Thursday 3 April 2014

The Island of Whistlers

Some days are so packed with events that it would create an extremely long blog entry, followed by a pretty short one. So, dear reader, instead of just describing our current sea day (of which we are going to have more) I take the liberty to insert chapter two of yesterdays island experiences:
After a ride just long enough for lunch, coffee and (delicious) scones, we make fast in La Gomera, a little further to the east, and very close to the "Capital" island, Tenerife.
Not much bigger than El Hierro, La Gomera is quite a bit more touristy, sports larger villages with more colorful houses, a well-visited marina with veeery expensive yachts, and is of course much better connected to the neighboring islands. The futuristic trimaran ferry takes only 34 minutes to Tenerife, not more than a bunny hop.
The street life is marked by a gentle pace in the small streets, friendly people chatting in front of the numerous shops, and the omnipresence of palm trees.
There is only a few places in the Canary Islands where the hallmark feature of a stratovolcano, the layer-cake-like structure of thick grey basalt and bright red ash layers, is so prominent like in the backdrop of the port of San Sebastian.
In many other parts of the island the volcanic flanks are covered in the pretty, bright green vegetation which is so typical for this place. Even the Laurisilva (laurel) forest is greener than in El Hierro. Sometimes even the doors...
So, apart from the various palm syrups one classical souvenir is Aloe Vera in all kind of concoctions, be it as soap, gel, shampoo, face mask - you name it.
The steep topography of La Gomera together with the need of communication led to the invention of probably the strangest lingo of our planet - the Gomera Whistling language. With finger and mouth the islanders create a very distinct, high-pitched sound which is so variable that the language contains no less than 4000 words. You don't believe it? Then you might want to join the demonstration that is part of the island excursion; one of the whistleing ladies leaves the room, the guests apply some changes in the room, and the returning one gets the whistled instructions from the girl that remained. Impressive.
Evening comes, and in the darkness of the Atlantic night we are on our way to Madeira.