A REPLICA of the first ship to circumnavigate the world has welcomed its first visitors at Poole Quay.

The Nao Victoria, an historical replica of the Spanish ship commanded by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan - and Juan Sebastian Elcano following Magellan’s death - is currently moored at the quay as part of the Poole Maritime Festival.

Yesterday the first visitors had the chance to go on board and experience how life at sea would have been five centuries ago.

Soledad Gea, who works onboard, said: “We had a good amount of visitors to the ship on its first day and we expect it to get busier as the week continues.

“The weekends are always the busiest for us as we know that people really enjoy a chance to explore the ship and step back in time.”

The Nao is currently moored close to the Sea Music sculpture on Poole Quay where it will remain until Sunday.

Ms Gea added: “As a crew it’s really exciting for us to visit Poole for the first time. It seems like such a fabulous place and we are really enjoying our time here so far.

“There’s another three tall ships currently moored at the quay as well which is really nice.”

The historic journey on the Nao Victoria, one of the greatest maritime adventures accomplished, took place between 1519 and 1522.

Five ships started the expedition, but only the Nao Victoria completed the voyage. Of the 265 men aboard the five ships, only 18 on Nao Victoria returned alive.

A spokesman for the replica vessel explained: “This was one of the biggest acts of maritime history carried out by Spanish sailors, who managed to sail all around the world and discovered the planet’s real dimensions.

“By visiting Poole this emblematic vessel puts the town on the vast map of ports all around the world that she has already visited since her construction.”

Between 2004 and 2006 the Nao completed her own circumnavigation of the globe, stopping off in 17 countries and sailing 26,894 nautical miles. She was built for the World’s Fair, which was held in Seville in 1992. Construction on the 27 metre wooden vessel started the year before - taking eight months to complete.