Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Wed 30 Mar 2011 21:07
The Columbus Monument, Cape Santa Maria, Long Island
After lunch at Cape Stella Maris, we decided to find the monument to Columbus. On our map it said it was a rough road. No mistake there, the car has since developed a groaning and clanking noise. Four miles and twenty minutes of kidney wobbling later, we parked the car and wandered up the buoyed rocky track. Someone with a sense of humour built the monument where it is, there is probably a counter hidden somewhere to see how many intrepid nutters actually get here.
Way back in 1882, Gustavus V. Fox, former Under Secretary of the Navy, shook up conventional thought by proposing that Columbus actually made landfall at tiny, reef dash shrouded Samana Cay. (I must just put in, that these snippets are normally dictated to me by Big Bear, his task is to speak clearly and slowly, while I type. He also has to spell for me any difficult words, capital letters and punctuations as they occur. He just said reef dash shrouded and it wasn't until I typed the final d that I twigged the word dash should have been a - , now wet eyed as I admitted this faux pas) OK back to it. Instead of San Salvador, sixty five miles to the northwest. Just two years later, James B. Murdoch countered this theory by casting doubt on a few of the points Fox guessed at to make his Samana premise work. In 1942, Admiral Samuel Eliot Morrison, a Columbus scholar and nautical expert, weighed in favouring San Salvador. Not until 1986, did National Geographic's senior associate editor Joseph Judge revive Fox's original theory. This time around, National Geographic researchers took advantage of technology, predicting the route of the three thousand dash mile, thirty three dash day voyage using computer models which took ocean currents into account. According to Judge (capital J comma) Columbus (capital C) landed on San Salvador "only if he had sailed in a nearly straight line........Steering by compass alone, this is a physical impossibility, unless the ocean froze solid and rail-road tracks were laid on its surface."
On the other hand, if you've ever talked to anyone with any local knowledge of navigating the waters around Samana, or even experienced for yourself, you've probably wondered where Columbus anchored his 15th Century cruiser. Certainly a caravel wouldn't be able to tiptoe through the coral to lie in Columbus Bay. Even today, most charts and guides discourage the journey to Samana because it's such a treacherous spot.
Other lesser-known theories hold up nine different islands ranging from Egg Island to the Virgin Islands as Columbus' actual arrival point.
Whether you subscribe to the frozen ocean theory, the traditional stance or Egg Island as the first stop in the New World, one thing is certain: If good ol' Chris had had a GPS back in the days of his historic voyage, we'd know exactly where the Cross Monument is supposed to be !!!!! ...........but anyway he had set out to find China................ did he fail his GCSE Geography O'level or was he simply a complete berk.
The views from up here though were good
The road back seemed less daunting after our last view and I got a favourite 'one careful owner' en route
ALL IN ALL AFTER THAT ROAD WE'LL HAVE COLUMBUS LANDING HERE ON LONG ISLAND
AT LEAST WE KNOW HE FOUND LAND AND DIDN'T FALL OFF THE EDGE