Going, Going, ...We're Gone!

Monday, January 04, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Perdido Key, FL
January 1-5, 2010

What a surprise! While we were updating our house to get it ready to sell, it sold... before we ever put it on the market. So without a plan of where to move to, we decided maybe it was time to just hit the road for a while. We crammed everything into a little apartment (our base camp) and set out for Perdido Key, Florida. Mr. Pelican and his friends were there to welcome us to the beautiful Gulf coast, in spite of the chilly temperatures. Since we were last in the area, a couple of new letterboxers have been busy planting lots of new boxes, including one in Pensacola's beautiful St. Michael's Cemetery, which dates back to the 18th century. We were delighted to learn that a replica of the Nina, one of Christopher Columbus's ships, was at the Palafox Pier and available for touring. On the far left in this photo, you can see that the Nina, at 65 feet long, is not much larger than some of the recreational sailboats that were docked at the pier. Imagine boarding such a ship in the 15th century, not having any real idea of where you would end up! Built in Brazil in the 1990s, the Nina has been touring around the U.S. along with a replica of the Pinta (which was actually built larger than the original ship). Since they are relatively small, the ships have been able to travel inland on river systems and came to Pensacola from the Northeast. We talked with a member of the crew, who told us the ships came down the Ohio River to the Cumberland, then the Tennessee to the Tombigbee, which brought them to Mobile and through the bay to Pensacola.

Photo by the Columbus Foundation
When we asked whether they didn't generate some interesting reactions from people who saw these caravel replicas sailing down American rivers, she told us of an incident as they came down the Tombigbee in Alabama. They heard a tugboat captain, who was guiding a sizeable barge down the river, say on the radio, "I may still be drunk from last night, but did anybody else see those two pirate ships that just went by?" The crew explained to the tug captain what the ships were and one can imagine he was quite relieved!

Check out the Columbus Foundation's web site for more information about the ships and where they're going next.  Wish we were going with them.  Unfortunately we have to return to base camp for the removal of what we're assured is a small a basal cell cancer growth on Dianne's nose.  Not exactly relaxing on the beach!