Friday, April 10, 2015

Blogging from A to Z: El Galeon

During April, I'm participating in the Blogging from A to Z challenge -- one alphabet-themed post per day, starting with A is for Aruba Aftermath and ending with Z is for ... I don't know yet what Z is for, I'll figure it out when I get there.

El Galeon under sail

We're still at it, still at this living history thing.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons still find us dressed as 17th century mariners, or as pirates depending on our mood, telling stories of life on old-time tall ships, as tour guides aboard the visiting Spanish replica El Galeon Andalucia.  The magic hasn't faded.  Maybe its just because we get to spend our days on such a beautiful vessel, or maybe its the incredible high we get when we see the faces of visitors suddenly "get it" through our words.  We tell them about the discomforts and uncertainties of the ocean voyage, the bad food and little water, 2 months at sea ... and that's if everything goes well.  One early settler wrote that they were always "only 3 inches from death" because that was the thickness of the hull planks that kept the ocean out.  "If the storms don't get you, the pirates might," I tell the visitors.  "But then, think how desparate the situation must have been in Europe, if people thought this voyage was the best option available for them!"

All that time we spend on the Galeon is dockside, though. We talk about the sea voyage, but we've never had the opportunity to sail with them ourselves.  Not because we're not welcome, but because of an old law, still on the books, that restricts foreign-flagged carriers from operating between two US cities.  Originally enacted to protect our then-fledgling transportation industry, that law is still on the books. (It still applies, for example, to airlines, which is why only US-based carriers operate between cities, and non-US carriers can take you overseas.)  So all last summer when they were sailing up the East Coast in ports familiar to us, we had to drive to meet them by land, or sail our own boat to meet them, to avoid being US citizens sailing under a foreign flag between two US ports.  But as soon as they leave US waters, that restriction goes away.  We can't sail 300 miles to Fort Lauderdale or Key West with them ... but when they leave to return to Spain, 3000 miles across the Atlantic, no problem.  We don't have any idea when they are leaving, or where they are headed next, but when they indicated we would not be unwelcome aboard ... well, all I can say is that Dan is practicing his Spanish.  We're on it!!

(My previous posts including El Galeon, with more pictures, include Spending Wintertime Lost in Time in St Augustine, Slowing Down a Bit -- or NOT -- in Beaufort, SC; and Halloween Fun.)


  1. Wow - I didn't know that. It seems crazy that you can't travel between two American cities on a foreign flagged boat.

  2. You see it mostly in airlines now -- you still can only fly a US-based airline between two US cities, though of course you can fly a foreign airline to an overseas city.