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Nothing much else to say

I'd heard, in the way one does, that there was something going on in Cartagena for Armed Forces Day. The Ministry of Defence fought a strong rearguard action though. They were not keen to divulge specific information. Eventually, deep inside their website, I found what I needed.

It told me that we could visit The mine-hunter Sella, the mine counter measures ship Diana, the search and rescue boat Neptune, the submarine Galerna and the Antarctic Research vessel Las Palmas. Opening times were from 10 till 1 and from 5 till 8 on both Saturday and Sunday.

We turned up at around 10.30 and there was the submarine and the other boats but we were told that nothing opened till 4. When we got home I checked. Both local papers had the same visiting times as me but the Murcia Tourist Office knew better. Military precision.

We went back after 4. The boats were there as promised but no submarine. I heard a woman ask a sailor where it was. Apparently it had a "little hole" and diesel was spilling into the bay. "It's a bit old," said the sailor "we're getting new ones soon."

We toured around the Diana. Our tour guide told us interesting things. "This chair is where the commander sits, over there is where the deputy commander sits and this is the radar and that's the helm - nothing much else to say." The boat looked very old. Commissioned in 1979 I suppose it is.

The crew on the research vessel, Las Palmas, were much more informative "This is the chair where the commander sits, over there is where the deputy commander sits, we have two radars but we only use both when we're in the Antarctic as there are more things to crash into. When we're in the Atlantic we only use one. Oh, and we have three radios and here's a chart that shows our bases in Antarctica - nothing much else to say."

I can here a band playing outside as I type. It's about 8.15. I notice that the information from both the Tourist Office and the Ministry of Defence says that the concert starts at 9.30.


  1. About the sub, apparently someone made a mistake as the boat was being brough alonside. They hit the wharf, oil or fuel started to leak and they had to go back to base to avoid (further) embarrassment and perhaps a fine.

    Are you sure it was the Sella that you visited? That's a relatively modern ship, built in Cartagena and commissioned around 2000. The Diana, on the other hand was commissioned end of 70's as a light frigate (nicknamed the atomic ant because it used to be quite seriously armed for a ship of her smallish size)and converted to its current role around ten years ago. She was/is a rather good looking warship in my opinion. Also built in Cartagena, I still remember the deafning noise of all the sirens when she and her twin returned home from their round-the-world inaugural cruise.


  2. Well the submarine stories more or less match.

    You're quite right about the Diana and Sella. It was the older Diana we had a look around. I have changed the blog to hide the evidence of my advancing senility.


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