The Nina and the Pinta braved storms and high waters en route to Davenport.
The replicas of 15th century caravels used for exploring and as pirate ships are floating museums. The two boats docked at Oneida Landing Thursday morning.
At their last tour stop in Hudson, Wis., a storm nearly ripped the boats and their dock from shore. Flooding and high water levels also have made navigating the rivers difficult.
"The Midwest thunderstorms are the hardest part, said Capt. Morgan Sanger. "You lose all concept of where you are. Everybody's got to be on deck, get really wet and be prepared for what's going to happen."
When traveling on a river, the boats must rely on motors to travel 10 mph downstream or 5 mph upstream. On lakes and out at sea, the unfurled sails push the ships on at 10 mph.
"They're a much better sailboat than a motorboat,"said Capt. Kyle Friauf. "But they'll go with the motor if we make them."
The two ships will be open to Quad Cities residents from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until Aug. 30. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for students 5-16 and free for kids 4 and younger.
The Nina, made without power tools or a set design, is consider the world's most accurate replica of a Columbus ship, according to the Columbus Foundation. Construction began in 1988 and was completed in time for the 500th anniversary of Columbus' maiden voyage.
"The Nina was built exactly the way the originals were built," Capt. Sanger said. "There wouldn't be any blueprint. (The shipwright) would just have the ship in his mind, how it would be shaped."
Each boat has three or four full-time crew members and at least as many volunteers. As a result, the full-time crew are constantly helping volunteers "learn the ropes," and the sails they're connected to, said Capt. Friauf.
Dave Balog, a recently retired electrician from Hammond, Ind., has been with the crew for six weeks.
"If I knew you could put this on a bucket list, I would have," Mr. Balog said. "This is work. But you know what?It's fun. You could say it's a labor of love."
Today is Wednesday, April 16, the 106th day of 2014. There are 259 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Yesterday some bold thief stole a full bolt of calico from a box in front of Wadsworth's store, where it was on exhibition. 1889 -- 125 years ago: A team belonging to Peter Priese got away from its driver and made a mad run across the Rock Island Bridge. The driver was thrown from his seat but not hurt. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Carlton Taylor was appointed district deputy grand master for the 14th Masonic District of Illinois. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Moline's million dollar municipal airport was dedicated to air transportation and the national defense by Lt. Gov. John Stelle. 1964 -- 50 years ago: THE ARGUS will be election headquarters for Rock Island County tomorrow night, and the public is invited to watch the operation. The closing of the polls at 6 p.m. will mark the start of open house in the newsroom. Visitors will see staff members receiving, tabulating and posting returns. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Few bricks actually tumbled, but no one seemed to mind as about 1,000 people gathered to celebrate the formal start of demolition at the site of a downtown civic center.