If there was a gap between North and South America, and Columbus managed to miss both, how much trouble would he have been in?

Well, he did leave a few people behind to set up the first European settlement in the Americas, La Navidad. When he returned the next year on his second voyage, he found that La Navidad had been destroyed in fights between the Spanish and the native Taino. But Columbus did find his way back to the site of La Navidad, so he can’t have been all that incompetent as a navigator. He wasn’t just sailing west with no further clue as to where he’d end up.

I would imagine that finding your latitude was a simple task that most navigators could do by then. Longitude was a more complex question not solved for centuries, but the sailors did do speed measurements which combined with compass headings, gave them a rough idea how far east-west they’d gone. Meanwhile, certain landmarks could confirm positions once they made landfall in previously seen territory.

For the OP, I suppose the issue as already mentioned was the conflict between supplies sufficient to return and the hints (birds, plant debris) hinting they were near land. From the Azores to Bahamas is about 3000 miles, and supposedly by then the supplies were pushing the limit for a return. It’s 8,000 miles from the Azores to Hawaii, and 9,000 to French Polynesia. It would have been a difficult journey if he were lucky enough to spot land by then, assuming he planned for a maximum 3500 mile trip wih supplies for return? If he missed those - well, there’s the lesson of Magellan. He appears to have sailed through much of Polynesia until he hit Guam, without seeing any of the scattered islands. About 8,000 miles and 3 months with scurvy and desperation toward the end.

I also wonder with the “look how I persevered against the odds” quality of Columbus’ story, whether he made up a lot of the “talk of mutiny” pressure to puff up his character and apparent heroic success against obstacles.

Rodrigo, not Diego , though there was a far more great and famous Diego in Sevilla in the 90s…

It means you felt as happy as the dolphin in the image I attached while you spread misinformation? Assume I tacked on 1000 tongue sticking out smilies after the above.

So obvious jokes (quite explicitly denoted as such) are now “misinformation”?

I hate to be around when someone starts with “A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar …” only to have you start shouting “Lies!”.

[Moderating]
Let’s just assume that both of you were joking, and leave it at that. Or if you’re not satisfied with that, then take it to the Pit.

Did Columbus not know how to feed his crew from the bounty of the oceans?
Hooks lines sinkers?
Tuna
Mahi mahi
Snag sea birds?

I don’t recall reading any of those old sea travel stories where fishing for food was a common thing? Was there someting about fishing too far from land being slim pickings? (Most of the prime fishing seems to be not far offshore) Or would it be that a ship under sail was too fast to be dropping fishing lines?

They could drop sails and stop if that was the case. Maybe deep sea fishing was a different skill.

Surely it can be assumed there was a dinghy onboard. Columbus row the boat astern Hallelujah

I think it’s more “slim pickings” far from land than the speed of a vessel. The food chain in the ocean ultimately depends on phytoplankton which is itself dependent on sunlight and nutrients. Nutrients come from sediment from the land that is transported by the surface runoff of water, streams, rivers, and wind (and so occurs near the coasts) as well as upwellings from the bottom of the ocean (where nutrients have settled due to the death of marine organisms). In the open ocean the water is typically too deep and stratified for there to be much overturning of nutrients and and so any nutrients that settle to the bottom are slowly moved along by bottom currents until they hit an upwelling which typically happens where the water is shallower (i.e. near coasts).

All this means that most fisheries are relatively near the coasts.

Right, fish congregate in certain hot spots. Reffs, up swellings of plankton, etc.

It is also that water and scurvy was the real issues. Fish will not prevent scurvy.

There are fish in the open ocean,tuna mackerel swordfish sharks. They may show up near coastal waters for different reasons but they are truly an open ocean species.

What are pelagic fish?.

No need to slow the sail, drop a trolling line.

There’s a cite that talks about the food aboard the voyage.

It mentions fish being served, but it’s not clear to me if it was caught while sailing.

Anyone for sea turtle soup?

Rats too.

Hungry sailors will find sustenance

It mentioned salt cod. It’s just saying there would have been more stockfish/bacalao than salt pork/beef. Salt cod wouldn’t have needed barrels either.