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El Galeon Andalucia

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Savannah – The Galeon class ship El Galeon Andalucia is currently docked along River Street near Rousakis Plaza; after church this morning, I drove up to River Street to see it because I’ve never had the chance to see a Galeon before. She’s a 170ft, 495 ton 1:1 replica of a Spanish Galeon of the 16th Century. Home ported in St. Augustine, FL, she’s making a tour of the US east coast and is visiting Savannah for 10 days as part of the tour. Ships like this plied the Atlantic and the Indies in Spanish service well before Georgia was founded, so it was very interesting to get an up close look at a recreation of a piece of history. Size-wise, it is dwarfed by modern warships and merchant vessels; I can’t imagine how it must be to cross the Atlantic in one of these, especially in stormy weather.

El Galeon Andalucia

El Galeon Andalucia

Closeup of El Galeon Andalucia's bow

Closeup of El Galeon Andalucia’s bow

Close up of the aft portion of El Galeon Andalucia

Close up of the aft portion of El Galeon Andalucia

As you can see from the photos above, a Galeon like this was very much a working vessel. Compared to some of the tall ships I saw a few years ago during the Tall Ships Challenge on River Street, this one isn’t nearly as fancy or decorated. There is a distinct lack of carvings, gilding, and exterior decoration with the noted example of a painting of the Virgin Mary on the stern (see below). Granted it’s an example of a much earlier vessel than those at the Tall Ships Challenge, but looking at this one, it’s clear that this was definitely a work horse vessel.

Profile of El Galeon Andalucia's stern and the massive rudder

Profile of El Galeon Andalucia’s stern and the massive rudder

Close up shot of where the rudder's control arm enters the ship

Close up shot of where the rudder’s control arm enters the ship

El Galeon Andalucia's stern

El Galeon Andalucia’s stern

Close up of the Virgin Mary on El Galeon Andalucia's stern; the latin inscription reads "Hail, Queen of the Sea" (Thanks to NR4CB for identification and translation of the Latin)

Close up of the Virgin Mary on El Galeon Andalucia’s stern; the latin inscription reads “Hail, Queen of the Sea” (Thanks to NR4CB for identification and translation of the Latin)

Cannon on El Galeon Andalucia's upper deck

Cannon on El Galeon Andalucia’s upper deck

Cannon below deck in El Galeon Andalucia

Cannon below deck in El Galeon Andalucia

How the gun doors are held open

How the gun doors are held open

A lot of the photos below are of details of the ship that really struck home. While looking at all of the rigging and rope-work on El Galeon Andalucia, I couldn’t help but think of Granddaddy. He was retired US Navy and handy with ropes and lines, could frequently be found making shrimp nets and nautical related items. I can’t help but think that something like t his would have been right up his alley.

El Galeon Andalucia's Fore Mast

El Galeon Andalucia’s Fore Mast

El Galeon Andalucia's Main Mast and Mizzen Mast

El Galeon Andalucia’s Main Mast and Mizzen Mast

El Galeon Andalucia's bowsprit

El Galeon Andalucia’s bowsprit

Semi-concealing some of El Galeon Andalucia's modern amenitites

Semi-concealing some of El Galeon Andalucia’s modern amenities

Close up of some of El Galeon Andalucia's rigging;  looking at rope work like this reminded me of Grandaddy

Close up of some of El Galeon Andalucia’s rigging; looking at rope work like this reminded me of Granddaddy

El Galeon Andalucia's anchor

El Galeon Andalucia’s anchor

Cross of Burgandy Flag on the Fore Mast

Cross of Burgandy Flag on the Fore Mast

Flag of Castile and Leon on the Mizzen Mast

Flag of Castile and Leon on the Mizzen Mast

Spanish flag on the stern

Spanish flag on the stern

As a history buff, I truly enjoyed getting to see this ship while I was in Savannah for a few days. It’s representative of a part of American history many overlook or forget.  It will be here through 2 November, so if you get a chance go out to River Street and pay it a visit; it’s docked right in front of Rousakis Plaza.


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