Ships That Pass In Santa Cruz Port

Well another Saturday afternoon and there I was bobbing up and down on the deck of a Colombian training ship in Santa Cruz. That wasn’t part of the original plan but what’s the odd diversion or two when your having fun. I was up in Santa Cruz to cover the Sal2 promotional day for Tenerife Magazine, loads of shops throwing open their doors with special offers, live music, and lots of food offers.

I was sat in Plaza Candelaria listening to a few bands warming up and noticed in the paper that the Colombian triple mast training ship Gloria was in port, so I had to have some of that. Looking out from the top of the Fred Olsen ferry terminal I could see the masts over by the quayside where the cruise liners tie up, and not knowing whether I could get up close I tried my luck and headed for the port gate, normally manned by a jobsworth security guard. Getting nearer it became clear that people were streaming back with posters and other goodies tucked under their arms – goodie it was open house.

Let’s get technical, Gloria was built in Bilbao, Spain in 1968 and the crew of 160 included 77 cadettes literally learning the ropes.Striding up the gang plank I was welcomed aboard by the white uniformed crew and made very welcome, the decks were split level and loaded up with brasses, tightly coiled circles of rope, and lots of freshly scrubbed floor boards. The tallest mast is 40 metres and even without the sails rigged they looked damm impressive and a little scarey to me. The information room below deck had loads of hand outs and a detailed glossy colour booklet with all the facts about the proud ship. The current voyage was of over 5 months, 10 countries and 14 ports including Waterford in Ireland, and Greenock and Lerwick in Scotland. next stop was Martinique, I was tempted to stow away but remembered how queasy the boating lake in Oxford uded to make my feel.

Leaving the ship I decided to walk away from the flow and Santa Cruz centre to see what the grey battle ship was just around the corner. It was quite a surprise to see the name Black Rover written on the stern end and London underneath. Moving round to the gang plank I shouted up and a British crew member answered and came down to chat. Turns out the Black Rover A 273 is part of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary and spends its missions servicing and supplying naval ships often in very rough conditions. In Santa Cruz for a week, the Swan Hunter built in Wallsend, Newcastle 40 years ago had come in from the Falklands and was heading back to home base in Portland, Dorset.

I didn’t go aboard but was invited back to get permission from the duty officer, sadly I will be away during their stay in Tenerife. Most of the 70 crew were off on shore leave but I extended an invitation to join the Armada Sur pre game the next day, apparently most of the crew are football mad scousers. With duty calling me back to Sal2 i headed back into the city but hope to nose around a few more ships whenever they pass this way.