LONDON [ ABN NEWS ] — El Galeón will arrive in St. Augustine Tuesday, May 21, at approximately 11:30 a.m., as it travels the Viva Florida 500 Voyage in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s naming of La Florida.
While in port, the 170 foot, 495 ton authentic wooden replica of a galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet will be open for public visits. Information and tickets for El Galeón are available at www.vivaflorida.org or at ticket booths at Ripley’s Red Train Tours and the St. Augustine Visitors Information Center. Tickets are $8 for children age 12 to 6 years and $15 for adults. Children age 5 and under are free. The ship will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the St. Augustine City Marina.
El Galeón’s port visit in St. Augustine is particularly significant as the first galleon to arrive in the oldest city was the flagship of founder Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Named the San Pelayo, the 650-ton ship was one of the most powerful ships of its day. It was the most important of several ships that carried 800 colonists and supplies to St. Augustine, establishing the first permanent European settlement in the United States in 1565. The San Pelayo was an enormous vessel – it carried 77 crewmen, 18 gunners, and transported 317 soldiers and 26 families, as well as provisions and cargo (including cattle).
Her armament was iron cannons and artillery. She was built in 1564 just outside the gated city of Aviles, Spain (Menenedez’s birthplace). Recently, researchers in Seville found the construction plans for the San Pelayo.
The St. Augustine story is a compelling narrative of exploration, innovation and enduring spirit. It is marked by many milestones, including the first permanent European settlement in the United States, founded in 1565, and the first port to develop into a center of trans-Atlantic trade and commerce. St. Augustine’s bay is indeed America’s oldest seaport.
Located midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida’s Historic Coast includes historic St. Augustine, the outstanding golf and seaside elegance of Ponte Vedra Beach, 42 miles of pristine, Atlantic beaches – the same beaches that greeted Ponce de Leon in 1513 when he discovered and named La Florida, an area whose boundaries encompassed what would later become the eastern United States.
For more information on events, activities, holiday getaway and vacation opportunities in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com or call 1.800.653.2489.