Thursday, 27 January 2011

Heading home / sea sick

I was going to spend my time on the ferry back to Tenerife working on photos from my exploration of the coastline yesterday. In the event, however, the seas are a little choppier than I'd anticipated so I'm just staring at the horizon and keeping my stomach in check. We're in the lee of La Gomera now, mid-point of the crossing, and even though the seas are calmer here just typing this is challenging!

I'll post again from the comfort of dry land if I find some wifi later on...

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Twisty trees

OK, getting away from the subject of clouds today. Actually not - lots of storm blowing through, so I spent a bit of time and thought finding somewhere not lost in cloud or subject to heavy rain. Driving to the far West end of the island to meet the incoming weather head on worked out - not least because I could see the rain approaching and take shelter.

I spent a very windy hour exploring El Sabinar, refuge to a scattering of wind-twisted junipers. Paradoxically they all lean into the storm winds, finding that this the best way to refuse uprooting. These specimens have been here for centuries, so they're doing something right.

A magnificently gnarled juniper, emblem of El Hierro

On my drive back over the top of the island the gusts of wind were strong enough to shake the car. I apparently wasn't the only one feeling the effects - back at my hotel I learned that today's inter-island ferry was canceled (too windy to dock). Fingers crossed for Thursday...

PS If anyone does read these blog posts please post a comment and say so, I sometimes wander whether I'm just talking to myself!

Monday, 24 January 2011

The clouds part

Will all my Canary Island blog posts focus on clouds?

I came back from breakfast this morning to be greeted by a view of the neighbouring island of La Gomera, a view that Lonely Planet claims can only be experienced "on a rare clear day". Thinking that the peak of the island might be free of its hitherto permanent bank of cloud I jumped in the car and set off upwards post haste.

My hunch paid off and I took full advantage, touring the high lookouts. I took a walk through the (cloudless) cloud forest, dripping with moss, and then returned to the cliff edge for the big views. Just after I got there the wind seemed to change direction and started to blow in towards me from the North. Clouds started to form below me as the warm air hit the cliff and began to rise, and within ten minutes I was lost in cloud, the views gone for the day. Glad I got up there when I did!

Clouds form in El Golfo

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Clouds make the sky look more interesting

Clouds make the sky look more interesting - that's what I tell myself, anyway. The weather is changable in the Canary Islands during winter, and no-where more so than on little El Hierro, first in line as it is for the Atlantic squalls. It's been giving me some good practice at capturing clouds at their best.

Today I hiked up a few kilometers into the mountains from my hotel in search of Arbal Santo Garoe, the sacred tree of the Bimbache. Technically it's the site of said tree, as the original was blown down in a storm circa 1600, but they planted a new one in 1949 and I thought that as good a goal as any.

The clouds scudded by as I climbed, rewarding me with a big burst of sunshine when, after a few wrong turns, I finally found The Sacred Tree. I had time to grab a few shots of the view and then, as I paid my respects to The Tree itself, the cloud rolled in and enveloped me. Most of the walk down was in (and then under) cloud/rain, but I'd found The Tree so that was fine.

Today's weather was wetter than the last couple of days - I caught a good bit of tan yesterday whilst exploring the volcanic wastes in the North West - but clouds have been a feature every day. Keeping to my cloud-based theme here's one typical shot from each day so far.

PS Sorry for not blogging earlier, internet access is somewhat erratic out here

View down to the sea from Arbal Santo Garoe: The Sacred Tree

Shafts of light pierce the clouds at Mirador de la Pena

Rain rolling in as the sun sets, taken from the coast road high above Playa del Verodal