Visiting the Base Naval ARC Bolivar of Colombia
My exclusive visit to Colombia's Naval Base called locally as the "Base Naval ARC Bolivar" was a very special occasion for myself. Particularly as I am a huge fan of British naval history it was interesting to compare Britain's sea-might to that of another great country. With links with Britain such as Spain being our common enemy and at other links to British pirates and Buccaneers. Before you ask this visit is not available to the public and I was lucky to have met someone who invited me to the base for a personal tour. It was a huge privilege to witness and be present on a functional active base. I am glad to have taken the following photos and to be able to describe some of which I have seen. Please enjoy. I welcome all comments particularly from anyone with an interest in naval history.
Base Naval ARC Bolivar (BN-1)
The base itself has the necessary guards and gates as any base would. At the entrance, I was warned not to take photos even for the public road outside. Hence the absence of such a photo here, never the less StreetView offers us assistance. Once passing heavy security that consisted of metal detectors and pat-downs by armed guards. The base is a little village and reminds me straight away from the bases depicted in the various Vietnam films and namely that of Good Morning Vietnam. Sailors and other such servicemen travel the base largely on foot but I did see some vehicles. We walked to the waterside where a vast number of vessels were docked.
ARC Cartagena de Indias (BM-161)
The first ship that caught my eye was the largest of them all, ARC Cartagena de Indias (BM-161). The ARM stands for Armada Nacional de la República de Colombia. Little did I know that it actually comes from one of my own countries, Germany. The ship was constructed in 1968 for the German Navy and retired in 1991. She was waiting to be scrapped until 1996 when she had been acquired by the Colombian Navy for 2 million dollars and were conditioned for re-service. Here she was, docked in the very port for which is a flagship for, Cartagena. After meeting with her crew port-side I discovered that she functioned as a hospital ship back in 2010 in the Colombian humanitarian mission to serve the population as a result of the Haiti Earthquake.
ARC GloriaIt was wonderful to meet an old friend. The ARC Gloria is a spectacular piece of seafaring craftsmanship. One that I visited in September of last year when it left this home port of Cartagena to visit London Docklands in September 2015.
After boarding the ARC Gloria it was like meeting an old friend. Totally spotless and in superb condition the decks were squeaky the brass was gleaming. I headed with my host to the function space to the rear of the ship. Progressing on to the bridge and area normally off limits, I got my hands on the helm with beautiful views over her home port (360 views). Later I got a look at the crew areas deep within the ship and totally immaculate. Passing the ship's binnacle which had a display of all the ship's voyages. Some noticeably passing the British Isles. I can to a massive mess where I sat with some of the crew and they explained their day to day tasks. Many of which with have had me knackered after just one. The best thing apart from mixing with the crew is that the belly of the ship is blissfully air-conditioned. ARC Gloria is a schooling ship and focusing on classical navigation. Using the stars and other various instruments they will become the finest in South America.