Sunday, September 25, 2011

Holiday in the North

We first drove to Masca, which has very winding roads,( not advisable to take this road if you have a hangover or have had a particularly large breakfast though ! ). The views from Masca are spectacular. Masca is a tiny mountain village perched on rocks with fantastic views of the sea .

Our next stop was Buenavista del Norte on the coast where we watched some amazing boogie boarders . Then had lunch on the edge of the ocean in a wonderful restaurant 'El Burgado' which was recommended by friends of ours who are travel writers link.

Boogie boarder at Buenavista

Restaurant 'El Burgado'

Our first couple of nights was spent in Puerto del la Cruz 'las Aquillas Hotel" which is a very reasonable priced hotel you get a one bedroom appartment with Jacuzzi and sea view for 140 euros for two nights half board. The breakfast is huge , it normally lasts us all day until the evening meal..

Puerto del La Cruz has amazing restaurants one night we eat at 'Mil Sabores' the meal came to 120 euros for four , but the standard of the cusine is so high. in London you would pay double for this kind of standard of cooking. The Chef in this restaurant is an artist his food not only tastes amazing but the presentation is beautiful..

Unfortunately I fell off my bike when we went cycling at our next stop 'La Esperanza' it was raining though !, but slamming on the brakes when going down a wet slope was probably not the best decision I have made lately. I basically flew over the handle bars and on my nose and ribs !. I managed to get back to the car , very slowly. I had completely bent my left brake but surprisingly it still worked.

Me at the start of our bike ride before I was covered in dirt..!

When I got back to the car my nose was starting to throb, so I went into a restaurant to ask for some ice for my nose but due to being a bit 'out of it', I forgot the word for 'ice' (helo in spanish) and asked the barman for 'helado' icecream instead. The barman then responded in a confused tone and said "What flavour, vanilla"? . I was by this time getting some funny looks from customers. I soon discovered why, when I went to the bathroom. I looked like someone who had been living in the wilds of the forest for a month. I was covered in dirt from head to toe..!

After lunch in La Esperenza and copious amounts of ice applied to my expanding nose, we made our way to the 'Parador Hotel' Mount Teide. The Parador is a fantastic place to stay to watch the sun go down and experience the silence and of course the rocky, moonscape, vista is incredible.

The evening meal at the Parador was excellant. The first course Richard had sardines with sweet red peppers and salad and I had a pan fried smoked cheese. main course Richard had goat stew in maderia and I had filets of pork in a mustard sauce, yummy !

View out of our window at The Parador late afternoon

Before sunset

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

New Toys :-)

Just had my birthday ... don't ask how old I am ... I'll just say that I'm well old enough to justify a mid-life-crisis style impulse purchase (or two) ... And no, it's not a Harley / leather jacket / topey (how on earth do you spell that word ? the checker comes up with 'ropey. dopey, to pee etc) ....

And here it is ...

It's a full suspension Marin cross country machine: Rift Zone Quad XCR7. Bought it from the excellent bike shop that we have here in El Medano: Bike Point (check em out)

I put those combination clip / no clip pedals on it (Shimano SPDs) so I can ride with 'proper' biking shoes or nip down to the beach with flip flops.

And the other new toy ? well, not quite so impulse or mid-life-crisis style but a beautifully elegant bit of design - it's this bike rack for our new Opel Corsa. It's actually integrated into the boot of the car and pushes back when not need. You can check out just how cool the design is (sorry, but it just is) in this little video:

So anyway, new toys ... and as you can see ... no topay ("copay, to pay" etc):

Wow what a bike ! Took it for a spin around my usual coastal circuit (Palm Mar - Faro de Rasca - Las Galletas) and did the ride about 15 minutes quicker, with hardly any stops and 25% less effort !

Here's a last pic of my old bike (Specialized hard tail) taken by my biking friend Anna, on a recent downhill ride. If you click on the pic and look closely you can just about make out the summit of Mt Teide in the background. It was taken near the start of the ride at around about 1200 meters and we descended to 800 ms on wonderful single track through the forest and saw hardly anybody else the whole ride. Definitely looking forward to doing that route again on the Marin :-)

Barelling, Mast Breaking South Swell

Hah umm yup, last Monday was quite 'interesting' ... I broke a mast in fact

We had a very unusual big long period south swell which lasted for three days with Monday being the peak. We usually only get this in the winter, and then only with wind from the right (Wly low pressure storm wind). As these pics show, the beach break at La Tajita (next beach around the corner from Medano) was massive, and I also heard tales of a freak monster 10m wave breaking over the port in St. Cruz.

The tide was also extremely high, with HT around 2pm, so this meant that I sailed most of the day in the south bay with a late afternoon session planned for the harbour wall (works best at mid tide). Looking up to the harbour - about 1 km away, the waves were breaking a long way out and then chaotic reformed white water was smashing against the wall (about 4m high) with spray flying high above it

The high tide beach break waves in the south bay were big and powerful, but not as clean as the winter version. Wind from the right is cross off and the south swell waves then peel right nicely, whereas with the normal summer trade wind from the left, these south swell waves were closing out instead of peeling left as per the normal wind swell waves. You had to be patient as the wind was quite light and gusty - I was on my 5.2m and 84l Mistral twin, and the sets were only coming maybe every three minutes, but anyway I did eventually manage get some fairly nice rides on head high + waves.

Around about 5pm I was fairly knackered but determined to check out El Muelle, so sailed up. I had just got there and was waiting for a set while sailing in my normal line up spot (first big mistake). Coming in, not on a wave and looking upwind (to my right, next mistake) I must have arrived at the exact spot where the south swell sets were detonating as without warning (well I would have had a warning if I'd been looking to the left, where they were coming from ) I got picked up, went into free fall, and got hurled over the falls.

Definitely the worst wipeout I've had here ... I was getting churned around underwater for ages, had the boom instantly ripped out of my hands, and then had to swim to the kit and luckily got to it just before it was all smashed up against the wall. So just a broken mast, torn luff tube and a long swim back. Unfortunately I didn't get the reward of at least riding the wave that destroyed my mast, and also the frustration of getting completely tangled up with the moorings of the boats in the harbour. At one point I was thinking of leaving the sail and boom on this fishing boat, paddling the board in and coming back later to get the rig. Anyway eventually got back to the beach with a lift from the bomberos' jet ski for the last few hundred meters - they couldn't get anywhere near the beach though, as there were still overhead beach break waves with loads of surfers on them.

ps many thanks to local windsurfer Ernst for lending me his spare mast.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

'Window to the Sea'

Tried out the Underwater Pentax W90 in the sea , it wasn't clear enough to photograph anything under the water so I just took some waves that were coming towards me, then played around with the HDR toning, etc..