Spanish ship ‘Nao Santa María’ docks in Bucksport

Making its way up Penobscot Bay Thursday, the Nao Santa Maria from Spain.
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 4:49 PM EDT
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BUCKSPORT, Maine (WABI) - Tall ships and marine vessels are sailing up the Penobscot River within the next week.

It’s all part of the Penobscot Maritime Heritage Association’s 4-Port Loop events that commemorate Maine’s 200th birthday - one year later.

Making its way up Penobscot Bay Thursday, the Nao Santa Maria from Spain.

On October 12, 1492, captained by Christopher Columbus, the original ship was part of of the discovery of America.

The 90 foot long replica was built in 2018.

Spectators from around the country awaited its arrival Thursday morning in Bucksport.

“It’s a special opportunity to enjoy one of the engineering feats of old times and see how they discovered our country to begin with.” said Mark Fehlmann of Massachusetts.

From now until Wednesday, folks will be able to tour the vessel where they can meet the crew and get a feel for how the Spanish sailors lived 500 years ago.

“I’m fascinated by history,” said Sean Cornell of Arizona, “Anything that connects us to our roots in the past and of course, we’ve got our little girl with us, and we can tell her that we saw the old ship come through one day and explain to her what it’s all about.”

“These ships left Europe and come 3,000 miles, that’s unreal,” said Ron Gross of Bucksport. “I can’t believe hardly that they could do that. They were smart people. They were brave people.”

Angel Rosa is just one of the more than ten onboard, traveling around the country.

After their stop in Bucksport, they’ll sail up the Penobscot to Bangor

“Our aim is to show our history with the Americans,” said Rosa. That’s why we are here and we are so happy to come to different ports and show our beauty and piece of history.”

There are great viewing spots for people to watch the ships sail by. They can also be great spots for photographers, both professional and amateur to snap some photos.

Just be aware, the timing of the ships’ travels can change due to weather, tides, and other conditions.

But, organizers are hoping for the best!

“We’ll have tours and all the organizations will be able to talk about their missions and the public will have access to all the vessels,” said Dick Campbell, President of the Penobscot Maritime Heritage Association. “It will be fun!”

Tours will be available July 9-11 and 13 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and July 12 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The ship will sail up the Penobscot on July 14, departing Bucksport in the morning and arriving in Bangor about 12 noon. Tours will be available in Bangor on July 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; July 16, 12-7 p.m.; and July 17, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. On the morning of July 18, the Nao Santa Maria departs Bangor, heading down river to arrive in Searsport Harbor around 12 noon for the Schooner Gam.

Tickets are available online at and at the dock: Adults are $15, kids are $5 (between 5 and 12 years old), families are $35 (includes up to two adults and three kids), and under 5 years old is free.

The 4-Port Loop is back and coming to a town near you! Visit for more information.

Posted by Penobscot Maritime Heritage Association on Thursday, July 1, 2021

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