Landfall - the north-east point of Tenerife
As soon as we arrived in Tenerife it felt as if someone had turned the thermostat up at last. Our first port of call was Santa Cruz, where we stayed at Marina Tenerife, a quiet spot even though it's part of a large fishing harbour. It's also home for some large coastguard (Guardia Civil) launches that disturb the peace when firing up for their evening outing and return in the early hours of the morning. Another downside is the long walk to the bus stop; so we hired a car.
Never having been to the Canaries before we were pleasantly surprised to find Santa Cruz - and northern Tenerife - a relaxed and scenic place, not overwhelmed by tourism. First we explored the hub. The car got us into town very quickly; then we had to find a place to park, finally settling for an underground car park. All the on-street parking appears to have no time restriction, so first come usually stays all day.
Calatrava's architectural icon is evidently not designed to be viewed from the sea
The next day we set off into the interior. Driving inland and uphill, the road to the focal point of the island (and the highest point in Spain), Pico del Teide, runs along a ridge with wooded hillsides and lovely views on both sides.
Pines cover the intermediate slopes
Almost out of the woods, our destination became apparent
To starboard the Orotava valley; formed by a massive eruption and landslip, some time ago. La Palma island beyond
Closer to El Teide the terrain changes to a more barren volcanic landscape, with fascinating layers, rock formations and mixes of colours.
dramatic stratification exposed at the road cuttings . . . . . . and on the lower slopes of the mountain itself
At the end of the road we contemplated the walk to the top and soon decided to pay 25 Euros each for the cable car ride. It's a bargain. At the top station (at 3500 metres) it's possible to walk on up to the crater (another 200 higher) but you need prior permission to do that. We contented ourselves with a stroll at 3500 metres, feeling dizzy enough as it was.
The views are as breath-taking as the oxygen-deprived air.
The old crater, to the south of the peak, is no longer active
Since leaving the UK we've always stayed in marinas. Sometimes there has been no alternative but often we've been lured by their convenience for sight-seeing, fixing things on the boat when you need shore access, and of course shore power and wifi. But we've been longing for the day when we can drop anchor in a sheltered bay, with water warm enough for Rachel to swim, and relax. On Sunday we were stocked up with fresh produce and sailing southward looking for somewhere to drop the hook and linger for a few days. Approaching our first option in the mid-afternoon we realised that it was definitely out: the easterly winds would have made it very uncomfortable.
We'll just round this little hill and drop the hook!
At the end of the day we found shelter after rounding the south-west corner of the coast of the island, close to the airport. It was our opportunity to try our new bow anchor for the first time. It worked well but the swell was rolling us around so Paul got out other new toy - the Sea Brake drogue - and hung it off the end of the boom. That helped and we slept reasonably well for our first night at anchor since the Seychelles. However, in the morning we looked around and decided it wasn't the idyllic spot we'd hoped for, the wind was howling and it was far too chilly for a swim so we upped anchor and sailed a few miles along the coast to another marina, at the pleasant local (as opposed to 100% tourist) town of Las Galletas.
Happy Christmas everyone!