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 Friday, March 7, the 66th day of 2014. There are 299 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat came up to her dock yesterday and was punching away at the ice, which is crowded up against the Iowa shore. 1889 -- 125 years ago: J.C. Bromley, of Rock Island, has received a patent on a steam activated valve. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Major. C.W. Hawes, head clerk of the Modern Woodmen of America, was honored by department chiefs on his 73rd birthday 1939 -- 75 years ago: Mayor Robert Galbraith declared that 75 percent of the people here have talked to "favor construction of Rock Island's new city hall in Spencer Square." 1964 -- 50 years ago: C.H. Langman & Sons, Rock Island, has been awarded the general contract for partial rehabilitation and modernization of the main building at the East Moline State Hospital. The Langman firm bid $424,839. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The cost of living in the Quad-Cities is 6.8 percent less than the average of 260 metropolitan areas.