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article imageWelcome aboard the ships of discovery: The Niña and the Pinta Special

By Kay Mathews     Nov 8, 2011 in World
Little Rock - Replicas of Christopher Columbus' ships, the Niña and the Pinta, are touring America for the purpose of educating the public about these "caravel" vessels used in the discovery of the new world.
Authentic replicas of the original ships known as the "Pinta" and the "Niña" were docked at Riverfront Park in Little Rock, Ark. November 2 - 7 and the public was invited to discover these ships of discovery. According to The Columbus Foundation, their Niña is "the most historically accurate replica of a Columbus Ship ever built."
When Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, beginning in 1492, he did so on the caravel, which The Columbus Foundation notes is "a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers to discover the world."
The Columbus Foundation first built the Niña, Columbus' favorite ship which logged at least 25,000 miles under his command, and later built the Pinta. "She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel and offers larger deck space for walk-aboard tours and has a 40 ft air conditioned main cabin down below with seating," states the Columbus Foundation. "Pinta is available for private parties and charters."
Now, these ships are visiting ports of call as a "sailing museum" and it was an educational experience to board the ships on their final day in Little Rock. Docked side-by-side, visitors first boarded the Pinta and could then make their way onto the Niña.
A view of the Pinta s deck with Nina to the right.  Little Rock  Ark.  11-6-11
A view of the Pinta's deck with Nina to the right. Little Rock, Ark. 11-6-11
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There were many sights to see on both ships including anchors, sails and flags, and small cannons.
Anchor on the Nina.  Little Rock  Ark.  11-6-11
Anchor on the Nina. Little Rock, Ark. 11-6-11
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Sails and flags on the Nina and Pinta.  Little Rock  Ark.  11-06-11
Sails and flags on the Nina and Pinta. Little Rock, Ark. 11-06-11
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The small cannon, according to a sign, was “Made from bronze-brass and later iron, these cannons were mainly used for signaling other ships while out at sea.”
Small cannon on board the Pinta.  Little Rock  Ark.  11-6-11
Small cannon on board the Pinta. Little Rock, Ark. 11-6-11
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Other examples of items used by Columbus and his crew included pine tar, used as a preservative for wood that Columbus used for ship decking and rigging, and a display of types of knots. The display of rope knots featured the clove hitch, round turn/two half hitches, square knot, and bowline.
Types of knots used aboard the Nina and Pinta.  Little Rock  Ark.  11-6-11
Types of knots used aboard the Nina and Pinta. Little Rock, Ark. 11-6-11
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There were some places on the ships that visitors could view from above, but were not allowed to go below such as the hold, “where all food, extra gear, water and animals were kept,” according to a sign. “No people were below. All crew lived, ate and slept on deck.” And, open to viewing from above, was the Captain’s Quarters where Columbus would have slept and the captain of the replica Niña ship currently sleeps. It was said that the Captain’s Quarters was the only private space that Columbus had and it entailed a small cabin with a bunk, small navigation desk and only four feet of headroom.
A little girl investigates the Captain s Quarters on the Nina.  Little Rock  Ark.  11-6-11
A little girl investigates the Captain's Quarters on the Nina. Little Rock, Ark. 11-6-11
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The journey for the Niña and the Pinta continues, but the 2011 schedule is coming to a close shortly. The ships will be in Ft. Smith, Ark. Nov. 11-20, Muskogee, Okla. Nov. 23 - Dec. 7, and the final port listed on the schedule is Punta Gorda, Fla. Dec. 20 - Jan. 1.
The Pinta  facing west  on the Arkansas River.  Little Rock  Ark. 11-6-11
The Pinta, facing west, on the Arkansas River. Little Rock, Ark. 11-6-11
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For more information about admission prices and group tours, please visit this website.
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