El Hierro (18-25 october)

We arrived at the port of Estaca on the 18 of October. Starting from that day we have been waiting for the right winds to sail to Cape Verde. Unfortunately the winds had turned against us and the waiting last in total about one week. So we had plenty of time to get to know El Hierro which is the newest island in the Canarys. Latest eruption took place on 2011 from underwater volcano close to the islands south coast. It damaged the marine life but fortunately it has restored rather quickly and El Hierro is still one of the favorite place in Canaries among many divers.

  

Estaca marina is located in rather a remote place and in order to get to the town or do sightseeing you need to take a bus or rent a car. We used both options. A Rental car is certainly the most convenient way to discover the island because the bus schedule is somewhat sparse.

 

While discovering the island we visited the Mirador de la Pena. To our great surprise this place was designed by Cesar Manrique who is already known to us previously. His style was very recognizable. He had created a cozy restaurant on the spot providing possibly one of the best views of the island.

 

From the terrace, we spotted one house down at the seaside, on the cliff. Jaanus thought we should go check it out. It turned out to be the worlds smallest hotel. It only has 4 rooms. At the hotel, we met our neighbors from the marina and they invited us for a beer. They were also driving around the island with a rental car. After the beer, they also invited us for the aperitivo to their boat in the evening. This was the first time in those couple of months we have been invited over like that 🙂

 

Since we wanted to bring something along when we go to visit them, we needed groceries. So we did not drive around much more. We went back to the harbor through mountain roads. The clouds where almost at the same level as us, thereby we did not have the chance to enjoy the view much.

 

Visiting our neighbors was a good change because our nights are usually quite routine. The neighbors were an older Belgium couple who have sailed around in the Canaries for some time and decided to buy an apartment here now. We had many topics to discuss, mainly related to sailing.

Next day we continued where we left off – we went to discover the natural pools of the island. There are a few of them here. Picina Natural la Maceta is located next to a short hiking trail. The trail is 5 km long and rounds along the rocky coastline so we decided to do a short hike as well. We enjoyed it a lot because the views were great and you can tell that there has been put a lot of effort into building the hiking road along the coast. The trail was mostly a wooden pathway and there was a viewpoint to the ocean after every few hundred meters.

 

The timing of the hike was perfect because when we were finishing the sun was high in the sky and it was starting to get hot. Thereby we had a feeling that having a refreshing swim in the pools is just what we need. Up from the cliff, the pools did not look really like the ones we saw in Tenerife. The waves were rough and smashing over the pools. There was no one swimming down there so we hesitated a bit whether we should go. We still went and it was worth it. Water was warm but still refreshing enough. We made lots of pictures in the middle of the waves.

  

There was also another pool nearby called Charcoal Azul. Those pools where not so open to the sea and thus it felt much safer there. We enjoyed those pools also very much.

 

Next day it was quite calm weather and we decided we will go to the next port in the south coast of the island, El Restinga. It was about a 2-hour trip. By doing research we discovered that it might not be so easy to have a berth there due to lack of space. We decided to take our chances because the marina is next to a nice town and it’s more convenient for us to buy groceries for our upcoming long trip to Cape Verde.

 

 

La Restinga is a fishing town and it attracts more and more tourists due to great diving spots. Despite that, you will find relatively few tourists on the island and in El Restinga, you recognize them because all of them walk around in diving suits. Since we were surrounded by divers we decided to blow our daily budget and go diving ourselves as well. Introductory dive is 50-60 euros per person. We have dived before but since we still have not taken the PADI course we still need to take the introductory dives like first-timers.

We read some good reviews about a guy called Jeff who is running a diving center called Taxi Drivers. We went to him the other day and agreed a time and a day for our dive. We went to the north side of the island and enjoyed it very much. Sea life here is rich and although it’s not so colorful as the Red Sea, there is plenty to fish, crabs and other animals to observe.

 

In addition, we found some time to take up one longer hike to the highest peak of the island. El Hierro is a real paradise for hikers because the whole island is full of hiking trails. They are also very well marked. You can have a map of hiking trails from tourist information center and find hiking trail with suitable length or difficulty level. Since we like the height we wanted to conquer the highest peak of the island. To our great surprise, the hiking trail run through very green pine forest. Just like we are used to the ones we have back in Estonia. Since we made it to the peak only in the afternoon, it was already cloudy and we didn’t have a particularly good view. Despite that, the hike was a good one. A well spent 6 hours and another top was this time with not much effort conquered.

 

El Hierro is relatively small but still, one week was not enough to discover everything the island has to offer. True some days we just took time off and had a whole day at the beach.

Also one day it was very exciting to just observe the action on the marina. Police were looking through a yacht boat which was next to the boat beside us. It turned out that those were well-known narco smugglers and they had been in jail for same crime before. We had plenty of joy and excitement here and we felt very safe while the tons of policemen were “guarding” our boat.

In the evenings we watched the sunset.

  

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