One morning not long ago, a sailing ship called The Esmeralda made it’s way into Pearl Harbor.
Most of the ships that come here are on very serious military missions, and as such, they’re not meant to be photographed or toured.
In general, you’re never meant to take photos in Pearl Harbor.
However, The Esmeralda was visiting from Chile.
Their mission was to improve diplomatic relations with the people of the United States. And as such, several very patient sailors did their absolute best to give tours.
We met on the dock, and were given a walk through of all the unclassified parts of this tiny ship.
Most sailing ships are fairly old. However, The Esmeralda was actually not commissioned into the official Armada of Chile until 1954.
It is a more modern ship in that regard, and so it possesses engines that can be used when they are becalmed.
It also has more undated features for the crew, such as modern cooking equipment in the mess.
My tour guide did his very best to converse only in English (as he had been ordered to,) which meant that I wasn’t able to ask a lot of questions.
Thankfully, I was given a helpful brochure on the tour that told me everything I wanted to know.
The ship’s maximum speed with sails is 21 knots. It’s engines are much slower, and can only move it at 13 knots. That means that it takes a long time to get places.
On the specific tour they were on, they’d gone from Chile to New Zealand, then to Australia, then to Bali and Indonesia, then to Singapore, China, South Korea, and Tokyo.
We were their second to last stop here in Hawaii, on their way to French Polynesia and then home.
Unfortunately, boats can only come into the harbor being pulled by tugboats. Therefore no one here was lucky enough to see The Esmeralda under full sail.
My tour guide assures me that it’s just like flying to be up on one of the masts when the sails are down. He actually got pretty sentimental about it when I asked.
A few facts that I found truly charming:
The National Bird of Chile is a chicken, and The Esmeralda has one on the bow of the ship.
The motto of the Chilean Armada is “victory or death.”
Also, it’s a training ship, as as part of their training the left the new sailors in the middle of the ocean in life boats for a day and just sailed away.
And finally, the guns work, but they are antiquated and my tour guide assured me “they’ve never been used on anything living.”
Very classy, Chile. Very classy.