ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A tall ship named El Galeon sailed into St. Augustine on Tuesday.
It's a replica of a 17th century ship from Spain.
Several personal, smaller boats were in bay near downtown St. Augustine, waiting to welcome El Galeon to the Old City.
The Black Raven Pirate Ship of St. Augustine was one of the bigger vessels in the welcome party.
Jason and Michelle Gamble and their daughter, Hannah, just so happened to be on vacation from Alabama and they were on board the pirate ship Tuesday for all the fanfare.
"They just told us about it and we jumped all over it," Jason Gamble said.
"It's amazing! We just came to have fun and we get an opportunity here," Michelle Gamble said.
In the distance, just inside the St. Augustine inlet, El Galeon was spotted.
People came into downtown just to watch. They stood atop the Bridge of Lions and along the seawall.
Oly Mackerel, one of the pirates on the Black Raven, nodded his head, and said, "Arrggg. This is exciting. That is a beautiful ship."
Beautiful indeed. Years of research went into designing 17th century Spanish ship, similar to one used by Pedro Menendez, the founder of St. Augustine.
Enrich Torres, from Seville, Spain, is Head of Logistics for El Galeon.
"We bring a piece of history for everyone to know and see," he said.
The ship sailed from Spain to Puerto Rico, and along the coast of Florida. Its final Florida port is St. Augustine.
"Most of the time we use the sails and the reason why? The fuel is so expensive," Torres explained. "So we try to take advantage of wind as much as we can."
Eventually, right in front of the pirate crew and passengers, El Galeon barely sliced through the Bridge of Lions drawbridge.
Pirates fired guns to welcome it to St. Augustine.
All of this was to help celebrate 500 years since Juan Ponce de Leon claimed Florida for Spain.
It's a sight to remember for everyone who watched from the water, the bridge, and the land. It's certainly a vacation the Gamble family will always remember.
"I almost have tears in my eyes," Jason Gamble said. "That's the truth. It's just a once in a lifetime experience that we stumbled into. We'll never forget it, never forget it."
You can tour El Galeon. It will be open to the public starting Thursday, May 23rd-June 9th. Tickets are $8 for children ages 6 to 12 and $15 for adults. Children age 5 and under are free. Click here for more information.
First Coast News