Feb 222011

Day 17 (February 18, 2011)

Itinerary: Breakfast in the hotel, get caught up on journal entries, whale watching cruise, continue to catch up on journal entries, walk along the shore for sunset and find dinner

Today is our last full day in the Canary Islands. Tomorrow we are off to Barcelona for a few days, then to Marseille for a day before I go back to the US and Mark goes back to Algeria. We plan on catching a soccer game in Barcelona while we are there and I hear their team is one of the most popular teams in the world.

Breakfast in the hotel similar to how a cruise ship breakfast must be like. There was a huge buffet and it felt like hordes of people were busy grabbing as much food as possible. We are by far the youngest guests at this hotel by at least 30 years. We both brought our wifi-enabled devices down to breakfast to use the free wifi available only on the first floor.

The morning was rather lazy. We packed up the computer and walked along the shore line to find a sunny bench to sit on. The people watching here is excellent, but I was most concerned with getting caught up with my journal. At this point I hadn’t typed up an entry since Feb. 14th and it was hard to remember what all we did way back then.

The hotel was very helpful and booked us a 1pm whale watching cruise out of the port a short walk away, so we grabbed some ice cream to snack on as we waited for our cruise. I had probably the best mango ice cream I’ve ever had. Mmmm, yummy.

The 2 hour cruise was just long enough. Apparently the waters between Tenerife and La Gomera (only separated by 25 nautical miles) are home to the short finned pilot whales year round. These pilot whales are small and can reach up to 6 meters in length. We found quite a few and very quickly. They sat on the surface and watched us while we watched them. From the parts we could see, they almost looked like large, black, dolphins. The boat’s two catamarans were glass-lined to make viewing under the ocean easy. We could go downstairs and sit to watch the whales under the surface of the water when they were next to the boat. I haven’t seen this model of glass-bottomed boat before.

When we got tired of the pilot whales, we motored off in search of dolphins and found some near some sea bass farms located off several cliffs. The dolphins were very playful and even did a few leaps in the air to show off.

Our boat traveled fairly slowly since we didn’t have to go very far off shore to find the mammals, so we had a very pleasant and calm ride. The sun was out and with the breeze the weather was about perfect.

After lunch on the boardwalk, we took our afternoon siesta on our porch back at the hotel in the sun. Mark and I both draped towels over our face to keep the sun out and we looked rather silly. But it made for a more pleasant napping experience out in the sun.

After a while, it was time to be productive and I finally caught up on the journal entries. Tonight we’ll go downstairs and post them. Our sunset walk was crowded with people. The kids were out digging holes in the sand, several people were zooming around on comfort bikes, and everyone else was out walking. We went down to the water’s edge and found that the beach was completely clear of shells and seaweed and jellyfish. There was only sand and water. The waves were making tiny rivelets in the sand as the tide went out creating interesting patterns and the sunset was casting colorful reflections in the water and the wet sand. We just stood and watched the waves for a bit.

We found a peaceful location for dinner and then realized that just next door was a Mexican food place with fajitas and everything. Maybe we’ll find a spot in Barcelona. On our walk back to the hotel I remembered several things I meant to blog about last night.

Several beach-side entrepreneurs were making sand sculptures of mermaids, sharks, and dragons that looked pretty neat. The dragon even had a candle placed in it’s mouth to breathe fire. We also found our first sand castle ghost. There was a sand castle made of cardboard with a man covered in a white sheet inside. He said, “OooooooOOOO, I am the ghost of Canaria.” His ghost-like sounds sounded more like a wolf’s howl than a ghost at some points, but we were amused to the point of laughter.

Tomorrow is a travel day as we take the bus to the North Tenerife airport and then fly back to Barcelona. We are staying in that same “hotel in the sky” on top of the train station we were in before.

I’m posting quickly again, so no photos. They are still on the memory card.

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