Ferdinand Magellan and me (44)

Our yacht Wathara hauled out for antifoul.
After a few days delay in Barbate for engine repairs we arrived in Seville in time for the processions of Holy Week and the April Fair, formerly the Horse Fair in Magellan’s time. It featured hidalgos in black trousers and waist coats and broad-brimmed hats riding magnificent stallions. Their ladies in bright flounced dresses rode side-saddle on the rump. We were taken there by Eduardo whom we had met in the boatyard when we hauled Wathara out of the water for a paint job. In tents all over the grounds little girls of 7 or 8 were beginning their apprenticeship as flamenco dancers; the castanets, the guitars, the wailing songs commemorating the tragedies of gypsies all mixed with the heady brew of the local wine. It lifted you out of this world into outer space where there was only music and song and dance and none of this other crap that affects our world. I never heard a proper guitar until I went to Spain.
Later, in a bar somewhere in the city with a more mature version of flamenco in progress, which is to say not quite as loud, slower and more emotional with the dancers sliding around through peanut shells on the floor, Eduardo said, “So why do you have this interest in Magellan?”
“I don’t know. He was a sailor and I’m a sailor but he was the best.”
“Why was he the best?”
“Because he was the first. Because he had a vision and nothing or no one was going to stand in his way. It’s like he said ‘I’m going to fly this rocket and no one is going to stop me. The next biggest event in the world’s history is the landing on the Moon. One day we will go to Mars.”
“Do you have the history?”
“My Spanish is a bit dodgy. I need a translating dictionary handy.”
“Do you need someone to help with translation?”
“That would be nice.”
What an amazing fellow this Eduardo was. He lived not far from the Barrio Santa Cruz , where Barbosa lived and Magellan wooed Beatriz. He was my advisor and translator and became engrossed in the Magellan story himself. He was an academic at the local university and a weekend sailor. The least we could do was take him for a sail in Wathara.

Magellan in Seville


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Sailor from wayback with a Master's degree in Technology Management. Prefer classical music to rap and chicken curry to steak.

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