A replica of one of history’s most famed ships is docked at Yacht Haven Grande on St. Thomas through Sunday, offering a chance to tour the same decks as the 16th century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
Like Magellan, the doomed ship, Trinidad, made it almost all the way around the world before falling apart in what is now the Philippines in the 1520s. The expedition went on without them, of course, and on Sept. 8, 1522, the formerly mutinous Juan Sebastion Elcano guided the fleet’s remaining vessel, Victoria, into the port of Seville, Spain, where it had left three years earlier. It was the first documented circumnavigation of the Earth.
The Trinidad did not make the full journey but her history is astonishing. After Magellan was hacked up while attacking islanders, the leaky Trinidad tried to return to Spain via an unadvisable route — sailing north, past Japan, almost to what’s now Alaska before turning back. She sank in the South Pacific after enduring several severe storms.
A self-guided tour of a replica of the Magellan flagship Trinidad is available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Sunday, at Yacht Haven Grande. Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for children, and $35 for families.
Crew members are on board to greet and answer questions as people explore the ship. One unique thing about the ship is there is no traditional steering wheel to maneuver it. Instead, the vessel uses a whipstaff, which looks like a pole. More information can be found here.