Six Royal Australian Navy junior officers embarked the Ecuadorian Navy’s sail training ship, ‘The Guayas’ for a voyage from Fremantle to Sydney recently.
Four Midshipmen were on a break from the Junior Warfare Application Course and two are still studying at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
Midshipman Jonathan Woodward said the two weeks at sea on the sail training ship was an excellent experience.
“We joined in time for Christmas Eve and our first taste of Ecuadorian culture was a fiesta on the deck, with lots of singing and dancing, as the Ecuadorians had a sizeable band with them,” he said.
“The Guayas sailed on Christmas Day and we spent our days doing duties on the bridge and in the engineering space with Ecuadorian Midshipmen and have made many friends.”
The ship is a steel hulled barque and sails with a crew of 152 sailors and trainees. Midshipman Woodward said sailing on a tall ship reinforced seamanship principles he learnt during his initial training at HMAS Creswell.
“It was incredible to see traditional seamanship skills in action," he said.
"We learnt how to use the 'bosun's call' for way more than just wakey wakey and manning the lines as we manuvered the sails was also pretty cool.
"I even learnt a bit of Spanish.
“My station during the trip was the second highest yard – going up the rat lines in sea state five across the bite was an experience I will never forget,” Midshipman Woodward said.
The Guayas arrived in Sydney on 8 January and was welcomed into Sydney by a local tall ships South Passage, James Craig and Southern Swan, as well as the Sydney Ports Fire Tug.
“It is always special to sail into Sydney through the heads, but to do it on a barque, sitting at stations on the mast with all the other Midshipmen, it was really special and quite an amazing view,” Midshipman Woodward said.
The Guayas, affectionately known as Ecuador’s ambassador ship, sailed into Perth on 21 December after seven months at sea on its Vuelta al Mundo (Round the World) voyage. The barque was last in Australia for Bicentennial celebrations in 1988.
The ship seeks to strengthen relations between Ecuador and visited nations whilst promoting Ecuadorian tourism. It is also important for the training and academic development of Ecuadorian Navy personnel.