After a day at sea crossing the Straight of Gibraltar we were looking forward to exploring Tenerife. We had booked a tour to La Laguna a little town inland from the Port of Santa Cruz. We were also going to do a wine tasting and visit the wine museum. It wasn’t the best looking day weather wise but with my eternal optimism I thought it would clear up. As I came down the stairs from the gym I heard one of the ship’s officers on the phone and he was saying something about all tours being cancelled. I mentioned it to Steve but thought I may have misheard so we continued to get ready as if everything was on track.
As we were going to breakfast they announced over the loud speaker that the Government had in fact cancelled all tours on the island that day. They didn’t give any explanation so we were a bit disappointed and cursed the Spanish Government. The weather at this stage was still a bit bleak but looked to be clearing. We decided to go ashore anyway and explore the town – although overcast it never rained again all day. Steve had overheard some people saying that apparently the roads on the island were not that good and with all the rain they were too dangerous for the tours to proceed. I had a look on the internet and there was an article about the deluge of rain the island was expecting overnight which didn’t quite materialise. The Government obviously cancelled the tours based on the original forecast which did sound quite dire.
Update on the cancelled tour scenario – we watched the Q & A session with the ship’s Captain yesterday and he said about a month ago two cruise ship passengers died on the island as a result of bad weather so perhaps we can understand their conservatism : )
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital (jointly with Las Palmas) of the Canary Islands, the capital of Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and the island of Tenerife. Santa Cruz has a population of 206,593 within its administrative limits. The urban zone of Santa Cruz extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 507,306. This is the main city on the island of Tenerife with a population of nearly 1 million.
Located in northeast quadrant of Tenerife, about 210 kilometres (130 mi) off the northwestern coast of Africa within the Atlantic Ocean. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands, when a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains at present. The port is of great importance and is the communications hub between Europe, Africa and Americas, with cruise ships arriving from many nations. The city is the focus for domestic and inter-island communications in the Canary Islands.
The city is home to the Parliament of the Canary Islands, the Canarian Ministry of the Presidency (shared on a four-year cycle with Las Palmas), one half of the Ministries and Boards of the Canarian Government, (the other half being located in Gran Canaria), the Tenerife Provincial Courts and two courts of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands. There are several faculties of the La Laguna University in Santa Cruz, including the Fine Arts School and the Naval Sciences Faculty. Its harbour is one of Spain’s busiest; it comprises three sectors. It is important for commercial and passenger traffic, as well as for being a major stopover for cruisers en route from Europe to the Caribbean.
In 2012, the British newspaper “The Guardian” included Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the list of the five best places in the world to live along with the north coast of Maui, Hawaii; Sankt Paulidistrict in Hamburg; Cihangir district in Istanbul, and Portland, Oregon (United States).
The Canary Islands, are a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of the southern border of Morocco. The Canaries are one of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities and are among the outermost region of the European Union proper. The islands include (from largest to smallest): Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, La Graciosa, Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara and Roque del Oeste.
The archipelago’s beaches, climate and important natural attractions, especially Maspalomas in Gran Canaria and Teide National Park and Mount Teide (a World Heritage Site) in Tenerife (the third tallest volcano in the world measured from its base on the ocean floor), make it a major tourist destination with over 12 million visitors per year, especially Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. The islands have a subtropical climate, with long warm summers and moderately warm winters. Due to their location above the temperature inversion layer, the high mountains of these islands are ideal for astronomical observation. For this reason, two professional observatories, Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, have been built on the islands.
During the times of the Spanish Empire the Canaries were the main stopover for Spanish galleons on their way to the Americas because of the prevailing winds from the northeast.