What was that? and La Palma

20 September 2019

We leave Porto Santo today heading to La Palma, one of the smaller Canary Islands and it will take us 2 days of sailing to get there. It gets as close to perfect sailing as possible. While motoring we take the opportunity to jump into the water.

Later on the wind increases and we do good speed and have no waves to worry about 🙂

Then suddenly …. smackabonk right on the bow …. have we collided with something or what was it?
Water pours over the foredeck, a monster wave! but there are no waves!
Next to the boat, we see a large brown water swirl slip by, several meters in diameter. What has happened? Did we run on a sack of mud? But why the wave over the foredeck?
Jonas checks for water leaks in the front and then we stand scratching our heads. Then suddenly we see a big whale fin waving to us behind the boat, and shortly thereafter a large tail of a whale. It was a whale !!!
We guess that it was asleep in front of us and that we woke it up when we come closer. When it tried to get out of the way, it slapped us with the tail fin and in the excitement, it let go of some poo.
Everything went so fast so, unfortunately, no pictures. But from now on, the mobile should be ready in the cockpit.
Then we have wonderful sailing with fantastic nights. The Milky Way is magically out at sea when the nights are so clear.

La Palma

After two days we arrive at La Palma and choose to enter the nearest port which is the capital of the island, Santa Cruz. Despite the new gate in the entrance, there is still a lot of swell in the harbor that is separated from the city by an almost empty shopping mall. The harbor is well maintained with nice staff, but we did experience the ferry terminal and the seclusion as a rather uncomfortable place to stay on. Santa Cruz is a nice city that feels ”big and international” in some way, despite its smallness. Probably because the shopping street has several brand stores side by side with the local small shops.

Most of the Canary Islands have a green side and a dry side, and it is very clear here at La Palma, although it is greener than many others.

However, Santa Cruz is on the damp green side, and during our week here it is almost always cloudy and humid or rain in the air.

At home in Sweden, the wind changes frequently and can change direction several times during one day. But down here the weather is more stable. Across the Azores, there is usually a high pressure that sends down a humid northeasterly wind towards the Canary Islands. When that wind meets the high islands, it rises, cools, and forms clouds and fog that settles as a damp blanket over the northern and high-lying parts of the islands.

This is most noticeable here on La Palma, which is far west. Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, which are further east, and are lower, receive less of this humid wind and are therefore drier. On the other hand, they get more wind and sand from the Sahara, and therefore Fuerteventura has fantastic white-sand beaches.

At La Palma, on the other hand, it almost feels like one would be in a rainforest,

and a very strange experience is to drive the long tunnel through the mountain that separates the northeastern part of the island, from the southwest. The ”time travel” the locals called it. You often have 20 degrees and rain when you drive in, …

… and 30 degrees and clear blue sky when you come out. And on the contrary, of course, when you go the other way.

Bananas, bananas, bananas! Have never seen such large crops anywhere.

On our car excursions, we take the opportunity to swim in both natural lava pools and fine beaches.

Jonas looks longingly over the sea where there is only water between him and the Caribbean. Soon…

Here you see where we are, the blue dot on the crater’s edge, when …

… we look out over mighty mountains and deep valleys, and if you like to hike, the island must be ideal.

La Palma has a long history with Cuba, and this is evident in their color delight. There is a lot of color on all the islands, but here is a lot.

La Palma has high mountains

very clear fine air and is free from the pollution of light from civilization. In other words, street lights, houses, etc. It is a Mecca for astronomers and therefore there are several observatories and telescopes here, including the world’s largest mirror telescope.

It is forbidden to drive a car up here at night, so as not to pollute the air with its car lights. But there are organized excursions if you want to study the starry sky. We probably have as nice starry skies during our nightly sailing, but it would be interesting to have a knowledgeable astronomer at your side sometimes. So on the next trip here maybe ..

That’s all from ”La Isla Bonita” that the island is also called.

Now on to Gomera

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