27th April - 4th May
Eight sea days before we reach our next port. The guest speakers include John McCarthy who was kept hostage in Beirut for over five years. We saw him last year on our cruise so did not attend but he went down very well. Other speakers include an ex Concorde pilot, talking about the development of Concorde, the crash and subsequent withdrawal from service. Ian found this very interesting, especially details of the crash investigation which was highly flawed, ignoring faulty French maintenance, breach of numerous protocols and very significant pilot error and eventually was largely blamed on Continental Airlines. The UK accident investigators have still not signed it off the report as correct and now as Continental have been cleared by the French Courts so formally no one is responsible for anything, amazing!There was an ex Superintendent from the Met police force. He was in the Flying squad ( The Sweeney). He spoke with great humour about the Kray twins, the Brinks Mat robbery and other crimes he'd been involved in investigating.
The evening entertainment is just as good with magicians, instrumentalists and a singer from the West End show 'We Will Rock You'.
We need to reach land soon as there are rumours we are running out of fresh strawberries , we can't have that.
Finally we find land. We are visiting the largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife. It is the highest of the Islands with El Teide as its most dominant feature. (3,718 m above sea level). Tenerife is a popular tourist destination. We are berthing in Santa Cruz de Tenerife an important port and administration centre but not one of the main tourist resorts.
We have decided to visit the Palmetum, a Botanical garden which specialises in Palm trees. It has been built on a reclaimed rubbish tip. There are over 250 types of Palm here (who knew there were so many!). We spend a couple of hours walking around these relaxing gardens and walk slowly back towards the ship. We stop at the concert hall for a drink and snack. It has a slight resemblance to Sydney Opera House, with structures that look like sails.
As we walk through the main square we come across a demonstration. There are about 150-200 people carrying placards and chanting in Spanish. We think it was about pensions, not wanting cuts. Ian find some steps that go under the square. I sit in the sunshine while he goes underground looking at the 16th century fortifications and the cannon that is reputed to be the one that shot off Nelson's arm.
We return to the ship and that night while eating dinner we watch a pod of dolphins swimming,jumping through the water just below us. Fantastic entertainment. Next day Madeira.