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Ghost ships at the Biloxi Schooner Pier? No! They’re just replicas of the Nina and the Pinta

The Nina and the Pinta sail at a previous exhibit in Portland, Maine.
The Nina and the Pinta sail at a previous exhibit in Portland, Maine. Columbus Museum Inc.

Replicas of two ships that sailed in Christopher Columbus’ voyage that discovered America will be on display at the Schooner Pier in Biloxi on Dec. 15-18.

The ships, the Nina and the Pinta, are part of Columbus Museum Inc.’s traveling museum, which was established in 1986 to encourage education about the caravel. Caravels are Spanish or Portuguese sailing ships that were built in the 15th to 17 centuries to be small and fast.

It took 20 men to build the ships. The Pinta was completed in three years, while the Nina took only 32 months.

The Pinta has an 85-foot deck, which is larger than the average caravel. The large deck was an embellishment of the original ship. The Nina is smaller with a 65-foot deck and was hand-made.

This is the ship upon which Columbus sailed three times in searching for the new world that would become known as America. Also, “Archaeology” magazine called it “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.”

Capt. Stephen Sanger said the caravels were common trading vessels of their time and that they were chosen by Columbus because they were known to be seaworthy. Sanger also said their light weight allowed them to go places the Santa Maria could not.

“They were not as top-heavy as the Santa Maria and they didn’t roll as much,” Sanger said. “They only needed 7 feet of water to float, so they were able to go up in estuaries where the Santa Maria couldn’t.”

With admission, one can walk aboard the decks of both ships for self-guided tours. No reservations are necessary.

Teachers and organizations may schedule 30-minute guided tours led by a crew member. There is no limit to how many people may be in the group, but a minimum of 15 is required for the guide and a special price of $5 per person. Group tours may be scheduled by calling 787-672-2152 or by email at columfnd1492@gmail.com.

Viewing hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. No reservations are necessary. The ships will set sail for their next destination in the early morning on Dec. 19.

Admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, $6 for students age 5-16, and free to children 4 and younger.

The Schooner Pier is at 367 Beach Blvd.

Nina and Pinta

Where: The Schooner Pier, 367 Beach Blvd., Biloxi

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, Dec. 15-18 .

Admission: $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, $6 for students age 5-16, and free to children 4 and younger. No reservations are necessary. Group tours with special rates may be scheduled by calling 787-672-2152 or by email at columfnd1492@gmail.com.

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