One hundred and thirty six (136) years and nine months after that foggy morning of the Battle of Iquique (see yesterday’s post) our view of the harbor was clear. Instead of dreadnoughts steaming out of the fog to gun us down, a small fast boat waited to guide the Regatta into harbor.
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My first meeting with a maritime pilot was hundreds of miles from the ocean, on an Arizona mountain (click me for this post “Cochise Dawn”). Today it was at a distance, across water, as Pam and I enjoyed our port side stateroom balcony and these views of Iquique harbor.
A escarpment hundreds of feet high backdrops the city. Today, we will visit a former nitrate mine on the desert plateau on top the escarpment. Our ship will anchor beyond the breakwater.
It is the maritime pilot on this tiny fast boat who will guide us through the dangerous, crowded and unfamiliar waters of the harbor.
The profession has existed since Greek and Roman times when fishermen used their knowledge of local waters to guide ships with valuable cargo to dock.
Today, the pilot is carried out on a fast, specialized boat to come alongside to climb up a special ladder created for this purpose. Onboard, the pilot takes over controls of the ship. The ship Master retains ultimate responsibility for his ship.
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