World-famous Santa Maria replica ship docks in Delaware this weekend

DELAWARE CITY, Delaware (WPVI) -- "We very rarely have a ship or boat coming into town that offers visitors to come aboard," said Captain Charles Wright of the Delaware City Marina.

The small historic town's marina is located at the intersection of the Delaware River and the C&D Canal. It is typically a hotspot for travelers to park their private boats during trips along the east coast. But this weekend, it has a taller, rarer, and more historic visitor on its property.

"It is impressive to even I, that have been working on the river for over 20 years," said Captain Wright about the Nao Santa Maria.

The replica ship was built in 2017 by the Nao Victoria Foundation. With its size and shape, it mirrors the original ship used by Christopher Columbus in his 1492 voyage.

"Hard to believe that they actually traveled over the ocean blue in a ship like this and actually made it," said Bill Vandenbraak after touring the ship today.

Like its predecessor, the Nao Santa Maria replica voyaged from Spain to the Caribbean in 2018. Since then, it has been touring the Western Hemisphere providing education to all ages.

"It's a once in a lifetime," said Helen Havens, who lives in Delaware City.

She may be right. The Nao Santa Maria will only be docked at Delaware City Marina until Sunday, August 8th. Visitors can purchase tickets to take a self-guided tour between 10:00 am and 7:00 pm over the weekend. After that, it will make one more stop in Maryland before sailing back home across the Atlantic.

"I never sailed before," said Angel Rosa, who serves as the Project Manager for the Nao Santa Maria. "And I wanted to cross the ocean in a vessel like this."

Rosa's dream came true. Now, he has his sights set on educating the next generation onboard his ship.

"They can learn also some more history about how was sailing back in the days," he said. "It's a pretty accurate experience."

While guests are climbing on board the ship, Captain Wright hopes that more people will learn about the capabilities of his marina.

"We have up to 14 feet of water at the dock and the channel's 100 feet wide," he said. "Gives us the ability to bring in very big boats."

To learn more about the Nao Santa Maria replica and how to purchase tickets, visit their website.

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