Land Ho! Peruvian tall ship open for tours this weekend in North Van (VIDEO)

The breathtaking vessel will be open to the public May 10 & 11

Ever wondered what it’s like to sail the seven seas aboard a massive ship? Well, this weekend in North Vancouver you can get a taste of that nautical life for free.

The BAP Unión Peruvian tall ship dropped anchor at Burrard Dry Dock Pier Wednesday evening, and will be open for tours to the public.

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The ship doubles as a training vessel for the Peruvian Naval Academy, while also acting as a cultural ambassador for its home country.

“This is a training ship, but at the same time it’s like an embassy,” said Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas, the Ambassador of Peru in Canada. “This is a total promotion of the culture and biodiversity of Peru.”

The ship’s arrival celebrates the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and Peru. At a press conference held aboard the vessel Thursday morning, Arnillas stressed the importance of the relationship.

“We are like-minded countries that share values and principles,” said Arnillas. “We believe in multilateralism, the protection and defence of human rights and free trade. You can tell here in Canada when you see the Peruvian community, how they have been able to be part of the Canadian society. That’s very telling.”

Of the 250 mariners on board the ship, 115 are trainees or cadets.  

“Part of the education of a professional officer is to have an open mind and understanding of how things work,” explained Kurt Ludwig Böttger Garfias, the ship’s captain. “For us, it’s important to mix in with the cultures, and to visit places like Vancouver that has that unique perspective and diversity, with the navy close by. I think it’s a visit that will be very valuable to what we do.”

As part of their visit to Vancouver, the crew will be honouring Captain Bodega Quadra, a Peruvian-born mariner who explored the regions that we now call British Columbia.

“There are several locations here that are named after him,” explained Böttger. “It’s a way of recognizing that even though our official diplomatic relations were established 75 years ago, our interaction predates that, and it’s been fruitful and meaningful for at least 200 years.”

Peruvian tall ship
The BAP Unión is named after a famous Peruvian corvette that fought in the War of the Pacific, commanded by Peruvian hero Miguel Grau. photo supplied

During the press conference, Captain Böttger spoke highly of the crews admittedly short, but excited impression of the city.

“Just judging by the marvelous skyline that received us yesterday, I think it’s a very beautiful city. I think it’s a promising visit. So far, from what we’ve seen, it’s lovely and we very much look forward to go out and enjoy the city.”

Those eager to find their sea legs aboard this spectacular vessel can do so May 10 to 11, from 11 a.m - 6 p.m. daily. But make sure to get there quick, the ship leaves for Hawaii on May 12.

“The ship will be open for visits starting tomorrow, completely free of charge. Anyone can walk in, bring their families and enjoy the ship. They can look at this exhibition of Peruvian products and culture,” said Böttger.

“As with any human interaction, we give you a sample of our culture, but we hope to receive a lot from Vancouver and Canadian culture as well.” 

For more information, check out the webpage here.

Peruvian tall ship
An alternate view taken from the 85 tonne Seaspan Crane shows the ship's impressive 115.5 metre length. photo supplied Shawn R. Schaubel

Visit the BAP UNIÓN

When: Friday, May 10 -  Saturday, May 11

Where: Burrard Dry Dock Pier, North Vancouver

Time: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Admission: Free to public

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