Parascending around the bays of Tenerife

In keeping with my ‘Life-on-the Ocean-wave’ (or under the ocean-wave, as the case may be) theme this week, I have decided to do a blog on the pleasures of Parascending -which many people would believe is not for the fainthearted, but let me assure those of you with a little sense of adventure out there that it is completely safe -and undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating and exciting excursions on the island. I first tried my hand at this amazing experience with a handful of friends on the Balearic island of Mallorca -and the results were nothing less than hilarious! At first we were all taken out to a floating platform, a few hundred metres out to sea, where we disembarked our speed-boat, while our ‘captain’ began setting-up the winch, which would be pulling us along behind his boat, before attaching the huge zeppelin-sized umbrella, which would be lifting us into the air with the greatest of ease, before gliding us around the coastal fringes of Magaluf Bay.

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‘Bob-Diving’ -Scuba-diving with a difference!

It was just another normal summers’ day, with baking hot air all around us -and bluer-than-blue skies in every direction, as my children and I ambled along the small promenade at Puerto Colon, all four of us desperately in need of some liquid refreshments -and so we stopped at one of the local bars overlooking the beautiful marina, where our thirsts were soon quenched with pints of ice-cold Coca-Cola. Sitting not too-far away from us was this rather small boat, its minuscule carcass totally engulfed by the glamorous yachts that surrounded it -and yet there was something rather unique about its cargo which made it stand-out above the rest.

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El Hierro Island – ‘The End of the World’

El Hierro, which was formed around 1.2 million years ago, is affectionately known as ‘Isla del Meridiano’ (the ‘Meridian Island’), and it is the smallest and farthest south and west of the Canary Island archipelago. Just like the other Canary Islands El Hierro is mountainous and volcanic, and only one eruption (which lasted around four weeks) has ever been recorded on the island, which came from the Volcan de Lomo Negro vent in 1793. However, at least three major landslides have affected El Hierro in the last few hundred thousand years, the most recent of these was the ‘El Golfo’ landslide that occurred about 15 thousand years ago. The indigenous people are descendants of the ancient Bimbache tribes, who worshipped the sacred garoe evergreen tree, which produces water from its leaves. Before Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas (which was actually an accident, because he was originally sailing in search of a new route to India, when he discovered them -hence he named the islands ‘The West Indies’), the south-western tip of El Hierro was considered to be ‘The end of the world’.

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The ‘Jungle Park’ (Las Aguilas Eagle Park)

‘Las Aguilas (Eagle) Park’ over a decade ago, and I have to say the park has grown in leaps and bounds over the last ten years. I remember the The ‘Birds of Prey Show’ being exceptionally good at the time, with huge eagles gliding through the air with the greatest of ease, and enormous falcons flapping their wings and dive-bombing through the clouds like Kamikaze pilots, before putting-on the breaks and coming to rest on giant gauntlets held by their owners. I was also intrigued by the vultures, with their massive wing-spans -and their indestructible digestive systems, which can apparently devour almost anything on the planet!

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Gran Canaria -The Final Frontier.

Well, this is it -my final write-up on the Seven major Canary Islands, and this one is all about the island of Gran Canaria. Apart from being a part of my amazing 7-island circumnavigation, it is also an island I have had the pleasure of working on for just over one year, and during this time I got to know the island -along with many of its inhabitants, very well indeed. Gran Canaria is actually quite similar in lots of ways to Tenerife, but like all of the islands in this relatively small archipelago, it also maintains a certain individuality that is entirely different from its counterparts. Like all of my previous write-ups I will finish-off this blog -and likewise this chapter on life in the Canary Islands, with a small excerpt from my ‘7-Islands’ travel-journal, which I sincerely hope you will enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing.

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Freewheeling down the highest mountain in Spain!

It was around 15 years ago when the excursion company called ‘Rafting Bikes’ first arrived on the island of Tenerife -and my three children and I were among their first customers. After being collected from our hotel at 2pm in the afternoon the four of us boarded a 15-seated mini-bus. Attached to the back of our vehicle was a long, wrought-iron trailer, fully loaded from front to back with about a dozen mountain bikes. After calling into a few more hotels our bus was packed to bursting with fellow riders, and so we sped-off, heading for the west coast of Tenerife, where we climbed high into the hills, our host for the day, a lovely Dutch lady in her mid-twenties, kindly giving us all an insight into the island, along with an extensive history lesson about Mount Teide -the highest volcano-cum-mountain in Spain.

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Siam Park – The ‘Number One’ Water Park in the World

Summer is here again -and Tenerife is being engulfed with families from all over the world -and where will most of them be heading for…the incredible Siam Park -recently acclaimed as “The Best Water Park in the World”. With rides like the ‘Naga Racer’, a 6-lane slide, where half-a-dozen people race their way down to the bottom, before being catapulted into the safety pool -or the ‘Tower of Power ‘, an almost vertical transparent slide, which turns into a tube at the base, as riders are whizzed through a pool full of man-eating sharks, one can be assured that there will be lots of joyful screaming going on!

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