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30th November, 2019

La Palma

After a calm night trundling southwards at 15kts, the day dawned warm with the north-easterly trade winds as we approached our first Canary Island for this trip: La Palma. Also known as “La Isla Bonita,” La Palma is typified by lush forests of pine, laurel & fern which contrast with the rugged splendour of the spikey black volcanic rock which can be seen exposed on various mountain peaks, peninsulas & coastlines. The Capital – Santa Cruz – situated just a short wander from where we dock, makes for a pleasant day of exploration. 

 Alternatively if you are to head further afield the island is dotted with attractive villages which are a delight to discover. We swung the ship off the harbour entrance at 08:00 and ‘reversed’ back into our berth; the most efficient manoeuvre typically used for this port. In fact, so used to us doing this are the local pilots that they don’t usually bother embarking the ship until we round the breakwater end and commence the swing. Often the pilot strolls onto the bridge for his coffee almost at the same time as we throw our first line ashore. With mooring lines all secured and the gangway ready by 08:30, everyone was free to head ashore at their leisure. For those not content with exploring the local town of Santa Cruz, we offered a vast array of organised trips all over the island today. 

For ramblers, why not take a stroll through UNESCO protected Los Tilos Forest and then onto the coast? For those who want scenery in comfort, there were several options to pick from including a scenic drive to La Hacienda & a silk museum, drives to explore the history & heritage of La Palma, scenic tours around the town and / or the island, off the beaten track adventures and even a volcanic cave exploration. For the foodies and wine-lovers, here was also a tour to Taburiente National Park where one could enjoy tapas & locally grown wine. 

Fancy some exercise instead? Well – we also had a bicycle tour on offer, promising some forest adventures… I decided to take a bicycle trip myself along with our Cruise Composer, Gemma, and after embracing the mountainous roads southward we reached a little spot named La Barqueta, where we were rewarded by a pleasant little beach to enjoy a fresh north Atlantic swim to de-sweat from our ride. The weather was ideal for cycling exploration along with a dip in the sea: partly cloudy and dry, with temperatures in the mid 20’s. 

A later sailing time than normal provided ample time for those who wished to dine ashore in the evening to do so, before we slipped our mooring lines at 22:00 and calmly sailed out of the little harbour eastwards at a gentile speed towards La Palma’s nearby larger neighbour, Tenerife.

Captain Kim Tanner

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.