Day 2 |
Sep 17, 2012

La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain

By Stefan Kredel, Geologist

Co-ordinates: N 28º05'05", W 17º06'31"
Weather: sunny, partly cloudy
Air Temperature: 35°C
Pressure: 1018 hPa
Wind: calm

Yesterday I rejoined the Silver Explorer in the harbor of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This morning I was woken up by maneuvering as we went alongside the pier of San Sebastian at La Gomera. As our maneuver started at 06:00 hundred hours, I decided to get up and have a coffee in the Observation Lounge and watch the city at sunrise. It was beautiful, and the Teide, the main volcano of Tenerife, the neighboring island, was clearly visible. It is the highest mountain in Spain, at just above 3,700 meters above sea level.

This morning we had a 4½-hour tour across the island of La Gomera. In the last weeks there were some serious bush fires, and for that reason we couldn’t do the original planned route. But our local guide promised us an alternative, beautiful and interesting tour. And, as promised, he did! We left the small town of San Sebastian and drove all the way up to the top of the island. As the island is full of canyons carved over time by a lot of rivers, there is no coastal ring road. If someone wants to go from one village at the shoreline to another village at the shoreline, he has to go via the center of the island, and the center of the island is more than 1,000 meters above sea level! Luckily we were in a bus with air-conditioning and not on bicycles as it was a pretty hot day.

We had a couple of nice scenic photo stops and visited a small typical village. We did a small walk in the forest of the national park and visited the botanical gardens of a nice resort, where we were offered some local refreshments.

In 4½ hours we had a nice overview of the island, and it made some of us think afterwards that it may be worth returning to the island for some more time to explore. But we had to leave for our next destination, and so after lunch we set sail for Western Sahara, our next destination.

In the afternoon our onboard botanist HP started the lecture series with his talk about the botany of the Canary Islands.

Afterwards I went to teatime. As I just took my first sip of tea, I heard on the radio someone announcing dolphins. Quickly I went out on deck together with the guests that I had been sitting with, and we saw 2 to 3 dolphins jumping, and then they were off. Wildlife! Always moving.

At 17:00 hundred hours Robin gave us an idea about tomorrow’s plans in Ad Dakhla, Western Sahara. It sounds like an amazing stop with the unique chance to explore the desert. Afterwards, my colleagues and I got a chance to recap for the first time on this voyage. We talked a bit in depth about what we saw today, from all points of interest, including biology, history, ethnology and even geology.

There was not much time to rest, as at 19:00 it was Captain Adam Boczek’s time to welcome our guests aboard and introduce all the senior officers of Silver Explorer. A superb dinner followed.