An elegant four-masted barquentine sailing ship, currently visiting Sydney, is on a round-the-world voyage stopping at places like Papeete, Easter Island and Japan. As the Sydney travel industry found out on Friday, the ship carries no paying passengers but works wonders for Chilean tourism.
The ship, Esmeralda, is a Chilean naval training vessel, currently visiting Sydney for five days as part of a round-the-world voyage. Esmeralda is anchored at Woolloomooloo Wharf to give Sydneysiders a rare opportunity to come aboard.
At a function on Friday, Australian travel industry luminaries specialising in South America, including Luis Cuadros from Panorama Tours and representatives of Chimu Adventures, learned about Chile and toured the ship.
Chile’s Ambassador to Australia, Daniel Carvallo, said that more than 46,000 Australians chose Chile as a travel destination last year, visiting contrasting places such as the Atacama Desert (world’s driest), cosmopolitan Santiago, Valparaíso and the Wine Region as well as remote Patagonia and Antarctica.
Paula Moreno, Trade Commissioner of Chile in Australia, who represented the Government Agency in charge of Tourism at Friday’s event, reminded her audience that Chile is considered the safest destination in South America as well as the best for adventure tourism.
Sydney and Santiago de Chile are currently connected by 11 flights a week.
“Chile is the only Latin American country that shares a direct air-route with Australia, making it even easier to travel to Chile and explore a destination full of diverse landscapes and exciting adventures”, Moreno said.
Esmeralda, with its pristine white hull, brass portholes and four masts topped with Chilean flags, has served as a floating embassy since it was built in Spain and delivered to Chile in 1954.
Since then, Esmeralda has travelled to hundreds of ports worldwide, last visiting Australia in April 2012.
This visit shows “clear signs of friendship, cooperation and mutual support”, Esmeralda’s Captain Carlos Schnaidt says.
“We want to bring a piece of beautiful Chile to Sydney, so we invite Australians to come aboard and enjoy this moving experience together.”
The ship is the sixth to carry the name Esmeralda. The first was the frigate Esmeralda captured from the Spanish at Callao, Peru, by Admiral Lord Thomas Alexander Cochrane of the Chilean Navy, in 1820.
The current Esmeralda has visited more than 300 ports worldwide acting as a floating embassy for Chile. She participated in Operation Sail at New York City in 1964, 1976 and 1986, and the Osaka World Sail in 1983. She also participated in International Regattas of Sail in 1964, 1976, 1982 and 1990.
On Friday, travel industry guests enjoyed work of Chilean-born Paulina Quinteros, a graduate of the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts, who has created many works for Australian festivals and companies including the Australian Ballet Company, Queensland Ballet Company, the Australian Dance Awards, Carnivale Bondi Ballet VCA and WAAPA.
The audience was treated to dance and music, including a taikoz percussion piece.
Written by Peter Needham