Friday, November 16, 2012

Dan in Tenerife

The next day we picked Dan up at the airport and initially headed to Mendano which is a windsurfing resort that Mark had visited over 20 years ago, it was a bit grey and not that windy but still nice for him to revisit.

Mark & Dan at Mendano

We then drove off up to Mount Teide, the road up is through lovely pine forests and before you know it you are above the clouds.

Above the clouds through the pine forest
Then you rise up a few more 100 metres and you are on the plateau of the volcano, the summit at 3718m it is the highest point in Spain and measured from the sea bed it is the third highest volcano in the world.  Suddenly you are driving across the lava fields and the temperature had dropped dramatically, we were not hugely prepared with Mark in his shorts! Although little chance of a new eruption, last eruption was 1909.

The peak of mount Teide

The mass of lava fields into the distance
We did not go up in the cable car but still had a great sunny drive and it was odd descending down the mountain into the rain cloud.

The next day it was another grey and cloudy one but we drove up to the Anaga mountains in the north east corner of Tenerife, not far from Santa Cruz.  They are quite pretty and would make some good walking but we were not prepared for the drizzle and cold so it was just a sight seeing tour to admire the views although they would have been better without the rain clouds.

Windy our way through the mountains

The view west toward Tiede (somewhere in the distance) from Anaga Mountains 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What are we up to in Tenerife

The marina is in the centre of Santa Cruz although it is still a 10-15 minutes walk into the town, it is quite odd being in such a built up area with the noise of cars and ferries all day and night.  After a couple of days we had a hire car booked to enable us to see some more of the island, sounded easy to pick it up from the North airport as only 25 minutes away on the bus but wasn’t so straight forward as Gold Car is a bus journey away from the airport and we waited over an hour for our car! No more complaining just a word of warning.

We visited Puerto de la Cruz which is a quite a nice tourist resort, with some old buildings mingled in with the new tat touristy shops.  Seemed to be full of German and British tourists quite busy even in November.

Mark in Puerto de la Cruz
On our way back to the boat we stopped in Decathlon (sports shop) which would have been great apart from the car was broken into in the carpark, again I only mention this as a word of warning as this was a well lit busy carpark and they broke in both front and boot and managed to unlock and lock the car!

The next day we were up at the crack of dawn to visit Loro Parque, this was originally a bird park when it was open in the 1970’s but has grown  closer to a wildlife park.  Although we often avoid the tourist attractions because of our budget constraints but I have wanted to visit Loro Parque for years to see the birds so this was a bit of an extravagance but worth it!  Loro Parque donate a large amount of money to conservation mainly around parrots but also in other areas such as Gorillas and there was a great Gorilla enclosure.

There are also some really good marine life shows, I still have very mixed feelings about the animals being kept in captivity but the shows were pretty spectacular.  During the dolphin show we were impressed how high they jumped, over 6 metres which would have been plenty high enough to jump over Magnum!

Dolphin show
The killer whale show was also very impressive although still a bit upsetting to see such huge animals in such a small pool but they did seem to enjoy jumping around.

Yes that really is a killer whale!
There was also an impressive penguin house which was snowing, with various different species including the Humboldt, Emperor Penguin, Rock hoppers. 

Humboldt penguins

Emperor penguins
The also had a small enclosure for Puffins, we love these birds and have spent years hoping to see one in the wild but it was almost as nice seeing there little happy faces.

Ahhhh a lovely little Puffin
Also very impressed by the number of different Macaw species, more than we have seen at any other bird park – Hyacinth, Scarlett, Blue & Yellow, Yellow fronted, Military, we were there for a while whilst Amanda said hello to all of them.

Hyacinth Macaw

Avery full of young Macaws
We had a great day out and it was worth a visit, look at how much fun Mark with his pineapple head is having.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Puerto Calero, Lanzarote to Santa Cruz, Tenerife

We finally left Puerto Calero on 5th November after almost 1 month, we knew the winds were forecasted to be light but we had to get going as the strong southerlies a few days before had already delayed our departure and we had commitments in Tenerife on the 8th.

Leaving Puerto Calero with my nice clean fender on the side deck

The yellow haze on the horizon is the dust from Africa which is blown in the wind
We had a force 2-3 north-north easterly so motor sailed towards Fuerteventura with the occasional downpour of rain which was not forecasted! By 12pm were passing Playa Blanca on one side and Isla Lobos with Fuerteventura in the background.

The closest we will get to Fuerteventura
With the wind settling at around 10 knots from the east, Mark decided it was spinnaker time and the preparation began, thankfully the wind remained whilst he prepared the lines and we hoisted the spinnaker and set off at 7 knots. For about 40 minutes it was glorious downwind sailing then the wind died and engine was on again.

Spinnaker up
The wind then grew to force 5 south easterly and both sails were full for a couple of hours, then the wind died again and we were back to motoring, this was the routine we settled into for the rest of the day and into the night and at every opportunity we attempted to sail as we were sick of the sound of the engine.  With the sun setting around 6.30pm and thye moon not rising until 23.30 the night was long and we both had various attempts to sleep, Amanda  as always was the most successful and when she got up around 7am after being asleep for just over 5 hours Mark was desperate for his turn.

The remainder of the journey was pretty uneventful; we had various stints of sailing but lots of motoring. It was like being back in the Med! The skies were grey and we could often hear the thunder in the distance and see the lightening.  We did see a pod of pilot whales (we think) around 10 miles off Tenerife but they didn’t come very close –  after attending a presentation on Whales and Dolphins at Puerto Calero we felt quite confident in identifying them.  About the same time we were hit by the thunderstorm luckily we were on the edge but the thunder was very loud and we switched all our instruments off and sheltered from the rain. The mainland was still looking pretty grey as we approached.

Clouds over north of Tenerife
Santa Cruz had almost disappeared at points but we could see the Independence of the Seas, this cruise ship always amazes me as is over 1 mile long and over the last 18 months she has cropped up all over our travels.

A grey Santa Cruz with a distant Independence of the Seas

Final thoughts on Puerto Calero

Just to share a couple of thoughts for anyone who might plan to visit Puerto Calero. 

  • Very helpful staff and speak good English – Mel is English.
  • Clean water, area around marina and facilities
  • Secure- does not feel very secure without gates but there is CCTV and security guard 24hours.
  • Not ideal for provisions as supermarket small and a bit over priced but can walk to Puerto Carmen in around 50 mins for a bigger supermarket but hire car is best option.
  • Can rent car from marina – around 30 euros a day
  • Boatyard is efficient and the staff friendly and helpful – good stock of anti-fouling but quite expensive. Did not have a very good experience with Volvo engineer, other services are very busy at peak time of year so may struggle to get work done.
  • Chandlery in marina not very well stocked – can get Camping Gas but cheaper to get at garage in Macha but need a car to get there.
  • Big selection of restaurants on marina front – Mexican (on 1sr floor below marina office) was very nice and Indian Take-away was good (lots of food) and reasonable priced with takeaway discount.
Busy Puerto Calero