Moored on the Riverfront in Jacksonville, the
San Pelayo, replica of a 1565 Spanish galleon, was
open for tours this week. Seen here is the stern. Just
inside the door is the Captain's quarters, the best
place for living on the ship.
A galleon was a boat that had the lead role in trade from the 16th to the 18th centuries. They sailed the longest routes and had the most endurance. The San Pelayo was constructed of oak and pine. It was owned by Pedro Mene`ndez de Avile's, the first governor of La Florida and the founder of St. Augustine. When he led his fleet to La Florida, it was armed with ten guns of bronze.
Next year, 2015, the City of St. Augustine begins a year long anniversary celebration of the founding of the city 450 years ago. Concerts, exhibitions, historical re-enactments and festivals will continue all year. The culmination of the celebration will be on September 8, 2015, with a Mene'dez Landing Re-Enactment, procession, commemorative mass and street festival.
When we toured the galleon, posted information quoting documents of the day said that "She carries seventy-seven able seamen, officers, sailors, cabin boys and pages, eighteen artillerymen and one pilot and three hundred seventeen soldiers . . . Moreover the said vessel carried twenty-six married men along with their wives and children." This is amazing considering the size of the vessel. How unbelievably crowded!! Was the whole list of people on board at the same time? There was obviously no privacy. My mind wanders to . . . how, where did all those people go to the bathroom?
The boat is roughly 32 feet long and not nearly as wide. There are three levels. The bottom one was where the crew could sleep. It had no windows and very little means of getting air. The stairs leading to that level were narrow and steep. While being a sailor may seem like a romantic life, it was very crowded.
This is one side of the Captain's quarters.
From the back looking toward the front
of the ship. A lot of time was spent managing
all those ropes.
The ship's wheel.
La Florida, 1600's style
Many Spanish galleons were taken over by pirates and sailed to the Caribbean.