Ecuadorian 'ambassador ship' has easy passage to Wellington despite thick sea fog
The captain of an Ecuadorian tall ship sailing into a fog-bound Wellington Harbour on Sunday night said the capital's misty weather reminded him of being in Norway.
Captain Carlos Zumarraga steered the 78.4 metre-long ship, the Guayas, to berth at Queen's Wharf after seven months at sea on a training cruise, as the crew looked to the final leg across the South Pacific to Chile on the ship's maiden round-the-world voyage.
The fiord-like fog grounded flights in and out of the city on Sunday but it was plain sailing for the Guayas.
"It was foggy, but we made it in without problems," Zumarraga said.
The Guayas' top deck will be open to the public for free tours until Wednesday before departing on Thursday.
It has recently visited Perth and Sydney, and is on its second visit to Wellington, after a stop in the capital following a visit to Australia for that country's bicentennial celebrations in 1988.
Known as Ecuador's "ambassador ship", the Guayas' brief is to bolster relations between Ecuador, and has visited countries while promoting Ecuadorian tourism.
But Zumarraga said its "principal goal" was the training and academic development of Ecuadorian Navy personnel.
Built in Bilbao, Spain in 1976, it sails with a crew of 154 sailors and trainees.
The round-the-world voyage is the longest tour the ship has undertaken and is its first circumnavigation.
By the time the ten-month, 35,000 nautical mile tour is over, the Guayas will have docked in 23 ports in 22 countries, and will have traversed four oceans, while 48 midshipmen will have completed their navigation course to become officers of the Ecuadorian Navy.
After departing the capital, Guayas will continue on to the ports of Valparaiso, Chile, and Callao, Peru, before returning home to Ecuador's biggest city and main port, Guayaquil, on March 1.
THE BAE GUAYAS
The steel-hulled barque was named in honour of the Guayaquil naval tradition and carries the name of Chief Guayas, the Guayas River and the original Buque Guayas, which was the first steam ship to be constructed in South America.
Displacement: 1250 tonnes
Length: 78.40 metres
Beam: 10.16 metres
Mast Height: 38 metres
Draft: 4.60 metres
Maximum sail speed: 11 knots
Lodging capacity: 182 crew members
Sails: 1611.29 m²