Doodle #92: The Sea of Darkness

 Watercolor on paper. 5 1/2" x 8 1/2"  Win it here.   PURCHASE A PRINT HERE.

Watercolor on paper. 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" Win it here. PURCHASE A PRINT HERE.

I am a story addict.  Seasons of television shows at the tip of my fingers, is like an alcoholic tending bar.  So, I quit cold turkey.  No TV fiction for 30 days.  I've been filling the vacuum with new history obsessions.  The last week or so has been "The Age of Exploration." 

Portugal and Castile in the fifteenth century is a terrific soap opera, right up there with Game of Thrones: Kings murdering their sons mistresses, brother against brother, Spanish Subterfuge.

I've been quite taken with "Prince Henry the Navigator," the youngest son of the bastard of the murdered mistress mentioned above. He started the first cartography center in Europe and founded a navigation school that brought together old Greek texts about geometry, new ship building technology, and the most gifted and daring sea captains of the day.  With a hearty push, he sent ships of traders and explorers off into the unknown.

There were many unknowns at the time.  My favorite of these psychological barriers given form on maps and in tales is "The Sea of Darkness," just past Cape Bojador, in modern day Morocco.  Henry sent Gil Eannes off in a newly designed and built caravel to pass Cape Bojador, but when the crew drew near the dreaded sea, they shared legends of giant sea monsters and equatorial boiling waters, and hastily turned their expedition back to Portugal.  Henry sent Eannes off again, and this time, he persevered through shaggy shoals, reefs, and fears, finally pulling back the curtain on "The Sea of Darkness" to reveal...

...peaceful waters, a quiet shoreline, and eventually a small fishing community.

So, here we have, in Doodle #92, the first European sailing expedition to go beyond the imagined Sea of Darkness, beginning many new stories of encounters and discoveries.