31st October 2016
To all our most appreciated supporters,
Unfavourable autumn weather has obliged us to delay commencing our 2016 Following Columbus Expedition until Wednesday 2 November. We intend to sail from Cat Island, Bahamas, the home port of our trusty catamaran Destiny II, to a secure anchorage (the first that Admiral Morison enumerated) at the southwest corner of Rum Cay and thence, the following day, to Fernandez Bay on the west coast of Watlings/San Salvador. So, this year’s Expedition will actually commence on or about Friday 4 November.
Please remember that the objective of this year’s expedition is to compare Admiral Morison’s asserted route from Watlings/San Salvador Island on 14 October, 1492, to his heading toward the Ragged Islands on 25 October with the very words of Columbus transcribed by Bartolomé de Las Casas and with the nautical observations of our captain Dave Calvert and expedition leader captain Tim Ainley.
Admiral Morison sailed the route he advocated in 1940 on the yacht Mary Otis and published his description of the route from Watlings/San Salvador in his magistral two-volume Admiral of the Ocean Sea in 1942. Being named official historian of the U.S. Navy during World War II, he did not publish his translation of Columbus’s Diario, or logbook of his first transatlantic voyage, until 1963. This work he annotated with observations made in the course of his voyage on Mary Otis. They differ in a few instances from his 1942 history. Eleven years later, the Admiral published his last work on the European voyages to the southern part of the New World. This 1974 history is remarkable in the description of Columbus’s first voyage across the Atlantic for omitting everything that was recorded between 18 and 27 October, 1492, when he approached the coast of Cuba.
I believe that Admiral Morison was aware of the difficulties his asserted route contained because he endeavoured to amend his route around Isabela, Columbus’s fourth island in his 1963 translation of the Diario. In his 1974 book on Atlantic voyages to the southern half of the New World, he chose to omit altogether a description of Columbus’s first voyage between 18 October and his approach to Cuba on 27 October.
Some of the discrepancies between Admiral Morison’s route and reality are hilarious. We shall discuss them in detail as we make our way among the Lucayan Islands (Bahamas0 with the Diario in hand. On this 2016 Expedition, we’ll be joined for its commencement by Douglas Rath, director of his company, MythFactory. Gabriel Kulcsar, our webmaster and professional photographer based on Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, will act as Expedition Photographer as we examine the first three islands described by Admiral Morison.
We thank all persons who follow us in our search of historic truth and particularly Ms. Penny Burger and two seventh grade classes in Muscatine, Iowa.