Fred Olsen Borealis - part 4

Day 6 (23rd Oct)

We left Funchal Madeira  at 7pm last night and are due into San Sebastian on the Island of La Gomera this morning around 11.45pm. This works out well as it allows us to have a lie in after the stress of having all these sea days interrupted by a port day ;) We pick up the pilot around 10am for the sail into  port.

La Gomera is one of the lesser known islands of the Canaries. With the pilot on board we continue  gently  into a very barren looking volcanic landscape, although this small island is one of two halves with more lush landscape further north. At least I hope so as our trip today is rainforest trekking.

San Sebastian is the capital of La Gomera - it has the nickname 'Isla Colombina' as it was the last island  Colombus called at on his way to America to take on supplies. There are quite a few museums and other links to Columbus to be found in the port town but we plan on heading to the green North Side of the island with our guide for a hike through the laurel/ heather tree rainforests.
 Our guide in Gomera is of German ancestry but has lived here for 15 years.


Like most of the Canaries, the island is one of two halves.. Basically rocky and barren in the south and  UNESCO rainforest in the North. It's a wonderful trip that we both agree we could do every time we visit.
It is misty up in the hills - it aint called a rain forest for nothing but luckily its quite protected in the canyons. However the mist setting in does slow us down on our return journey - though it is quite hilarious watching some of the buses pulling into the viewpoint parking areas looking at clouds & mist.

Eventually we return back to the ship. A slight disadvantage of set dining though is we barely have time to change on arrival back at the ship so we're slightly late however the maitre d seems to know our tour was late back. It is noticeably cooler tonight though so the air con problem seems to have been sorted 

We leave late at 11.00pm heading for La Palma after watching tonight's main show, a musical comedian who was excellent and then Oscar the guitarist/backing vocalists from "Funky blue" in the observatory doing an excellent solo vocal set.

Day 7(24th Oct)

We glide silently into the port of Santa Cruz la Palma  on Sunday morning.  La Palma has been in the news a lot recently for obvious reasons. Sea swell permitting, this evening the Captain plans to sail us around the southern tip to the west coast of the island for a closer view of the current lava flow.

Our day begins in the stunning rainforest in the North of the Island, another UNESCO protected wonder. Compared to the rainforest in La Gomera here it is deep gorges whose cliffs are covered in beautiful ferns whilst waterfalls cascade down the sides.Wow!
La Palma & La Gomera have less tourism compared to the larger neighbours of Tenerife etc. Here trekking is the main activity and bananas the main source of the island's income and the next part of our tour our guide takes us around a plantation and explains the huge wealth these "herbs" bring.
Lunch today is a Sunday special of roast beef. But this is prime roast cut American style, served medium rare ( my choice)and could be cut with a butter knife. Its accompanied by a beautiful starter of  beetroot infused sushi cut salmon, beautiful - the gravalax & ceviche onboard has been simply superb  quality.

Tonight after the second formal dinner the captain has promised something a little special. That's not to say dinner itself isn't special. This time dinner is accompanied by the beautiful string trio while enjoying lamb cutlets and tarte tatin. Oh my!

Captain Romel takes us to the south west of La Palma for a slow sail past Cumbre Vieja volcano. An unimaginable experience and one we will never forget. From the decks we first see the red glow of two burning eyes,the cones. Next, the slow slide of lava flow accentuating the western volcano side. We see, feel & smell its immense power. Quite terrifying.


Nothing could top the mesmerising force of nature experienced on deck. 

We head indoors to see Shaken not stirred a tribute to Bond themes and Hannah absolutely nails Billie Eilish. Superb.


Day 8(25th Oct)
We relax this morning and have a lovely breakfast in the MDR instead of our cabin as we don't have a trip  booked today. The ship is overnighting in Tenerife, we have arranged a trip for tomorrow morning.

We pick up a local taxi after visiting the beautiful church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción in Santa Cruz and choose one of the official taxi tourist routes that are available. You can find these displayed on the taxi ranks in town and the price is set by the local authority. We choose a scenic route through the pine forests to Mount Teide which is 160Euros (135) for your own car for the whole day. You can alter the route as you see fit and spend as much time in places as you like. This is a super price compared to the ship's shared coach.

Salvador our driver has a decent grip of the English language and is able to explain the route and where we are. Unfortunately as we pass Monte it's obvious the weather today is not going to cooperate, it's misty mountains at the 'scenic viewpoint'.

And as we enter the beautiful sequoia Forests of Las Lagunetas it is so foggy its hard to see the end of the bonnet. Its also gone from 23C at sea level to 9C as we climb higher and higher into the mountains. As we enter the visitors center at Mount Tiede, I'm starting to suspect the only actual photographic proof we will have of visiting will be the visitors centers map in the car park.
Salvador doesn't seem too concerned yet though - he keeps talking of layers and how we may not be high enough yet to have broken through the clouds. And then finally we turn the corner and we are above the first cloud layer and into the sun. Yay!

Our Next Stop is the Roque Cinchadoa well known and highly photographed area of the Teide plateau about 1700 meters below the summit of Teide volcano and is a volcanic formation; it belongs to a lineup of large rock formations, remnants of the former summit of the island.

The Roque Cinchado is a 27-metre high rock its upper layers are much harder than the lower making it  more resistant to erosion. If you are old enough to remember the time before Euros, the  rock appeared on one thousand peseta bank notes, with Teide in the background.

After Teide we return via La Orotava to see its historic centre, dragon tree & balcony houses. It's a beautiful  town that we must return to at some point.


Its a delightful warm evening tonight so after another excellent dinner in the MDR consisting of Red snapper on a bed of Turmeric leek and onions. Full use is made of the ship's aft deck 8 open area where al fresco drinks and live music go on into the night.  Simply wonderful with Santa Cruz a twinkling backdrop.

We stay docked overnight so you can explore Tenerife's night life should you wish. 

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