The mainsails are being hoisted today on El Galeon as it begins its historic Viva Florida 500 Voyage on a route similar to Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon ‘s 500 years ago. His arrival marked the beginning of a European presence in what is now the U. S. mainland and Florida.
El Galeon is a 170 foot, 495 ton, authentic wooden replica of a galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet. It will take El Galeon about 10 days to go from Puerto Rico to Florida where the Viva Florida 500 Voyage will include call on ports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Canaveral and St. Augustine beginning April 15 and culminating June 3, as part of the state’s Quincentenary commemorations.
The ship’s decks will be open to public visits during her stay in each port. Visitors will have the chance to learn about the history that began 500 years ago while admiring the craftsmanship and grandeur of these galleons that reached Florida’s coast centuries ago.