By Beth Hall

The Tall Ship, La Nao Santa Maria, docks at the Wharf this November; Courtesy of Author

The Tall Ship, La Nao Santa Maria, will be at the Wharf and available for tours Nov. 12-13, Nov 15-17. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Discounts are available for families and school groups. The visit consists of a self guided tour through the five decks of the Santa María, where you can find informative panels explaining the history of the ship, ornamental elements of the time, and talk with the crew on how Spanish sailors lived on ships 500 years ago.

The ship is a replica of Christopher Columbus’s flagship, which left Spain 527 years ago and sailed to the new world with the Nina and the Pinta in 1492. In all references written by Columbus about the Santa María in his famous diary of the expedition, he refers to it as “Nao”, as did other chroniclers of the time. 

Nao, manned by 40 men, arrived in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492. While sailing close to the Española Island on Christmas Day that year, the vessel ran aground and wrecked. The first Spanish settlement in America was built from the wreckage on the location of the shipwreck. It was named La [Fuerte] Navidad (Christmas Fort).

The Nao Santa María weighs around 200 tons and is 28.30 meters long, or 93 feet for Americans. Like the original, the replica incorporates three masts and a bowsprit, the largest being 25 meters (approximately 82 feet) high from the waterline of the vessel to the knob or higher part. It carries 300 square meters (3230 square feet) of sail. The sails and rigging are faithful to the original ship from the 15th century. There are more than 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) of ropes. The Tall Ship will be at Market Pier. To learn more about the Santa Maria and to buy tickets, visit

The Tall Ship in her natural environment; Courtesy of Author

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