Would you like to be on a 15th-century tall ship during a (safe) pirate invasion? Watch a fireworks show from its deck? Attendees of the 2020 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival will be able to step back in time for those experiences, or a simple tour, on replicas of Columbus’ Niña and Pinta tall ships.
The ships are owned by the Columbus Foundation and are being brought to Fernandina Beach by the St. Marys Tall Ship Alliance.
Alliance Chief Operating Officer James Crawford told the News-Leader the ships will be in the city’s marina from April 30 through May 3. Additional dates may be added prior to the festival.
Crawford said the two ships are the most accurate replicas of Columbus’ ships ever built. Columbus, he said, favored the Niña and the Pinta over the third ship that sailed to the New World, the Santa Maria, because they were smaller and more maneuverable.
Tall ship Niña was launched in December 1991 from Rio Uno Valenca, Brazil. Tall ship Pinta was launched in February 2005 from Valenco, Brazil.
The ships travel each year up and down both coasts where they conduct tours for individuals and groups.
The ships will be open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. while docked in Fernandina Beach. However, if groups, such as school groups, tour the ships, a tour guide will lead them. Crewmembers will be on hand as well.
Tour tickets include access to both ships and are $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, and $6.50 for children under 16. Children ages 5 and under are free. Groups of 15 or more are $5 per person.
The more adventurous can be aboard the ships when the Fernandina Beach Pirates “Invade the Harbor.” The Pirates will bring their “pirate ship” to the marina and fire its cannons. The Niña and Pinta also have cannons, and the ships will have a “shoot out” May 1. Tickets will also be available to be aboard the ships during the fireworks show that night. Admission, set at $15 per person, will be limited to 150 people during both the invasion and the fireworks show.
The St. Marys Tall Ship Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose purpose and mission is to promote the history of historical tall ships along with organizing public tall ship events.
If you’re interested in tickets for the Shrimp Festival tours, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 372-4009, but tickets for the invasion and fireworks can be purchased at http://bit.ly/2u3FgA8.