On Board . . . by Joseph Najera


 . . . San Salvador, the flagship of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. In 1542 Cabrillo, along with those who sailed with him were the first Europeans to explore the coast of Northern California.

This ship you see above, is a replica built by The Maritime Museum of San Diego.  In late September of 2016 she visited Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey.

My wife and I live in San Jose, California.  Depending on traffic it’s an hour and half drive to the Monterey Peninsula.  We made the drive with eagerness and anticipation.  It was a chance to see history come alive.


Cabrillo claimed these California lands for Spain as he sailed up and down the coast.  I wonder if it would have changed the course of history if he had entered and explored the San Francisco Bay.  Perhaps that would be a pointless speculation.


Many people waited in line to board her.  We were among the lucky ones.  Were there early enough to get free admission.  Later visitors that day would have to pay.


The men who built this ship also sailed her and were available to answer visitors’ questions.


There were many of these posters along the queue to board the ship.


These images are perhaps too small to read but it is possible to get online and read this information.



The steering mechanism was interesting to me.


It was more complicated than the mechanism used by Christopher Columbus forty plus years earlier. I wrote about this in my novel Nena the Fairy and the Iron Rose.


The distance between the decks is about three feet.  The tiller is connected to the rudder through the opening.  The rudder descends below the water level and steers the ship.


(I thank Jerry Soto for the use of his photo)

The problem for the pilot is that one human being is not strong enough to turn it right, straight, left.  That is why you see the ropes and pulleys in the foreground.


The man in front of the curtain is the pilot of the ship.  He is the one in charge of steering the San Salvador. He is standing directly above the deck with the tiller and the ropes and pulleys.  The pole he is holding is connected to them.


The pulleys give him leverage, or power, so he is able to move the rudder to the right or left as he is directed from above. The pic below shows what the pilot sees when he is looking forward.


He has to rely on the Captain to tell him which direction to move the rudder.

There was more to my visit. I will share them in another post.


Non omnis moriar



About jedwardnajera

I am an artist and a Poet. I live the life of a poet. I published several novels. Nena the Fairy and the Iron Rose, Dust of the Moon are among them, available through Amazon Books. I have spent over thirty five years in a classroom. I am now retired from that profession. My father kept a living record of his lifetime as he lived through the Twentieth Century. He was born in 1908 and almost lived long enough to see us enter the new millennium. He entrusted to me nearly 400 pages that he wrote through the years. Now I am continuing the tradition by posting my own stories and misadventures. I am trying to post a new entry or chapter each Friday. Check in on us at least once a week for the latest post.
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