Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The A.R.C. Gloria, Flagship ship of the Colombian Navy

Those that know me can attest that I am very patriotic towards my motherland of Colombia, to the point that I always travel with a Colombian flag just in case I have the opportunity to wave it proudly!

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the floating pride of Colombia, El Buque Insignia A.R.C. Gloria on its visit to the port of Alexandria, Egypt.

Picture from Google image.

As you can imagine this was an opportunity I was not going to let pass up! Especially since Thursday night the crew and the Colombian Embassy in Cairo was holding a cocktail party. Select members of the Colombian community and ambassadors of other Latin American in Cairo were invited.

But first let me give you a little background on the ship.
A.R.C. stands for Armanda Nacional de la Repubica de Colombia which translates into the Navy of the Republic of Colombia. The Gloria was commissioned on September 7th 1968 at the Port of Bilbao Spain. Our 2nd day on the Gloria happened to be its 44th "birthday". The Gloria is 65m/212ft long, has a sail area of 1,500m^2/15,000sq-ft and a displacment of 1,300 tons.
The main mission of the Gloria is as a training ship for the cadets of the Navy as well as a messenger of peace and promoter of Colombia and our culture.

The Gloria sails around the world every year with the 4th year catets and officials of the Navy. On this particular voyage it left from Cartagena Colombia on April 20th 2012 and is expected back on November 5th after visiting several ports in the US, Spain. Monaco, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Portugal and Jamaica.

The Gloria arrive on a Thursday morning in Alexandria but unfortunatly I was tied up in the office and could not see the arrival... Good thing for pictures!

Below are a few pictures taken by Carolina S. who I met at the cocktail party.

Above two pics by Carolina S.

Having seen the Gloria previously in Miami I can tell you its a very emotional moment when you see that huge Colombian flag pull into port and the crew dressed in the Colombian colors on its masts.

Here are the pics of her at the cocktail party and some of the guests.

[Click pictures for larger size]

3 of 10 beautiful cadets that make up the female crew.

Here are some of the hardcore Colombians and crew who stayed late into the night dancing.

These are a few of the crew members who I spent a good deal of time talking with. The night before my father had sent pictures of a friend of his who had been a Cadet of the ship in 1983 and had experienced a very bad storm off the coast of Japan which left the ship crippled and in need of repair to make the vyage back across the Pacific Ocean. They were very interested in the pictures and we exchanged emails to keep in touch and  send them and the Captain the pictures. One of the officers gave me as a gift a Colombian flag themed bracelet!

On Friday morning after a night of dancing we took the day to explore Alexandria.

Unfortunately since it was Friday a lot of the places were closed, like the Modern Library of Alexandria seen here.

After visiting the library we went to see the old Roman Amphitheater and then the Catacombs. No pictures were allowed at the Catacombs so the DSLR stayed in the Jeep but "our police officer/guide" let us take a few iPhone pics inside the catacombs.

In the catacombs which go 4 levels under ground.

Whats really interesting to note here is how there is both Pharaonic and Roman carvings at this tomb.

We also visited the Citatel of Qaitbay which is built on the site of the old famous Alexandria lighthouse that now sits at the bottom of the sea. The light house was built built between built between 280 and 247 BC and then got damaged in the earthquake of 956, then again in 1303 and 1323. While standing the light house was believed to be the tallest man mad structure. In 1477 this fort was built.

Soon after taking the above picture I almost got in a flight with 3 kids in their late teens/early 20's who were beating a young German Sheppard for pure fun. Got them to stop for the moment but... Sure hope the dog bites their face off and runs away! :)

Then before heading back to Cairo we went to see the Gloria once last time for a day tour of the ship.

Overall I was thrilled to be able to see and meet the crew of the Gloria, it was even better since it was in Egypt, 7,000+ miles from Colombia!

If you are also interested, here is a short video of a small military base in the middle of the Sinai desert run by Colombia. Its is part of the Multinational Force & Observers program who see to it that Egypt follows the peace treaty with Isreal. Every time I go to Sinai I stop by and visit the rotating group of soldiers and I try and take them some type of little gift/Colombia food or candy!


That's all for now... Hopefully soon I will have time to post about the recent rip to Barcelona and a 10 day tour of Scandinavia!

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1 comment:

Clara Susana Escobar said...

Andy, es un orgullo para nosotros que Colombia ocupe un lugar tan especial en tu corazon!
muy interesante tu blog y muy linda la fotografia

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