There is still time to visit and learn about the Nao Santa Maria, a replica of one of three ships Christopher Columbus led in his discovery of America that is currently docked near Third Street in Ocean City.

The crew for the Santa Maria was expected to leave the resort on Sept. 6 after a 25-day stay in Ocean City, but because of uncertain weather and the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, the ship is expected to stay for at least another week before setting sail for its home port in Spain.

“The weather didn’t look good as we are still in hurricane season, actually peak season, and now [Hurricane] Larry is out there,” ship Project Manager Angel Rosa said Wednesday. “We have to be very cautious and think twice before making any decisions.”

He said the intention was to cross the Atlantic Ocean and head home, but that may have to be postponed even longer, which means the crew will not only be delayed leaving Ocean City but may have to stay in the U.S. a bit longer than expected, or at least until the end of Hurricane Season, which wraps up on Nov. 30.

Since the ship’s arrival on Aug. 11, 1,726 tickets have been sold to individuals or families who want to board and learn about the Santa Maria.

The cost to board the ship is $15 per adult, $6 per child, or $35 for a family of two adults and up to three children.

Of that, the city was expected to collect $2 per adult ticket, $1 per child ricket, and $4 per family package.

The experience people got when boarding was that of a self-guided history museum, with pictures showing what each section of the boat was used for, QR codes that could be scanned with a smartphone that provided audio clips, and a large map below deck that showed the routes the Santa Maria went on, at one point even circumnavigating the entire earth.

“She is a floating and sailing historical museum that allows the public to come aboard and tour four different decks and also talk to actual sailors/crewmembers,” Rosa said. “Visitors will be taken back in time, experiencing what sailing was like back in the 15th century’s age.”

He said they are usually always looking for crew members because the ship offers both an educational and training experience.

But right now, they are not taking on any new members.

“We are at the end of this American tour that started in December 2018, and just before attempting to do the crossing, we are not taking any more new crew members,” he said. “Although, we are probably opening our trainee program, which will give the opportunity for two people to pay a ticket and join us for the unique experience of crossing the Atlantic in a 1400 Tall Ship replica.”

For more information about the crossing experience, reach out to Rosa at Angel@naosantamaria.org.

This story appears in the print version of Ocean City Today on Sept. 10, 2021.

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