DAVENPORT, Iowa – Two unusual vessels will make landfall Friday at Oneida landing, returning for another visit. They will be there until Aug. 11.
The Niña and Pinta, historically accurate replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships, are open for public tours, while they’re docked. They were last seen in the area in 2010.
The first to be built was the Niña, which was made without the use of power tools. The Pinta was created in Brazil and now joins the Niña on tours. Both are caravels. On Columbus’ voyage to the New World, a third ship was part of the mix – the Santa Maria, which sunk in 1492.
This Niña and Pinta, however, serve as a museum on the water, focusing on the caravel. This type of vessel was handy as a warship, cargo carrier, and was even used by pirates.
Touring the ships is done on a self-guided basis. There is no need to make a reservation, and tickets can be purchased on the vessels.
Both ships are open and offer a chance to enter the past. Visitors will find information on historical events and a glimpse of life on the sea in the days of the caravel. Crew members are available to answer questions.
Guests also can visit the ship’s store to purchase merchandise as mementos.
The next stop for the ship duo will be Aug. 15-21 in Keokuk, Iowa, before they move on to Kentucky.
Those who would like to get out on the water can extend their visit to include touring with the use of a Channel Cat water taxi. The boats ferry people across the Mississippi River, all week, through Labor Day. Taxi hours are 11 a.m. to 7:40 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Taxis conveniently put visitors near touring sites:
n Moline Landing, 2501 E. River Drive, Moline: Great River Trail access and location of Celebration Belle for excursions.
n John Deere Commons Landing, 13th Street, Moline: John Deere Pavilion and iWireless Center.
n Bettendorf Landing, 17th Street and Isle Parkway, Bettendorf, Iowa: Isle of Capri Casino.
n Village of East Davenport Landing at the foot of Mound Street, East Davenport, Iowa: shopping opportunities.
The tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children 2 to 10; they can be used all day.