OCEAN CITY — With its planned month-long stay in Ocean City coming to a close, officials from the El Galeon Andalucia announced this week the replica 16th Century Spanish merchant vessel will extend its visit for an additional week.
The El Galeon Andalucia arrived in Ocean City on Aug. 1 amid much fanfare as the popular tall ship sailed through the Inlet and narrowly passed through the Route 50 drawbridge to its berth along the city-owned dock between 3rd and 4th streets. In the weeks since, the vessel has attracted thousands of visitors who have toured its five decks. The El Galeon has also become a fixture on the downtown skyline for motorists crossing the bridge.
The original plan called for El Galeon to go back out through the drawbridge and through the Inlet for its next destination early next week, perhaps as early as Monday, Sept. 1. However, the National Air, Sea and Space Foundation, a non-profit organization sponsoring the tall ship’s east coast tour, announced this week El Galeon is extending its stay for another week in Ocean City before moving on.
“The crew has enjoyed their time in Ocean City and the warm welcome they have received from all the locals,” said Bryan Lilley, head of the National Air, Sea and Space Foundation this week. “We extend an invitation to all of the locals who haven’t had a chance to come aboard yet and this extra time in Ocean City is the best chance to tour the ship.”
El Galeon has been open for public tours each day since its arrival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. While its current visitor figures have not been made public, El Galeon hosted nearly 15,000 visitors during its two-week stay last year.
When El Galeon ultimately leaves Ocean City, likely on or around Sept. 5, it will set sail for its next port of call in Annapolis. The ship is scheduled to dock in downtown Annapolis from Sept. 19-28.
From there, El Galeon will travel to Morehead City in the Outer Banks for the North Carolina Seafood Festival on Oct. 4-5. El Galeon is then scheduled to visit Savannah, Ga. for about a week from Oct. 24- Nov. 2. Future visit sites later this fall include Port Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale in November and December.
The extra time in Ocean City next week will allow additional school groups to tour the ship. The foundation sponsors field trips to tour El Galeon for free. Thus far, school groups from Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset have toured the vessel.