The Great Voyages is a term used to describe the long voyages at sea made by Lord Corlys Velaryon and later his grandson, Lord Alyn Velaryon. Many ships of Westeros had sailed as far as Qarth to trade for spices and silk, but Corlys dared to go farther, reaching the fabled lands of Yi Ti and Leng, whose wealth doubled that of House Velaryon in a single voyage. Alyn Velaryon followed his grandfather's footsteps.
According to Archmaester Gyldayn, Corlys Velaryon dreamed of the sea in his boyhood.
He first crossed the narrow sea at the age of six, sailing to Pentos with an uncle. Thereafter Corlys made such voyages every year. His captains said they had never seen such a natural sailor. At age sixteen, he became a captain himself, taking a fishing boat called the Cod Queen from Driftmark to Dragonstone and back. In the years that followed, his ships grew larger and swifter, his voyages longer and more dangerous. He took ships around the bottom of Westeros to visit Oldtown, Lannisport, and Lordsport on Pyke. He sailed to Lys, Tyrosh, Pentos, and Myr. He took the Summer Maid to Volantis and the Summer Isles, and the Ice Wolf north to Braavos, Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, and Hardhome before turning into the Shivering Sea for Lorath and the Port of Ibben. On a later voyage, he and the Ice Wolf headed north once more, searching for a rumored passage around the top of Westeros, but finding only frozen seas and icebergs big as mountains.
It is unknown when Corlys made his first Great Voyage but by 77 AC, the 24-year-old Corlys was already a celebrated mariner and captain of ships. That year, Princess Daella Targaryen was sent to Driftmark to meet Corlys. Daella became seasick crossing Blackwater Bay, however, and on her return complained that ”he likes his boats better than he likes me.” Corlys would soon be hailed as the greatest seafarer Westeros had ever known.
In 90 AC, Corlys, who was done with his nine voyages, came home to marry and make a family.
During King Aegon III Targaryen's regency, Lord Alyn Velaryon made his first great voyage. Five others would follow.
Corlys would make nine great voyages aboard the ship who gave him his nickname, the Sea Snake. Corlys designed and built the Sea Snake himself.
- First voyage: Corlys sailed beyond the Jade Gates, to Yi Ti and the isle of Leng, and returned with such a wealth of spice and silk and jade that House Velaryon became, for a time, the wealthiest house in all the Seven Kingdoms.
- Second voyage: Corlys sailed even farther east than his first voyage, and became the first Westerosi ever to reach Asshai-by-the-Shadow. There he lost his love and half his crew, if the tales be true…and there as well, in Asshai’s harbor, he glimpsed an old and much weathered ship that he would swear forevermore could only have been Sun Chaser.
- Ninth voyage: Corlys filled the ship's hold with gold and bought twenty more ships at Qarth, loading them with spices, elephants, and the finest silk. Some were lost, and the elephants died at sea, but the wealth that remained made House Velaryon the richest in the realm—richer even than the Lannisters and Hightowers, for a time.
Unlike his grandsire, Alyn would make each of his six great voyages aboard different ships, which he called "my ladies".
- First voyage: In 133 AC, Alyn was commanded by the Hand of the King, Lord Unwin Peake, to sail around Westeros to the Iron Islands to meet Dalton Greyjoy in battle and stops his raidings of the Westerlands. Alyn sailed aboard a Braavosi war galley renamed Lady Baela after his wife.
- Second voyage: In mid 136 AC, Alyn departed from Driftmark for his second voyage, leading a fleet of Velaryon ships from a galley he named Bold Marilda after his mother. The destination of this voyage is as of yet unknown.
- Fifth voyage: Alyn's former squire, Ser Russell Stillman, lost his leg during the voyage.
- Sixth voyage: Since Alyn is known to disappear at sea, it is possible he died during this sixth and last voyage.
Known books written on the subject
- The Nine Voyages by Maester Mathis
- Six Times to Sea: Being an Account of the Great Voyages of Alyn Oakenfist by Maester Bendamure
- Hard as Oak by Ser Russell Stillman
- Bastard Born by Rue
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- ↑ The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- ↑ Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- ↑ The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.