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.
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.
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.
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.