Camels and coaches, volcanoes and vineyards

Sun 25 Oct 2015 14:50
20th October Tuesday
On arrival at the Montanas del Fuego there appeared to be no obvious organisation and the place was heaving with coaches and enthusiasts. It was possibly the British natural desire to queue that saw us join a coach queue standing in readiness, and in a few minutes we were allocated our mounts.
Our camel was a soft as a brush. She liked nothing more than a good cuddle and her boss directed a little boy to her to have his photo taken when the camel he had been on did not want to co-operate. I had secretly been looking forward to this ride and knew we would all enjoy it. All the camels complained about getting up or maybe they had to exhale with a groan before they could lift their load. The step we put our feet on while sitting in the chair is just a piece of wood supported with some line. Mine was very short, so my knees were tucked up. Wearing only a seatbelt I knew that if I leaned forward to correct it I would probably end up suspended upside down underneath the seat, too embarrassing. The boss saw my problem and with an apologetic smile undid it commenting to the effect that a child had sat in my chair before.
As we loped our way up, around and back down it was amazing to think that camels had ploughed the soil many metres under us before the last eruptions covered over the whole area. The camel behind Tom and Charly was very curious and kept peeping around their shoulders. Back at the ranch he was the only camel left tethered to the one infront, in case he did a runner. They made no complaint about lying down again!
Charly and I wondered where the camels were kept and we did see a well worn track leading down to Yaiza a mile or two south, in fact where we had lunch at a Bodega (wine cellar/restaurant).
The Timanfaya is the vast volcanic area and we boarded a coach for what I thought would be a drive around the rim of one volcano. Not so, it was an incredible ride through much of the region along a modern flow of lava (road) often following the old lava gulleys. This was the only live volcano on the island and we wondered when it would erupt again. The staff at the visitor centre like their jobs of intermingling with the visitors. One threw  some water down a pipe and I was all ready with camera poised and focussed to snap the effect. But I wasn’t ready for the suddenness and force. When it happened I jumped taking a perfect pic purely by nervous reaction. Job done.
The Vino Grifi vineyard was started on top of the 1730-36 lava flows and has been in the same family since 1880. We did a cheap self led tour around, finishing at the bar, of course, for our delicious freeby.
Wednesday 21st October
We thought it would be a great shame if we didn’t take Charly and Tom out for a trip on Zoonie. So despite variable and inaccurate weather forecasts during the week we motored to Playa Cochinas (Spoon beach). As we motored tentatively in watching the water colour for rocks and reefs we unfortunately snagged the fishing line on some rocks. So as soon as the anchor was down Tom and Rob inflated the new dinghy (did Rob take asking twice?) Within minutes they were off, Rob rowing, Tom reeling in the line and Charly and me watching and hoping for success. We wanted that daisy chain lure to catch many more fish before its done.
Safely retrieved and back on board it was time to get into the water. I rooted out the snorkels and flippers, putting them on the main saloon table. I was ready and bikinied in the cockpit when Rob plaintively called (I thought) “Where are my slippers Barb, I can’t find them anywhere and I wanted to try them out?”
“What on earth do you want with your (suede and sheepskin lined) slippers, my love?” I enquired. “Not slippers, flippers!” “Right behind you babe.”
“So what was the course out of the bay Charly?” “125 degrees, the reciprocal of the one we came in on.” Safe as houses.
The weather all week had defied the forecast, if only by its timing, and on the last day of their visit it was supposed to be heavy rain most of the day.
In fact it held off, allowing sunny strolls around pretty Teguise and Cesar’s Tachine home built in the volcanic burst lava bubbles before we dropped them at the airport at 7.00pm along with the car back to Hertz and sped (not our choice) back to the marina by taxi. Opportune it was though because we had just got the bone dry gear back into the fore cabin before the heavens opened. We heard a plane take off around 9.00 but it wasn’t Tom and Charly’s. There’s was delayed by three hours and the incoming ones had to be stacked because the weather made landing impossible!
We so enjoyed their visit and look forward to their very special day in 7 months time.