Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The quality of tarmac

Last day. With clear skies we went back up to see the huge crater of Teide where we had first stood wide-eyed fifteen years ago. The natural landscape hasn't changed as far as we are concerned but the getting there, and the being there, have been smoothed out. The roads which were once rumbly and patchy (due no doubt to the extreme heat in summer) are now padded with a new style of tarmac, which is laid in a thick blanket several inches thick. It makes for a superb quiet ride but presents drivers with an alarming option all along - a drop for the outer wheels should you stray or be pushed off the top. This makes it impossible to pull off the road at random, and anyone wanting to stop must use the designated areas or lay-byes which are subsequently crowded and the immediate environs are despoiled, trodden, even have litter blowing about.  Paul told us, this new surface withstands the blistering heat of summer but fails in frost or rain. Win some, lose some.
We went north to Puerto de la Cruz for a late lunch - in a not very good place on the beach - a shame for our last meal out, but the black sand and the white breakers on the shining blue sea were gorgeous to behold. There is a Playa Jardin there, with stylish greenery in a park right behind the sea's edge - pleasant and cool. Had we ventured further along to the old port area we would have found few cafes but a sense of reality, instead of the pounding music, indifferent waiter service (wrong food brought), lack of love, which we had endured by the beach.
Back in the evening, to finish up the food we'd been accumulating in our s/c apartment - small amounts of toasted black bread, garlicky fried onions, some brought-home pulpo from the night before, gazpacho, avocado, some cheese, salad, fruit, a little feast as it happened. I had wanted to have our last meal at la Caleta but this store needed eating and it was all SO much nicer than the lunch. Tough mussels!!!!
Now here we are at la Caleta for our last coffee, overlooking the tiny rocky bay, with swimmers on the rocks. Our luggage is in the car, we'll be flying home in about 4 hours.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Whales

Out in the bay, where the depth if the seabed changes from about 700m to about 1000 or 1200m, there live giant squid, which can reach 10-15m in length. The tentacles of some of these monsters are longer than a man is tall. These are the favourite food of whales, and so in the bay, about a mile out to sea, it is almost certain that you will find pods of these attractive mammals cruising around over their feasting grounds.  At night a big male will go down and harry the beasts up, and nearer the surface the females and the young will wait. In daylight, they coast around quite near the surface - one half of their brain asleep, the other keeping them swimming safely, and they can soak up some sun too.
In our touristy catamaran - (104 pasajeros, 6 tripulantes max) there were about 20 of us, so plenty of space to move around, seek sun or shade, lie down, look overboard. The whales we saw were short fin pilot whales, not so huge, but with beguiling hooked dorsal fins and a smooth easy shiny black movement in the water, occasionally breaching, mostly just drifting about, and quite unconcerned that we came so close.
Later, further up the coast we saw bottle nose dolphins hard at work making fish-balls of sardines, and dashing through them to feast, attracting the birds which dived into the mass. The tripulantes said all this was going on - what we actually saw were two or three flashes of muscular movement in the swirling water.
Above us rose the stupefying cliffs called los Gigantes - mostly black, stratified, laced with awe-inspiring vertical rock chimneys or columns of matter which had at some ancient date forced themselves up through 600m of pancaked solid rock, emerging as spiky needles at the summit... Or rather, revealed now as the other rocks have worn away. There are silent stories locked up in the patterns of the layers - some which appeared to achieve level smoothness and horizontality, with a perfectly flat upper surface - only to be buried (I imagine gleefully) by hundreds of subsequent jagged layers of a different kind of rock, which time and time and time again asserted its right to be bumpy and unlevel.
How did these cliffs form? Was it while the mountain was erupting? Did a whole massive section fall away like a slab of crumbling cake? The surface doesn't look sea-worn.
Back in dock, we walked up the hotel, stopping for an icecream and glass.of wine (half a pint!!!!), and we were chatted up by a six-and-a-half-year-old Essex girl called Sky, whose neighbours had brought her away for a week's holiday. She was clever, engaging and no doubt in five or six more years time will be running British Airways.
We met Paul for supper, talking about life on the island and some more of his anecdotes of life in the Royal Navy. I hope he writes his memoirs.  Today is our last day - we are deciding how to spend it. Will the mountain be draped in mists again as it has been most days? The mornings start so clear, deceptively.





Whales

Where the rock changes from about 700m depth to about 1000 or 1200m, there live giant squid, which can read 10-15m in length. The tentacles of some of these monsters are longer than a man is tall. These are the favourite food of whales, and so in the bay, about a mile out to sea, it is almost certain that you will find pods of these attractive mammals cruising around over their feasting grounds.  At night a big male will go down and harry the beasts up, and nearer the surface the females and the young will wait. In daylight, they coast around quite near the surface - one half of their brain asleep, the other keeping them swimming safely, and they can soak up some sun too.
In our touristy catamaran - (104 pasajeros, 6 tripulantes max) there were about 20 of us, so plenty of space to move around, seek sun or shade, lie down, look overboard. The whales we saw were short fin pilot whales, not so huge, but with beguiling hooked dorsal fins and a smooth easy shiny black movement in the water, occasionally breaching, mostly just drifting about, and quite unconcerned that we came so close.
Later, further up the coast we saw bottle nose dolphins hard at work making fish-balls of sardines, and dashing through them to feast, attracting the birds which dived into the mass. The tripulantes said all this was going on - what we actually saw were two or three flashes of muscular movement in the swirling water.
Above us rose the stupefying cliffs called los Gigantes - mostly black, stratified, laced with awe-inspiring vertical rock chimneys or columns of matter which had at some ancient date forced themselves up through 600m of pancaked solid rock, emerging as spiky needles at the summit... Or rather, revealed now as the other rocks have worn away. There are silent stories locked up in the patterns of the layers - some which appeared to achieve level smoothness and horizontality, with a perfectly flat upper surface - only to be buried (I imagine gleefully) by hundreds of subsequent jagged layers of a different kind of rock, which time and time and time again asserted its right to be bumpy and unlevel.
How did these cliffs form? Was it while the mountain was erupting? Did a whole massive section fall away like a slab of crumbling cake? The surface doesn't look seaworn.
Back in dock, we walked up the hotel, stopping for an icecream and glass.of wine (half a pint!!!!), and we were chatted up by a six-and-a-half-year-old Essex girl called Sky, whose neighbours had brought her away for a week's holiday. She was clever, engaging and no doubt in five or six more years time will be running British Airways.
We met Paul for supper, talking about life on the island and some more of his anecdotes of life in the Royal Navy. I hope he writes his memoirs.  Today is our last day - we are deciding how to spend it. Will the mountain be draped in mists again as it has been most days? The mornings start so clear, deceptively.





Whales

Where the rock changes from about 700m depth to about 1000 or 1200m, there live giant squid, which can read 10-15m in length. The tentacles of some of these monsters are longer than a man is tall. These are the favourite food of whales, and so in the bay, about a mile out to sea, it is almost certain that you will find pods of these attractive mammals cruising around over their feasting grounds.  At night a big male will go down and harry the beasts up, and nearer the surface the females and the young will wait. In daylight, they coast around quite near the surface - one half of their brain asleep, the other keeping them swimming safely, and they can soak up some sun too.
In our touristy catamaran - (104 pasajeros, 6 tripulantes max) there were about 20 of us, so plenty of space to move around, seek sun or shade, lie down, look overboard. The whales we saw were short fin pilot whales, not so huge, but with beguiling hooked dorsal fins and a smooth easy shiny black movement in the water, occasionally breaching, mostly just drifting about, and quite unconcerned that we came so close.
Later, further up the coast we saw bottle nose dolphins hard at work making fish-balls of sardines, and dashing through them to feast, attracting the birds which dived into the mass. The tripulantes said all this was going on - what we actually saw were two or three flashes of muscular movement in the swirling water.
Above us rose the stupefying cliffs called los Gigantes - mostly black, stratified, laced with awe-inspiring vertical rock chimneys or columns of matter which had at some ancient date forced themselves up through 600m of pancaked solid rock, emerging as spiky needles at the summit... Or rather, revealed now as the other rocks have worn away. There are silent stories locked up in the patterns of the layers - some which appeared to achieve level smoothness and horizontality, with a perfectly smooth and level upper surface - only to be buried (I imagine gleefully) by hundreds of subsequent jagged layers of a different kind of rock, which time and time and time again asserted its right to be bumpy and unlevel.
How did these cliffs form? Was it while the mountain was erupting? Did a whole massive section fall away like a slab of crumbling cake? The surface doesn't look seaworn.
Back in dock, we walked up the hotel, stopping for an icecream and glass.of wine (half a pint!!!!), and we were chatted up by a six-and-a-half-year-old Essex girl called Sky, whose neighbours had brought her away for a week's holiday. She was clever, engaging and no doubt in five or six more years time will be running British Airways.
We met Paul for supper, talking about life on the island and some more of his anecdotes of life in the Royal Navy. I hope he writes his memoirs.  Today is our last day - we are deciding how to spend it. Will the mountain be draped in mists again as it has been most days? The mornings start so clear, deceptively.






Whales

Where the rock changes from about 700m depth to about 1000 or 1200m, there live giant squid, which can read 10-15m in length. The tentacles of some of these monsters are longer than a man is tall. These are the favourite food of whales, and so in the bay, about a mile out to sea, it is almost certain that you will find pods of these attractive mammals cruising around over their feasting grounds.  At night a big male will go down and harry the beasts up, and nearer the surface the females and the young will wait. In daylight, they coast around quite near the surface - one half of their brain asleep, the other keeping them swimming safely, and they can soak up some sun too.
In our touristy catamaran - (104 pasajeros, 6 tripulantes max) there were about 20 of us, so plenty of space to move around, seek sun or shade, lie down, look overboard. The whales we saw were short fin pilot whales, not so huge, but with beguiling hooked dorsal fins and a smooth easy shiny black movement in the water, occasionally breaching, mostly just drifting about, and quite unconcerned that we came so close.
Later, further up the coast we saw bottle nose dolphins hard at work making fish-balls of sardines, and dashing through them to feast, attracting the birds which dived into the mass. The tripulantes said all this was going on - what we actually saw were two or three flashes of muscular movement in the swirling water.
Above us rose the stupefying cliffs called los Gigantes - mostly black, stratified, laced with awe-inspiring vertical rock chimneys or columns of matter which had at some ancient date forced themselves up through 600m of pancaked solid rock, emerging as spiky needles at the summit... Or rather, revealed now as the other rocks have worn away. There are silent stories locked up in the patterns of the layers - some which appeared to achieve level smoothness and horizontality, with a perfectly smooth and level upper surface - only to be buried (I imagine gleefully) by hundreds of subsequent jagged layers of a different kind of rock, which time and time and time again asserted its right to be bumpy and unlevel.
How did these cliffs form? Was it while the mountain was erupting? Did a whole massive section fall away like a slab of crumbling cake? The surface doesn't look seaworn.
Back in dock, we walked up the hotel, stopping for an icecream and glass.of wine (half a pint!!!!), and we were chatted up by a six-and-a-half-year-old Essex girl called Sky, whose neighbours had brought her away for a week's holiday. She was clever, engaging and no doubt in five or six more years time will be running British Airways.
We met Paul for supper, talking about life on the island and some more of his anecdotes of life in the Royal Navy. I hope he writes his memoirs.  Today is our last day - we are deciding how to spend it. Will the mountain be draped in mists again as it has been most days? The mornings start so clear, deceptively.






Whales

Where the rock changes from about 700m depth to about 1000 or 1200m, there live giant squid, which can read 10-15m in length. The tentacles of some of these monsters are longer than a man is tall. These are the favourite food of whales, and so in the bay, about a mile out to sea, it is almost certain that you will find pods of these attractive mammals cruising around over their feasting grounds.  At night a big male will go down and harry the beasts up, and nearer the surface the females and the young will wait. In daylight, they coast around quite near the surface - one half of their brain asleep, the other keeping them swimming safely, and they can soak up some sun too.
In our touristy catamaran - (104 pasajeros, 6 tripulantes max) there were about 20 of us, so plenty of space to move around, seek sun or shade, lie down, look overboard. The whales we saw were short fin pilot whales, not so huge, but with beguiling hooked dorsal fins and a smooth easy shiny black movement in the water, occasionally breaching, mostly just drifting about, and quite unconcerned that we came so close.
Later, further up the coast we saw bottle nose dolphins hard at work making fish-balls of sardines, and dashing through them to feast, attracting the birds which dived into the mass. The tripulantes said all this was going on - what we actually saw were two or three flashes of muscular movement in the swirling water.
Above us rose the stupefying cliffs called los Gigantes - mostly black, stratified, laced with awe-inspiring vertical rock chimneys or columns of matter which had at some ancient date forced themselves up through 600m of pancaked solid rock, emerging as spiky needles at the summit... Or rather, revealed now as the other rocks have worn away. There are silent stories locked up in the patterns of the layers - some which appeared to achieve level smoothness and horizontality, with a perfectly smooth and level upper surface - only to be buried (I imagine gleefully) by hundreds of subsequent jagged layers of a different kind of rock, which time and time and time again asserted its right to be bumpy and unlevel.
How did these cliffs form? Was it while the mountain was erupting? Did a whole massive section fall away like a slab of crumbling cake? The surface doesn't look seaworn.
Back in dock, we walked up the hotel, stopping for an icecream and glass.of wine (half a pint!!!!), and we were chatted up by a six-and-a-half-year-old Essex girl called Sky, whose neighbours had brought her away for a week's holiday. She was clever, engaging and no doubt in five or six more years time will be running British Airways.
We met Paul for supper, talking about life on the island and some more of his anecdotes of life in the Royal Navy. I hope he writes his memoirs.  Today is our last day - we are deciding how to spend it. Will the mountain be draped in mists again as it has been most days? The mornings start so clear, deceptively.






Whales

Where the rock changes from about 700m depth to about 1000 or 1200m, there live giant squid, which can read 10-15m in length. The tentacles of some of these monsters are longer than a man is tall. These are the favourite food of whales, and so in the bay, about a mile out to sea, it is almost certain that you will find pods of these attractive mammals cruising around over their feasting grounds.  At night a big male will go down and harry the beasts up, and nearer the surface the females and the young will wait. In daylight, they coast around quite near the surface - one half of their brain asleep, the other keeping them swimming safely, and they can soak up some sun too.
In our touristy catamaran - (104 pasajeros, 6 tripulantes max) there were about 20 of us, so plenty of space to move around, seek sun or shade, lie down, look overboard. The whales we saw were short fin pilot whales, not so huge, but with beguiling hooked dorsal fins and a smooth easy shiny black movement in the water, occasionally breaching, mostly just drifting about, and quite unconcerned that we came so close.
Later, further up the coast we saw bottle nose dolphins hard at work making fish-balls of sardines, and dashing through them to feast, attracting the birds which dived into the mass. The tripulantes said all this was going on - what we actually saw were two or three flashes of muscular movement in the swirling water.
Above us rose the stupefying cliffs called los Gigantes - mostly black, stratified, laced with awe-inspiring vertical rock chimneys or columns of matter which had at some ancient date forced themselves up through 600m of pancaked solid rock, emerging as spiky needles at the summit... Or rather, revealed now as the other rocks have worn away. There are silent stories locked up in the patterns of the layers - some which appeared to achieve level smoothness and horizontality, with a perfectly smooth and level upper surface - only to be buried (I imagine gleefully) by hundreds of subsequent jagged layers of a different kind of rock, which time and time and time again asserted its right to be bumpy and unlevel.
How did these cliffs form? Was it while the mountain was erupting? Did a whole massive section fall away like a slab of crumbling cake? The surface doesn't look seaworn.
Back in dock, we walked up the hotel, stopping for an icecream and glass.of wine (half a pint!!!!), and we were chatted up by a six-and-a-half-year-old Essex girl called Sky, whose neighbours had brought her away for a week's holiday. She was clever, engaging and no doubt in five or six more years time will be running British Airways.
We met Paul for supper, talking about life on the island and some more of his anecdotes of life in the Royal Navy. I hope he writes his memoirs.  Today is our last day - we are deciding how to spend it. Will the mountain be draped in mists again as it has been most days? The mornings start so clear, deceptively.