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24th December, 2013

Arrecife, Lanzarote.

Our pilot came up to the bridge with a beaming smile and a ‘Welcome back Capitan Philippe’ pronounced in a very Spanish way. He has never forgotten the time I went alongside there on Christmas day 1995 when all the bridge team wore Santa hats and the officer in charge on the foc’stle wore the full outfit.

The weather was perfect, pleasantly warm with just a gentle breeze, surprisingly so because the breeze normally picks up during the day in Lanzarote and it was a lunchtime arrival. With Christmas fast approaching and our office ashore closing down for the holiday I took the opportunity to take a new tour, ‘El Cuervo Volcano Trek’. I would say that it was more of a stroll than a trek, but most interesting, clambering around on the black pebbly surface and down into the inside of the ‘Ravens Boiler’ (so named perhaps because in the heat of the summer it can boil a raven?). Virtually nothing grows in this area of numerous volcanoes thrown up in the last activity a few hundred years ago, except for lichens that have slowly started to appear in areas that manage to catch some humidity during the night and are sheltered at least for some of time from the sun’s heat.

What farmers have managed to grow are vines, not in the normal way, but ground hugging and in hollows dug down through the lava ash to soil lying up to three meters below the surface. Huge areas are covered with these ‘bowls’ and we had a brief visit to a small Bodega to taste their production of dry and sweet wine. An acquired taste I would say, but the sweet wine, for me at least, was quite palatable. A short visit to a popular lookout on the coast where lava had at the time of the activity ran into the sea.  On our return to the ship we stopped briefly in a village that had constructed a nativity in the main square. An impressive structure about ten meters long that was meant to look like the island in miniature, complete with black soil, volcanoes, typical houses and over scaled little people. A certain degree of artistic license perhaps, but I was impressed by the obvious enthusiasm of the model makers. 

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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.