By THE RECORD
El Galeón, the authentic replica of a Spanish galleon that traveled the coasts of Florida 500 years ago, returned to its North American home port when it sailed into Matanzas Bay Wednesday morning.
After an absence of four months, the ship is expected to remain in St. Augustine through the beginning of February.
Docked at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina, El Galéon will be open daily for tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Friday. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children 5-12 and free for those younger than 5. Veterans and St. Johns County residents receive a $2 discount per ticket.
Ticket purchase locations include: Ripley’s Red Train booth located at the miniature golf course in front of the marina, at the ship and online at www.ElGaleon.org.
El Galeón is a 170-foot, 495-ton authentic wooden replica of a Spanish galleon, is owned and operated by the Nao Victoria Foundation of Seville, Spain. Twenty-eight crew members must maneuver more than 9,600 square feet of sail area in the same fashion as 16th century sailors.
The first ship like El Galéon to arrive in St. Augustine was the flagship of founder Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. Named the San Pelayo, the 650-ton ship, one of the most powerful ships of its day, carried 800 colonists and supplies to St. Augustine, establishing the first permanent European settlement in the United States in 1565.
El Galeón first arrived in St. Augustine in June 2013 and has been back on multiple trips. Since its departure, the ship has visited ports along the east coast including New York. It was later was used in the making of the television series “Crossbones” on location in Puerto Rico.