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24th November, 2016

Mystery Cruise. Port 8

Two days at sea and the temperature gradually cooled, as we approached our 8th port there was a chill in the air. It was still around 17 degrees however, and the bright lights on the port side were probably a giveaway to our regulars, if they were actually up and about that is. The sun was only just above the horizon as we finished docking, rising above Las Palmas, which meant we must be in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The tour took us up into the mountains and along the winding roads within the Esperanza Forest, very scenic with occasional views through clouds towards Mount Teide. Descending, we headed down towards the south east coast and stopped at Güímar with its famous Pyramids. It was here that the renowned Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl discovered these step pyramids and believed that they were, in some way, connected to the ones found in Peru and Mexico. Nowadays there is a proper exhibition centre showing much of his work and a replica of one of his ‘Ra’reed boats.

The tour continued on down to Candelaria, a small town on the east coast which has an impressive Basilica. Inside, above and behind the altar, is a statue of the Black Madonna, patron Saint of the Canary Islands. The legend says that this almost life size image (well, not the original, this is the third apparently) of the Blessed Virgin Mary washed ashore in Candelaria long before Christianity was introduced to the island, and was venerated by the local Guanche people, even though they were oblivious to its significance.

Back in the harbour there were four cruise ships, two making their ‘turn arounds’and a third parked just in front of us blocking the view of two very large drill ships that were laid up at the seaward end of the breakwater. After we had sailed I found on my desk a personalised plaque which had been left by the port authority to mark my last call at their port before retiring next year. The first was in 1973, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then. A very kind gesture.

Captain Philip Rentell

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