Columbus's Footprints 10/7/2018 197 views On the south west corner of Central Park in New York City on a very tall pedestal stands a statue of Christopher Columbus. Columbus Circle. We have been there many times. Columbus, however, was never closer than 1500 miles from that spot.Long Island, BahamasIn 1492, Christopher Columbus came across a small sand spit of land after sailing west from Spain. Without the aid of GPS, or even a good time piece, it was difficult for his navigator to determine how far west (longitude) he was from Spain. He guessed he arrived at some small offshore islands of India or China. It was later that he learned that he ran into another continent.The Columbus Monument on Long IslandIt is guessed that he landed in San Salvador in the Bahamas or another small Bahama cay. He sailed around there for a while. How could he resist the beautiful clear waters of the Bahamas? We sailed the same Bahama waters a few years ago and one day climbed up to an out of the way Columbus monument on Long Island in the Bahamas. (The dirt road ended, and we had to hike that last mile to the monument). We were as close to Columbus’s footprints as possible. San Salvador, Samana Cay or other possible landing spots were not far off. Eventually he sailed back to Spain, making the first (that we know of) great Atlantic Loop Cruise: sail west down the trades, back east in the westerlies. Meanwhile, we sailed back to New York.Marie GalanteHe came back three other times. The second voyage landed him in Dominica and he cruised the middle of the east Caribbean islands before going north to Hispaniola. We have sailed to Dominica on our second Caribbean voyage and who knows, maybe we got really close to his footprints! But he, like us, didn’t spend much time in Dominica. We did hike around Dominica and the island hasn’t changed much in 600 years. After one day in Dominica he went to Marie Galante. Much more pleasant island, and great French food. We had a lovely time there and I’m sure Columbus did too. Maybe we walked the same footpaths! After that, he spent some time in Guadeloupe, much like we did last year.His third voyage landed him in Trinidad. He landed on the south eastern coast while we are here in the north west coast. No chance he landed up this way, but he did pass thru the gap between here and Venezuela. He should have stopped in for some good boat work here in Chaguaramas. Well maybe he was in a hurry. By this time, he was the “Governor of the Indies”. Unfortunately, he was a rather harsh ruler and he was returned to Spain in 1500 in chains, his reputation having caught up with him.TrinidadHe was eventually released and permitted to sail a 4th voyage which landed him in Martinique, a great place to get great French food. But he was not in charge and only just there to explore. On this voyage he did step ashore, and for this one time only, was on U.S. soil. It was on St. Croix, but he did not get a good welcome. In fact, a small skirmish occurred with the locals and he hightailed it out of there pretty quickly. We did visit the same landing spot when we were in St. Croix and can state unequivocally we had a much better reception.He sailed north to Hispaniola as a hurricane was approaching but was refused entry. As many cruisers do today, after sailing the eastern Carib, he explored the western Carib and Central America. That is something we haven’t done, yet. He returned to Spain in 1504 and died there in 1506, 14 years after “discovering America”.So, have we stepped in Columbus’s footprints. Possibly. Ironically, Columbus is not a towering figure in the lands he explored. Recognized, yes, but not towering. But cruising in these waters now one can only imagine what he saw and experienced. Yes, it was a whole new world to the Europeans who followed. However, reading the book “1491” by Charles Mann about the people and civilizations that were here and thriving well before Columbus, gave me an appreciation of the rich history of lost societies. In other words, his footprints, our footprints, are only impressions over many others and will undoubtably be followed by many more in the future. We owe it to those who came before us to pass their stories to those who will follow us.