The Factory Albaola



The Factory

With the construction of historic boats as its main activity, Albaola The Sea Factory of the Basques, located in Ondartxo (Pasaia, Gipuzkoa), is an innovative space where traditional maritime technology is recovered and enhanced. The Factory is open to the public and is characterised by its dynamism, the diversity of its activities and its international projection.



Built in Pasaia in 1563, the whaler San Juan is an example of the first transoceanic cargo ships that sailed from the Basque Country to Newfoundland. A reflection of the splendour and world hegemony of the Basque maritime industry, it sank off the coast of Canada, in Red Bay in 1565.

Over 400 years later the Canadian archaeological team from Parks Canada found the wreck and investigated it in an underwater excavation that was exemplary for the maritime archaeological world. After studying it for more than thirty years, this is the best known 16th century ship and has become an icon symbolising   UNESCO Underwater Cultural Heritage.

The Nao San Juan was rebuilt in Pasaia within the Donostia/San Sebastián European Capital of Culture 2016 and backed by the Canadian Government. Just as it joined Europe with North America in the 16th century, the Nao San Juan will allow these two countries to sail into the future together working from their joint past..

albaola-buzoA diver inspects the San Juan wreck, connected to a hose supplying hot water to endure in the cold water of Red Bay. Photo: Albaola