Thursday, March 24, 2016

Key West - We tour El Galeon, see Hokule and pay our last visit to Jimmy Olson at The Gardens

This ship is tall! This shot is from the foredeck. 
As we near the end of our stay in Key West, things are getting busier. El Galeon arrived yesterday and today she was open for tours. I bought a ticket on-line ($15 each) and we were one of the first ones aboard. You're allowed to go up to both ends of the ship, far above the water and then descend into the ship's hold. What strikes you about the ship is the shear size and how impressive it must have been to natives used to canoes. Actually, nevermind that, it was impressive to me!

They had 60 cannons for defense.
The officers' quarters were finished in fine wood paneling with a very sturdy table for meals. As reported yesterday, the ship is a 1:1 reproduction, it's not scaled down. I was surprised at the headroom, you never had to bend over. The height of the rooms were about 6 ft 5 inches or so.

Nice furniture, the officers traveled in style - it even had a "back porch"
Down below were two rows of cannons, 60 in all were carried on board. I cannot imagine the deafening noise when the cannons were fired.  Counting all hands and passengers, roughly 1000 people were on board when she set sail. I cannot imagine such a crowd on such a boat.

Can you imagine these cannons all going off at once!?
See Sarah - proper coiling!
Coming back to our dock we noticed another odd boat moored at the end. It turned out to be Hokule, a Polynesian style boat that's currently sailing around the world. They just happened to reach Key West last night around 10:00 pm and are docked for the day.

Twin masts, open boat, thousands of miles of open ocean, wow
It's an open boat, sail powered. The crew is completely exposed to the elements and it's manned by volunteers. It's patterned after real Polynesian boats. We chatted with one of the crew that came on board in Brazil. They average 4 to 6 kts under the best of conditions with lots of wind, around 25 kts needed. The boat has no motor and has to be towed when coming to dock. After that we were glad to be fully enclosed in our Fleetwing!

Goodbye Jimmy until next year
We paid our last visit to Jimmy Olsen at The Gardens. He plays a baby grand piano Thursday evenings from 5:00 to 7:00 and also sings along. We've always enjoyed him and we said goodbye until next year.