Saultites can take a rare peek into maritime history today through Sunday.
A replica of the Nao Trinidad, the flagship that led Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage that he made for Spain in the 16th century, docked beside the Roberta Bondar Pavilion Wednesday evening.
After receiving visitors Thursday, the vessel is open to visitors Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“Yesterday we had around 800 visitors,” said Angel Rosa, Nao Trinidad spokesperson, speaking to SooToday on Friday.
“They were quite amazed and surprised. Feedback from people has been amazing. We’ve had a lot of families here.”
“You can see people admiring the beauty of the ship. Once they come aboard they can learn how a square rigged ship works and how sailors explored the world in these ships.”
“We respect historical accuracy. It looks the same as the Nao Trinidad but we built the hull out of fibreglass and Iroko, an African hardwood. There are information boards around the ship and guides, but people can talk to crew members about what life was like back in those days,” Rosa said.
“We promote maritime history and heritage because it’s been kind of hidden for many years. It’s very important. Our aim is to bring the ships to many places so people can look into history and learn.”
Ferdinand Magellan left Spain in 1519 with a fleet of five ships on a mission to discover a western sea route to the Moluccas - or Spice Islands - east of Indonesia. On the way he sailed what is now known as the Strait of Magellan and became the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean.
Magellan was killed in a fight with islanders in The Philippines in 1521, but his expedition had circumnavigated the globe by the time it returned to Spain in 1522, this year marking the 500th anniversary of that achievement.
The original Nao Trinidad was wrecked in a storm, with only one of the expedition’s ships returning to Spain.
The Nao Trinidad replica currently docked in the Sault was built in 2018 and has visited ports around the world, welcoming visitors throughout the Mediterranean, Europe’s Atlantic coast and now North America.
The vessel is run by Spain’s Nao Victoria Foundation, a non-profit group that promotes awareness of historical events through construction of historical ships.
“We move from port to port,” Rosa said.
“We came to North America in May. We came to Florida and then up the east coast to start a Great Lakes tour in Brockville, Ontario. We took part in a Great Lakes Challenge Tour with other tall ships, but we sometimes visit other ports on our own, like Sault Ste. Marie.”
The Nao Trinidad - a three-mast, six sail tall ship - can be viewed today until 9 p.m. as well as Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for youth (5-12 years old), with family packages available (two adults and three children) for $35. Children under 5 are free. Tickets are available at the Community Services Department located in the lobby level of the Ronald A. Irwin Civic Centre or at the Roberta Bondar Marina during regular hours.
For more information, contact the Roberta Bondar Marina at 705-759-5430.