First Voyage Cover for Grace Line's
Santa Paula Postmarked Barranquilla
First voyage cover postmarked Barranquilla, Colombia, February 20, 1933
The Grace Line's S.S. Santa Paula was a passenger and cargo ocean liner. The second of four sister ships ordered in 1930 from the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Kearny, New Jersey, her regular service route was between the east and west coasts of the United States via the Panama Canal. The Santa Paula sailed on her maiden voyage on 30 January 1933 from Seattle and made 12 port calls en route to New York via the Panama Canal.
Featuring a winged funnel, the ship was exceptionally powerful but awkward to maneuver. Public rooms on the promenade deck included a dining room between the two funnels with a retractable roof to let passengers dine under the tropical sky. First class outside cabins featured twin beds and private baths. Souvenir "first voyage" covers bearing the ship's cachet can be found from the various ports visited between Seattle on January 30 and New York on February 21, 1933. Interestingly, there are also covers postmarked Victoria, British Colombia on the same day as the departure from Seattle.
The cover is franked with a five centavo definitive issued in 1932. The other stamps in the set depict an emerald mine (1c green), oil wells (2c red), a platinum mine (8c blue black), gold mining (10c yellow) and Christopher Columbus (20c dark blue).
The caption on the five centavo stamp, cafe suave, means "smooth coffee" and this theme is echoed in the slogan cancellation on the stamp that boasts, "Colombia produces the best mild coffee" in five languages!