedar.
Deck Planking: and spars 22,000 board feet of Douglas fir.
Frames: 24,000 board feet of Alaskan yellow cedar.
Sails: 2,700 square feet.
Rigging: 4,000 linear feet of line.
Knees: 1,000 board feet of White Oak.
Tar: 55 gallons used to preserve fixed rigging.
Lignum Vitale: 90 board feet.
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