Christopher Columbus was the Admiral of the Ocean Sea. That title was bestowed upon him by the Most Serene Catholic Majesties, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela, upon the return of his first voyage.
He retained the title despite losing favour with the king and queen. His campaign and petitions for a fourth voyage of discovery were not welcomed. They however eventually provided him with four ships past their prime. They were more suitable for kindling than for sailing.
The four ships that made up the fleet were: La Capitana, the largest of the four ships that made up the fleet, the Admiral’s ship.El Gallego, La Santiago, La Vizcaino were the other ships.
“Señor Moro. Make an addendum to the log.” Bartolomeo Fiesci, Capitán of La Vizcaino, was speaking to his second in command. Despite the mayhem they just went through, the Capitán tried to maintain the pretense of dressing like an officer and a gentleman.
His hair and beard were well beyond the need of a trim. He started life as a redhead but now he was streaked with white despite his young age. His pantaloons were quite faded and he was the only one on board to wear shoes and hose.
Like the Admiral himself he was from Genoa. In fact they were kinsmen. The Admiral recruited him for this Fourth Voyage. He felt he needed someone he could trust. For Columbus, this voyage was destined to be his last.
Seis entered the ship’s cabin and made the ink and quill ready. Seis is the Spanish word for “6”. He had five older brothers and a father who could not think of a better name.
Fiesci ran into him in Tunisia. He was educated, a rarity in that time, and trained in the art of navigation. He soon gained the Captain’s trust and became his Second in Command.
“At your pleasure, Capitán.” Seis responded.
“On this day, 14th of July, Anno Domini 1502, we leave the coast of Hispaniola behind us. We now enter uncharted waters to make passage to the Indies. May the Lord be with us on this venture.”
Carlitos looked back and saw the green island of Hispaniola sink lower into the horizon. The entire crew was up and looking back as well. “What’s next?” He did not want to ask.
“Look forward men.” Fiesci ordered his crew. “There is nothing for you back there but the past. Look forward then. From now on we will be the first to sail into these uncharted seas. From now on everything you see and hear and smell, is new. And we will be the first to see it and hear it and smell it. We will be the ones to say ‘I was there!’ and we will be remembered, as men of legend. Our names will live on. We will be remembered through the ages.”
Carlitos looked back again nevertheless. A lump grew in his throat and he held back the urge to cry. He had been tested by the fates and by the demons and they did not get the better of him. He was a boy required to do a man’s job and he rose to the occasion. He had crossed the Great Ocean Sea and survived a hurricane.
I have seen enough, his inner voice was quietly saying. He looked at the sunburned faces of his fellow mates and knew that they must be thinking the same thing. Not happy, not pleased, not proud. They have seen enough on a voyage that they were just beginning.