6pm this morning the volunteers were woken to form the line crew as we approached La Palma harbour. The ship had been on sail for the night and our first job was to hand the remaining sails, we had made good time.
Once in port there was a celebratory breakfast of bacon sandwiches and then the crew were divided, personally as the author of this report I can only report on the crew that decided to take the tour of the island.
We were introduced to our guide for the day Jose, and our driver Jesus. Jose was very informative, especially with the local floral and fauna, we calculated that bananas were mentioned 60 times throughout the day, though this is unsurprising considering they are one of the principle exports of the island. We stopped off at a volcano crater and proceeded to climb the short walk to the rim, very impressive, some of the party decided to walk the full circumference whilst the rest of us were content to walk part way around the rocky path.
From there we drove further inland and stopped at El Paso for lunch, very good food,and a chance for a fortifying glass of wine. Jose kept us in good time so lingering over further wine and food was curtailed and we headed for El Caldero, the largest volcanic crater and creator of the island. We left the coach and walked down a marked path to an observation point, Jose pointed out the local geoglogical structures of this incredibly stunning area. Astounding craggs, huge mountains and sheer drops surrounded us, it was simply breathtaking. However he did point out how incredibly fragile the surroundings were demonstrated by the flakey rock walls and minor pebble falls.After we took in the view, we made our way back to the coach, Jose joked between banana stories about the drivers driving abilities on the hairpin bends which we all accepted as humour, ahem.
A short stop at the volcano discovery centre and we arrived back at the ship, to a marvellous dinner. The rest of the crew will have their own story for today but this was ours. As I type this, some of the crew are readying for shore whilst the rest of us relax in the lower mess, ready for watches, tomorrows sailing ....and bed.
Mark AFT STB