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VIVA FLORIDA: Second historic ship to make port on Beach

February 5, 2014
By BOB PETCHER (rpetcher@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

One year after the Lynx privateer ship established Fort Myers Beach as its winter port, an even older replica ship with perhaps a more historic pedigree will be making an official entry to Estero Island.

The Nao Victoria -an exact replica of Ferdinand Magellan's ship that was the first to sail around the globe on a three year, 42,000 mile voyage from 1519 to 1522- will make the Beach its first stop in a nationwide tour when it arrives at the marina docks near Nervous Nellie's Crazy Waterfront Eatery on Thursday, Feb. 13. It will remain there until March 17.

The Spanish carrack, which is now regarded as a floating museum, is starting a Tall Ship Event Tour of Florida as part of the 500th anniversary Viva Florida Celebration that commenced in 2013.

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The Nao Victoria, a replica of Ferdinand Magellan's ship that was first to circumnavigated the world, will be docking at Nervous Nellie's come mid-February.

Nervous Nellie's owner Rob DeGennaro stated it has been brought over to Fort Lauderdale, but will make its first national travel docking on the Beach.

"The first port-of-call where they will open it up for customers in the United States is actually Fort Myers Beach," said DeGennaro. "It's a Spanish boat with a Spanish crew aboard it. They will be giving tours."

The National Air, Sea and Space Foundation, an educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of military, commercial, and civil enterprises in air, sea, and space, confirmed that the 16th century-era Nao Victoria will make the Beach its first stop. The tall ship will include other visits to seaports throughout Florida and the U.S.

The Nao Victoria recently arrived in the United States on Cocoa Beach from Spain. Prior to that, it had been situated in Punta Arenas Chile since October 2011.

Once docked on the Beach, the history-making replica ship will be open to the public for tours on a daily basis from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Additional Florida ports-of-call include Tampa and Port Canaveral.

The National Air, Sea and Space Foundation will host fourth- and fifth-grade students during the weekday mornings as part of the Future Explorers Education Program.

"This is our way of bringing the rich historical experience of a field trip to St. Augustine here to Fort Myers Beach" said Bryan Lilley, chairman of the foundation.

The original Nao Victoria was one of five ships given to Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to sail around the world. Magellan, along with 245 other men, set sail from Spain in 1519. The historic voyage crossed more than 32,000 miles, ending three years later with only 18 of the original crew returning on the Nao Victoria. Magellan was killed in the Philippines leaving Spanish explorer Juan Sebastian de Elcano to complete the voyage.

From 2004 to 2006, The Nao Victoria replica retraced some of Magellan's footsteps while sailing around the world using only 16th century navigation technology.

The Lynx - a reproduced 80-foot long, 122-foot tall square topsail clipper schooner from the War of 1812- made its Beach entry on Jan. 3, 2013, and docked at Nervous Nellie's. Members of the Lynx Educational Foundation then decided to make the Beach its winter port.

The Lynx then returned to the island last month and continued to be on display as a mobile museum to relive American history and educate students as well as being available for tours and trips. The war ship just left to visit other Florida Gulf cities, but will return in mid-March.

DeGennaro is excited that come March 16 and 17, both historic ships will be docked in front of his eatery.

"We're going to have a two-day St. Patty's Day party with a fundraiser for both Lynx and the Community Emergency Response Team," he said.

General admission tickets and express line VIP tickets that also include free use of an audio guide headset, are available for purchase in advance at www.tallshipevent.com . The foundation is also seeking volunteers to be part of the Nao Victoria Experience team.

Corporate partnerships and Friends of the Foundation memberships offering onboard experiences for private events are also available. For more information, contact Kate DeCarlo with the National Air, Sea and Space Foundation at 321-328-7110 or via e-mail at kate@airseaspace.org.

In the future, NASSF is expected to bring up the El Galeon Andelucia from Puerto Rico. That ship is a replica of the late 16th century fabled merchant vessels and war ships that made up the early navies of Europe.

"That will be on our docks for the Pirate Festival during the Columbus Day weekend," said DeGenerro. "She's down in Puerto Rico filming a TV pirate series called "Crossbones." That series will be released at the end of September, and the boat will be here a week and a half later."

 
 

 

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