Volcanoes, Orcas and Water Slides

On the 27th January we left Puerto Mogan anchorage in Gran Canaria and sailed to San Miguel marina, in Tenerife. Nothing particular about this marina, apart from it being quite sheltered from all winds and has minimal swell inside.

The next day we rent a car from our favorite CICAR company, and we got a free upgrade- a shiny red Alfa Romeo Giulietta! Unfortunately, soon enough we understood why this upgrade happened; the car was in terrible mechanical state! The clutch was worn out and the brakes need replacement! Not the best car to drive up to Masca, a magnificent little village in the middle of a gorge, overlooking the ocean. The views were breathtaking and the roads so windy, we almost got carsick! But it was all worth it, being surrounded by huge palm trees, with a bright sun shining through the small stone houses while the mountain peaks overshadowing the village and the many, many tourists.

After a short walk and a coffee shop, we drove to the airport to return the car, and our new car was a great improvement! An Opel Astra turbo! Next morning, bright and early (at 7am!) we began our drive up to the highest mountain in Spain, Mount Teide at 3.718 meters high! The roads were empty, so Jelle could race our new ride and I could admire the unique surroundings, a mix of dry, volcanic hills and in some other parts, green pine trees forests. We saw Roques de Garcia, Llano de Ucanca, and Park Las Canadas and the national park del Teide. It was our coldest day so far, -3 going up! We reached the highest point we could reach with the car, and then we took the cable car almost to the top of Mount Teide, at 3.555 meters! The highest peak we have ever been! The landscape looked like an 80s science fiction movie, with different volcanic hills, craters and mountains, and some ice scattered around. We did a small hike and managed to see the islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma as well as the famous crater “Pico de Viejo”. After our lunch we decided to continue our exploration of Tenerife.

Next visit was to the north-west of Tenerife. Going up to the mountains towards this part, it became evident that an entire different climate exists. Mostly foggy and grey. A very steep and narrow road took us down to Garachico, a town overflooded by lava in 1706. You can still witness the damage and landslides which resulted in natural pools in the ocean. The town is very cute, one of the most beautiful we have seen so far in the Canaries. Next stop was the Los Gigantes and Puerto Santiago, where the weather turned very warm again; 23 degrees! We took the coastal route back to our marina for a well-needed rest.

Wednesday, 30th January we visited the Siam park, the largest aquapark in the Canary islands! We spent the whole day trying all different water roller-coasters, massive waterslides, swimming in large pools with artificial waves and also relaxing in the “Mai Tai river”. Despite its size, it was not busy at all, which meant no waiting lines and also a more relaxed atmosphere. What a great day!

We spent the last day of January with good friends in gorgeous places. We visited Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife, where Karakter were staying. Santa Cruz is a beautiful city, probably the nicest capital so far! Colorful buildings, big parks, and a wide selection of café-bars and restaurants! After a visit to the Santa Cruz marina, the whole MaMaMiJa family (Marije-Madelief-Michiel-Jaap) climbed to our Astra and we drove to the north part of Tenerife, the natural reserve! So much green everywhere, but also very moist, with moss, trees and various plants all around us, it felt like we were driving through an Amazonian forest! We made several stops to take photos and stretch our legs and admire the stunning views. We passed Taganana, Almaciga, Benijo, Las Mercedes and even Cruz del Carmen. Majestic places! We spent the rest of the day in the city and in the Karakter, where we all enjoyed a homemade carbonara! After this long, but exciting day, we drove back to Libra a bit after 11pm!

We started the new month with a lovely drive through the mountains. The sun was shining and the atmosphere was so clear, we could see miles away! We passed via Orotava and ended up near Puerto de Cruz, a touristic city but with our destination: Loro Parque, a zoo. This zoo is different than any other zoo, because besides the common animals-gorillas, monkeys, flamingos, lions- it features many endangered parrot species, and many shows with parrots, sea lions, dolphins and even orcas! The last one was definitely the highlight of our visit there, although the other shows were most entertaining and there was even a penguin planet and an aquarium! Most cool day , and that zoo is undoubtedly worth a visit!

The next two days we spent cleaning the boat, relaxing, working and preparing our next trips. Next island: La Palma!