June 5, 2021 (Google Translation) – The journey began on Monday, February 8, when the School Ship “Esmeralda” set sail from the Molo de Abrigo to begin its LXVI Instruction Cruise, which, like last year, was carried out by national waters due to the pandemic caused by the Coronavirus.
Under the command of Captain Oscar Manzano, the crew consisted of 280 people, of which 93 are Midshipmen and 41 Sailors; In addition, four Officers from the other branches of the Armed Forces, of Order and Public Safety sailed on board, who in this Instruction Cruise managed to learn about the maritime conditions of Chile and the challenges that navigation in national territorial waters implies.
All of them carried out preventive quarantines prior to boarding and PCRs, to verify that no one in the crew was infected before setting sail. To maintain isolation, the crew did not descend at any of the ports or receive visits on board.
The day of sailing
After making a coastal navigation from Valparaíso to Concón with her sail deployed, the “Esmeralda” set off west in the direction of the Juan Fernández Archipelago. Then, he headed south to begin his navigation through southern channels to Puerto Montt, after 37 years of his last visit. It was on February 19 that the ship docked at Puerto Montt escorted by the “Micalvi” and “Videla” patrol boats of the Fifth Naval Zone. Regarding the operational landfall, Commander Manzano specified that “the entrance was under sail and we anchored very close to the waterfront so that people who do not know La Esmeralda can see it in the Bay.”
Subsequently, the displacement continued to the south and on February 27 the Magellan community could see from their homes the entrance of the School Ship “Esmeralda” to the Bay of Punta Arenas, with its sails deployed throughout the bay, escorted by the Missile Boat “Casma”, the General Services Boat “Punta Arenas”, the Boat type “Arcángel” and the Naval Helicopter 57, who rendered the ordinance honors.
The “White Lady” spent about a month in the area and toured Cape Horn with her sails unfurled and made crossings between Puerto Williams and Tierra del Fuego. Its Commander reiterated the importance of the cruise crossing these icy waters. “This is the area where you learn to be a sailor due to its channels, its difficult steps, the meteorology and the challenging and changing winds, which allows it to perform its main role, which is to train the members of the Chilean Navy. “, he pointed.
At the end of March, the Unit landed for the second consecutive year in Puerto Chacabuco. This is the fourth time in history that the Ship arrives in this port: previously it did so in 1959, 1984 and 2020.
Later, the Unit resumed ocean navigation, calling on April 27 at the port of Hanga Roa, in Rapa Nui. In the place, he carried out a sailing demonstration through the Policarpo Toro Pass and the Hanga Roa Bay, with the aim that the community could see it in all its splendor. And on April 29 she set sail to continue with her itinerary, which led her to spend May 21 in Iquique.
On May 24, the “Esmeralda” made an operational landfall in Arica, visiting the northern port after 6 years. From there she set sail for Caldera, a port where on May 31 she was accompanied by the General Service Boat “Caldera” and local boats that came out to meet her.
The final stretch
On Wednesday, June 2, the Unit landed in the port of Coquimbo, the last port on the itinerary of the 2021 Instruction Cruise. Prior to her arrival, the “White Lady” carried out a coastal navigation through La Serena and Coquimbo with all her sails deployed, an activity that It could be witnessed from land by the community and was also accompanied by various boats that accompanied the navigation that culminated in the anchoring of the Unit in La Herradura Bay.
The main objective of Cruise No. LXVI is to complete the training and instruction of the Midshipmen and Sailors, tempering their spirit, becoming familiar with life on board and taking advantage of the lessons that the sea constantly provides them. “The ‘Esmeralda’ School Ship, whether in international or national waters, allows them to fulfill the essential tasks and activities for professional training as Midshipmen and Sailors in training. It allows them to know and recognize our area of maritime responsibility, where during all their their career will carry out tasks in safeguarding sovereignty and will ensure the safeguarding of life at sea “, highlights the Commander of the White Lady.
At the end of the Instruction Cruise, the staff is ready to fulfill the functions that the Institution demands of them in the different Units and Divisions that are assigned.