A pair of replica Christopher Columbus ships making a voyage around America have made a pit stop on Okaloosa Island for a few days.
OKALOOSA ISLAND — A pair of replica Christopher Columbus ships making a voyage around America have made a pit stop here for a few days.
On Wednesday afternoon the Niña and the Pinta, two of the three famous ships that comprised Christopher Columbus’ voyage to America in 1492, sailed down Santa Rosa Sound, crossed under Brooks Bridge and docked at the Brooks Bridge Marina and Dry Storage on Okaloosa Island. Both ships are “floating museums” that will be open for tours Thursday through Sunday.
Stephen Sanger, captain of the Niña, is a Columbus historian. He said the Niña is considered to be “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.” The Pinta, built recently in Brazil, and is a larger version of the original ship.
The Santa Maria, the third ship in Columbus’ fleet, cannot be replicated for tours because of its deep draft, Sanger said.
“Both ships are set up like floating museums with different information about life on board 500 years ago, like where things were stored, the mechanics of the ship, how you steer the ship, how you sail the ship,” Sanger said. “Just everything there is to know about the ship that you would learn in a classroom you actually get to see here, in real life. We’re traveling history.”
The ships also visited the area three years ago.
The Niña and Pinta were built by hand in Brazil and feature aspects just as they would have been in the 15th century, from the large wooden planks to the “tiller,” the lever used to steer a ship before steering wheels were invented.
Sanger said he hopes people will visit the marina to tour the ships and learn more about history.
“These ships were used for exploring a lot of places around the world, not just the Americas and the Caribbean as we know it, but also India and Asia,” he said. “These ships traveled all over the world, so to be able to teach people about these ships and what part of the world history they were, then I think it’s very important for people to come on down and check us out.”