Sunday, March 7, 2010

El Museo naval de Cartagena

The other day we wandered into Cartagena’s Naval Museum inside a former Jesuit seminary. The only other people there were 2 naval officers in pristine white uniforms and an older presumably English couple and a female naval officer getting her picture taken in the courtyard. The museum consists of twenty or so flat glass display boxes depicting the many battles and assaults on Cartagena by English and French pirates, with exact positions of the ships involved, sailing on rippling glass, and little models of the forts atop hills dotted with miniature greenery.
The pirates come, they wreck, and then they go. More forts get built. They breech La Boca Grande or they breach La Boca Chica, again and again. Sometimes they don’t succeed but they still wreak havoc as they retreat.
There is also a vitrine displaying the insignia for every conceivable rank in the Colombian navy.
And then we have the stuffed head of Chicote, who was the mascot aboard the ‘Gloria’ for thirteen years and logged in 217, 260 nautical miles over his illustrious lifetime, and visited more than 100 ports.

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