1. Introduction
  2. ARM Cuauhtémoc
    1. Background
  3. ARC Gloria
    1. Background
  4. Ropes
    1. Ropes on the Cuauhtémoc
    2. Ropes on the Gloria
  5. Other Cool Sights


During a busy week near the end of the Spring 2023 semester, my friend Andoni was looking for people to go with to see a ship in the Boston Harbor. The ARM Cuauhtémoc was in town as part of an instruction voyage. Its home port was Acapulco, a city of personal significance to Andoni and his family.

That was the first time I’d ever heard about training ships, which are vessels on which some navies finish educating their incoming officers. While modern navies consist of modern ships, it’s traditional for some navies to use sail ships (or tall ships) for training. They double as a beautiful way for the cadets to represent their country as they sail around the world.

It was interesting enough when I saw one in May, but then by chance I saw another one in August. I figured that was enough to write about it.

I saw the Mexican Navy’s ARM Cuauhtémoc when it visited Boston in early May 2023, and I saw the Colombian Navy’s ARC Gloria when it visited Boston in late August.

Both ships I visited were Spanish-speaking. I didn’t know any Spanish, but they were still nice to see!

ARM Cuauhtémoc

A band of three: me, Andoni, and our friend Gabe biked on over from campus to Seaport to see Mexico’s ARM Cuauhtémoc.

The only one of us who knew much Spanish was Andoni. I thought Gabe would know more since he was Brazilian-Canadian, but Portuguese and Spanish are less mutually intelligible than I thought.

When we got there, a nice sailor gave us a tour and spoke to us about his work. I didn’t understand much of it, since it was in Spanish, but Andoni seemed to get a lot out of it.

Me standing in front of the Cuauhtémoc. The masts lit up and in the color of the Mexican flag.

A dazzling sight in the colors of the Mexican flag.

The ship from afar.

A view of the ship from the dock, looking at the stern.


A photograph on a phone held in someone's hand of Andoni and some sailors.

A picture I took from Andoni’s phone when we met the Mexican sailors earlier in the day. That’s how we found out the ship was in town.

Andoni posing in front of the Cuauhtémoc from the dock.

Andoni giving a thumbs up.

Andoni on the ship near the front mast.

ARC Gloria

During my recent visit to Cambridge in August, I was going on a walk with my friend Eryn somewhere near North Station when I saw a ship across the water with a yellow-blue-red tricolor.

We were just walking around town on a nice day. I had no idea there was going to be a real fancy ship there. But there it was, on the other side of Boston Harbor. After quickly searching the news, we discovered Colombia’s ARC Gloria was in town.

Having met its sister-ship the Cuauhtémoc a few months earlier, I thought we ought to go and see the Gloria too. It was docked next to the USS Constitution, a half hour walk away from where we were.

When we got there, a nice sailor gave us a tour in English around the ship.

Me standing on deck of the Gloria from the bow.

Me standing on the bow of the Gloria.

Some Colombian sailors pulling the gangway into position.

A close-up picture of the Gloria with its flag flying.

The view of the Gloria from across the Harbor, zoomed in.

The view of the Gloria closer up.

My friend Eryn and I right after spotting the Gloria from across the water.


It turned out that it was the bicentennial of the Colombian navy!

A modern plaque on the ship.

A more old-fashioned plaque on the ship.

A collection of knots that the first Colombian admiral José Padilla López used.

A boatswain's whistle on an elaborately braided rope lanyard.

A whistle gifted in 2010 to the ARC Gloria from the ARM Cuauhtémoc. I was told that the sailors braid their own elaborate lanyards for their whistles.

A plaque describing the donated whistle.


I don’t see ropes all that often, so I thought the ropes on the ships were really cool. These nautical ropes are a lot stronger than ordinary ropes I encounter, seeing as they’re meant to control enormous ships.

Something I learned only when visiting the Gloria is that a lot of manpower is required to run a tall ship. The sailor giving us a tour said he’s responsible for something like one fifth of one sail of one mast. Harnessing the wind can be very labor-intensive.

Ropes on the Cuauhtémoc

A big pile of rope.

My hand around some really thick rope

And the rope’s thicker than my hands!

Flat rope..

Some rope was flat rather than round.

Two flat coils of rope.

Some rope was smaller and coiled into spirals.

Ropes on the Gloria

A fancy 5-pointed coil thing.

A similar 5-pointed coil thing with a cascanding rope thing. Also near some bigger white rope.

Large white rope coiled around a big metal thing.

I love the little details like the Colombian flag that marks the end of the ropes.

Some chains.

Other Cool Sights

We also saw a bunch of ship-related things on the walk around the Harbor to get to the Gloria.

The ARC Gloria was docked right next to the USS Constitution. After seeing the Gloria, we went to the Constitution’s museum (which had free admission, though suggested donation) and skipped the Constitution itself (which didn’t have free admission).

On the walk over to the Gloria, we walked past the Colonel Richard Gridley Locks of the Charles River Dam, which separates the Charles from the sea.

Large cast iron weights with their weight painted in white.

Next to the Constitution were a bunch of weights. I assume they used to be used to measure the weight of cargo.

Who knows how long this safety sign’s been here. I wonder what the tower behind was for.

Immediately before the Constitution was the navy yard’s Dry Dock 1.

They had a bunch of little displays inside the Constitution museum. They also had a bunch of delightful interactive exercises for people to play with, though I didn’t take pictures of those. I think it’s worth seeing, especially but not only if you’re with kids.