Once again, thousands of people gathered on the quayside, shouting loudly, “It’s all right, the Virgin is on board!” as the Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of sailors, embarked along with San Telmo of Puerto de la Cruz.
From early morning, crowds flocked to this spot to enjoy a day filled with festivities. The day began with a vibrant floral reveille, followed by a mass in the chapel of the quay, a chocolate treat, and the traditional cucaña. Hours later, under the scorching heat, the most anticipated moment of the day arrived, attracting thousands of people to Puerto de la Cruz every year.
After the solemn Eucharist celebration in the church of La Peña de Francia, led by Marcos Javier Albertos Alberto, chaplain and lieutenant colonel of RACA93 of San Cristóbal de La Laguna and the Guardia Civil of Ofra, and accompanied by the Buenaventura choir of La Orotava, the carriers prepared to bear both images on their shoulders.
It was a moment filled with anticipation among the sailors, who received thunderous applause after lifting the images and continuous chants of “viva,” which echoed until they exited the church and commenced the land procession towards the quay through the streets of Quintana, Santo Domingo, and La Marina. The procession was attended by the city’s mayor, Marco González, members of the municipal corporation, representatives from other administrations such as Rosa Dávila, the president of the Cabildo of Tenerife, several island councillors, and mayors from other municipalities in the Valley.
San Telmo, carried mostly by women and young people, was the first to exit the church, followed by the Queen of the Seas adorned in her finest attire. Countless mobile phone cameras were directed at this image, created by the sculptor Ángel Acosta, evoking great devotion and prompting continuous chants in her honor.
At Punta del Viento, the first encounter with the sea, the carriers paused, allowing people to present their babies and children to the Virgin, seeking her guidance. Tearfully and even from wheelchairs, they strained to touch the images, expressing gratitude to those who facilitated their passage. From balconies, neighbors joined the procession with cheers and scattered flower petals.
As the procession approached the quay, the crowds swelled, making it challenging for the bearers to advance. The fervor for both images was evident on the faces of many, including men, women, and children, who couldn’t hold back their tears at the sight of them. Even during Tony Acebo and Chago Melián’s performances of songs dedicated to the Virgin, such as the Malagueña and Ave María, emotions ran high.
EMBARKMENT OF VIRGIN OF CARMEN, PATRON OF SAILORS
The most emotional moment came when both images were placed on boats to embark on a procession along the sea, accompanied by applause, “vivas,” and great effort to navigate through the crowd.
San Telmo was the first to arrive at the quay and board the boat. Fifteen minutes later, precisely at 8:20 p.m., the Virgin arrived on the San Ramón, facing more challenges due to her weight and the careful handling required to protect the carving and its clothing from saltwater. In the background, Chago Melián’s voice sang Bendita mi tierra Guanche.
The first stop was to welcome aboard the authorities, the new queen of the festivities, and her ladies of honor. Once on board, the procession continued along the coast of the port. On the return journey, it passed through Mequinez, Plaza Benito Pérez Galdós, La Peñita, San Felipe, Plaza del Charco, and La Marina. It returned to the Muelle, where a pyrotechnic display took place, before proceeding through Plaza del Charco, Calles Blanco, Iriarte, San Juan, and Quintana, finally returning the Virgin to her parish church.
According to the Local Police, over 30,000 people gathered near the fishing quay, once again proving that the venue was too small to accommodate the culmination of the July Fiestas, which grow in intensity with each passing year.