Clang! Clang! Clang! rang a Bell

 “All hands on deck!” was repeatedly yelled all around them.  Uncle Zio and Marco hid back in the life jackets.


Each sailor spoke in turn.  A man who seemed to be in charge barked instructions and immediately the deck of the boat was a flurry of movement.

Marco’s eyes could not open any wider!

His heart beat quickly and an electric thrill of excitement moved through him.  

Uncle Zio mulled on the issue of what to do with Marco throughout the day. From the life jackets they watched the sailors move to and fro, carrying boxes from one place to another, stopping only to grab a quick drink of water.

When the sailors went below deck for dinner, Marco and his uncle emerged from the jackets to grab a quick look at the scenery.

While this is not the ship Marco was on, it’s like the one he was on and almost as busy!  Imagine all of the sails going up and being taken down along with boxes and crates and barrels being loaded and unloaded!  No wonder Marco was so excited!

Sailing into Split, Croatia

Marco and Uncle Zio are sailing into the port of Split, Croatia.  Click on the link below for a first hand view of what they would have seen.  You’ll have to use your imagination – the video is from a cruise ship and they were on a wooden ship bringing goods like food, cloth, and materials, but the landscape and environment are the same!

What is east?  What is south?


“it’s the where  we’re going!” said Uncle Zio.

Wow, thought Marco.  While Uncle Zio’s eyes still had difficulty looking straight ahead together, he seemed to know what he was talking about.

“How do you know that?”

“Well,” his uncle said, “the sun rises in the east, and there’s no open waters to the north of Venice, so we much be headed south.”  Uncle Zio pointed his wing in the direction of the sun, his left wing sweeping out wide almost knocking Marco off of his perch atop a barrel.

“South? East? Is this a good thing?” Marco asked.

Uncle Zio laughed.  “Son, you’ve got a lot learn!  You can’t just take off and expect to land right side up!”

Cardinal directions & Compass Rose


  • The drawing above is called a compass rose.
  • Every map has a compass rose which shows which direction on the map is North, South, East and West.
  • These four directions are called cardinal directions, or primary directions, meaning IMPORTANT directions so that when we look at a map, everyone around the world, no matter what language they speak can understand where they are and where they want to go.  
  • North always points in the direction of the North Pole and South always point in the direction of the South Pole on the Earth.  East moves in the same direction the sun moves around the earth and west moves in the opposite direction

Below you will find two videos where you can learn about the cardinal Directions and more about the compass rose