La Palma, Tazacorte

Saro's Gyda
Derrick Thorrington
Thu 10 Feb 2011 17:34
    The sail around the south of La Palma to Tazacorte was most enjoyable. With the new found weather forecast, which being local, took into account the height of the islands, wind shadows and acceleration zones we were able to be much more confident about the weather conditions. We headed south with full sail on a lovely broad reach/run, making good speed despite a rather lumpy sea. After coming away from the land a bit however, this settled into a comfortable long northerly swell. It was lovely to see this part of the island from the sea as we had passed by in the dark on our way from El Heirro. As we headed south the landscape became lower and more obviously volcanic. On rounding the southernmost tip we could see the bare, black lava flows from the most recent volcanic eruption in 1971. The wind was very helpful, bending around the point and leading us into flat seas so that we were heading in a northerly direction up the west side of the island. Despite this, after about 5 miles with the odd downgust from the heights, it gradually petered out as predicted, blocked by the island's volcanic spine. Never mind, all good things have to come to an end! We motored the last 10 miles enjoying the ever-rising landscape and the huge terraces of banana plantations, enjoying the more sheltered weather on this side.
    The main attraction of La Palma is the centre of the island, the huge crater in the north and the ever decreasing ridge running down to the southern tip. We wanted see the national park of Taburiente situated in and around the crater. This proved a little difficult as the buses did not run into this area. Not to be defeated we worked out a route via the buses and had a long and strenuous walk into the park via a high valley and were able to sample the interior via numerous miradors (viewpoints) within.
The way in.
Looking back down the valley
A Mirador in the Crater
Within the Crater
D on the way out.
    The best walk (only in my opinion) would be up to and around the crater continuing down to the south coast via the volcanic ridge. Unfortunately, parts of this 3 day walk were inaccessible due to snow and ice on the tops. We have, as usual made good use of the time (and buses) and have had some lovely walks around the NW coast where the almond trees are in full bloom and "Dragon" trees (an ancient species dating back to the tertiary period and only to be found in the Canaries) are still to be found. 
Dragon Tree
    We are now waiting for an opportunity to sail for Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 130 miles away which we hope will be possible in a few days time.