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 Saturday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2014. There are 102 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Recruits can get $500 by enlisting now. Lt Jobe has a recruiting office on Illinois Street. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Superintendent Schnitger formally inaugurated the Rock Island and Davenport Railway Line of the Holmes system by putting on four cars to start. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Wires of the defunct Union Electric Co. are being removed by city electricians. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Bishop Hill softball team won the championship in WHB"S Mississippi Valley tournament at Douglas Park. 1964 -- 50 years ago: A boom in apartment construction has hit Rock Island, with approximately 300 units either in or near the construction stage or due for an early rezoning decision. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Members of the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission are hoping to revive their push for a new $70 million four-lane bridge spanning the Mississippi River.