Spanish Galleon Meets the iPhone
A trip on a replica Spanish galleon with an iPhone camera
I want to take the time to introduce you to a new photography book by Andy Royston. The title of this volume is Setting Sails and is a record of a three day trip aboard a faithful replica of a sixteenth century Spanish galleon as it traveled up the coast from Fort Lauderdale to St Augustine.
How I wish I'd been on that voyage too.
The voyage was a major part of Florida's celebration of the 500 year anniversary of Spaniard Ponce de Leon discovering Florida.
Some of you may know that Mr Royston is actually my other half and to say that I was green with envy when he told me about the impending voyage would be to put it mildly. Only a handful of people had been invited aboard for the trip and much as I begged and pleaded, he assured me that there was no way he could sneak me aboard as a stowaway.
His role on the voyage was to take iPhone photographs and to send them in real time to various social media accounts.
My role, it appeared, was to sit at home and share them with my local network.
Ah well ... at least I got to see these beautiful images before the rest of the world. So Captain Pugwash packed a bag, as I ran about outside trying unsuccessfully to catch a local parrot for him to wear on his shoulder.
After a lot of corny puns, bad maritime jokes and a lot of 'arrrrr, Jim lad' pirate-speak, off he went on his adventure.
Photographs © Andy Royston. Transgressors will be made to walk the plank or be sued, whichever is the more convenient.
Her name is Andalucia and she is a 170 foot replica of the ships that were in the Spanish fleet that first came to Florida. She has modern conveniences of course, including engines to make her modern-day journeys more reliable but during most of the trip she was under sail.
Calm, peaceful and tranquil
I've told you that I was green with envy .... when I received this photograph by text I could immediately imagine myself sitting there on board with a glass of red wine. As the crew were all Spanish - the ship had been built in Spain and sailed across the Atlantic - maybe a lovely smooth Rioja. But it seems that a sailor's life isn't quite that easy.
Sailing a galleon is hard work
Hmm ... maybe I was glad that I hadn't stowed away, after all. Andy told me that the crew were a fantastic bunch of lads and extremely hard-working. But that didn't mean that the guests could sit idly by with a cocktail and watch them at work. No, the passengers were expected to pull their weight too, splicing the main brace or whatever it is sailors do. Maybe I was better off sitting in the yard with a glass of Californian red and waiting for the texts to arrive after all...
This is Ulysses, a member of the Spanish crew.
As darkness fell
At dusk there were ample opportunities to take fabulous geometrical shots of the rigging. Andalucia had to sail further out to sea as the ship approached Cape Canaveral. Because it is a highly restricted government area, no ships are permitted to sail within thirty miles of the shore. However, evidently I had been right when I suspected that the wine would flow aboard the galleon - these guys were Spanish after all. I looked at the texted photographs and opened another bottle of red.
Andy always gets up before dawn and did so during the voyage, hangover notwithstanding. There was a hazy mist that lingered for a while until the sun rose to burn it away. This gave him the perfect opportunity for sunrise silhouette shots. All these photographs - and more - are in the book. You can order the paperback version here.
Living off the land, um ... sea
Wherever possible, the crew fished and fed themselves and their guests with the bounty that the ocean had to offer. Just like the old days.