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Atlantic Whale Foundation

Some Exciting News!

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(Pictured Right: Paige Sammons, Head Coordinator, Left: Jessica Jarvis, Coordinator).

In recent events, AWF are proud to announce a new alliance with Mola Mola Sailing Tenerife! As of next week, our experienced coordinators and volunteers will be joining Mola Mola on their excursions to broaden our research and give quality tour guide information on board, and within the Mola Mola office.

This will be available to tourists taking part in whale watching excursions, supporting responsible environmentally sustainable interactions with Cetaceans and marine life. Information will be available on the resident and migratory marine life surrounding Tenerife and the Canaries. The information you receive will come from a member of the AWF team, with either a Marine Biology or Zoology Degree background, with years of experience and knowledge in their field.

The Mola Mola operates from Puerto Colon, and all their vessels are blue boats, meaning they are government licence whale watching vessels, ensuring responsible and sustainable interaction with wildlife.

We are very excited to work with such an incredible company!

-Jess, AWF Coordinator

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The Teide Challenge!

 

The Teide Challenge is not for the fainthearted. It’s a physical feat perfect for anyone with a love of mountaineering, incredible views as well as physical and mental challenges.  Some volunteers that come over to us at the AWF already fund raise to take part in the Teide challenge, as part of their planned stay. Others however choose to take on the challenge when they arrive, and we do ask you to try and fund-raise for this in the week/weeks leading up to it.

Mount Teide is the third highest volcanic structure on earth, and most voluminous in the world. After Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea in Hawaii. It is the highest peak on the Canary Islands and in the whole of Spain. So, to climb this monumental volcano is quite the achievement.

You will be supplied transport for the climb, as well as given preparation time to get supplies and rest up.The climb takes place overnight, to protect you from the sun, and you then get to watch the sunrise from the highest point on the island. According to the people here that have completed the challenge its apparently the most incredible sunrise you could ever see! Once you have reached the summit, you are then presented with two options. Either you can walk back down to base camp, or the choose the more popular Cable Car back down to the bottom, open daily from 9am.

Here is what some of our volunteers had to say about the experience on completing the challenge;

‘It definitely is a challenge! The climb starts easy but gets harder and harder-like levelling up on a game! Not only do you have to be determined and have a positive attitude but you must push yourself physically and mentally! However, you feel a sense of real achievement and the view is just stunning! “My batteries exhausted, just like me” I said as I reached the summit’.

‘Climbing Teide was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done. I was sceptical of climbing it at first but I am so glad that I did! The walk itself is not too hard, however it really shows you how good your mental health is. I climbed it with some amazing people who gave me a lot of support to push through. I would recommend the experience to anyone’.

There are many local legends and history surrounding Mount Teide. The Guanche people, who are the aboriginal people of the Canary Islands. They believe that Guayota, the devil himself and the king of evil inhabited Teide. It was told that he kidnapped the god Magec, the God of light and sun, and he took him down inside the heart of Teide.

The Guanche people asked their supreme god Achamán for mercy, and the story goes that he defeated Guayota and rescued Magec from the heart of Teide, and plugged up the crater. It is thought that the white crown at the summit of Teide is the plug that Achamán put in place.

This challenge is open to all our volunteers and coordinators here at the AWF, and it is incredibly popular. We hope to give as many people possible the experience of climbing the third highest volcano in the world, and if it’s something you’re interested in doing as well as volunteering here with us, please get in touch!

Thank you for reading 😊

 

-Jess, AWF Coordinator

Roque Imoque: Local Climb

In preparation for the Teide Challenge, some of our volunteers attempted a climb of a local mountain, Roque Imoque. At 1107m high, the climb is quite challenging for one of the smaller mountains in Tenerife, in comparison to the more popular Roque del Conde both situated in the Adeje area. Both a short walk from our Research Base in Arona.

The peak of Imoque requires more scrambling and climbing to reach as apposed to just an uphill hike, so was chosen as a more appropriate preparation climb for the difficult challenge ahead of climbing Teide, the third highest volcano in the world at 3,718 m, with an altitude of 7500m above sea level. Here’s what Beth, one of our volunteers had to say about the experience;

‘It was a good walk and well worth the leg ache, the views were amazing and are a must see if you are in tenerife!’

Roque Imoque is one of three peaks in the Adeje area, local legend states it was named after the Daughter of a Guanche King. It was said to be named after the princess in honour of her physical attributes and beauty. Offering panoramic views, it is the perfect place to watch the sunset  while here with the AWF, and Coordinators will facilitate the climb for you should you wish to complete it.

We can even take your photograph at its peak from our Research base (albeit with a decent zoom lens) once you have reached it!

 

– Jess, AWF Coordinator

Horse Riding FAM Trip

 

Today a group of our volunteers were taken on a popular excursion we run weekly, Horse Riding. Or as Mama, our driver would say “El Caballos!” The trip is organised with a local stables owned by Oscar, a good friend of the AWF.

You will have the option of a one or two hour ride, depending on your preference, during which you are taken out onto the dirt tracks surrounding the stables, and take part in a trek or hack depending on your riding ability. Here’s what one of our volunteers had to say about the experience;

‘Horse Riding is something I have done at home before, but it had been a while since I had been in the saddle. However on arrival I was greeted by Oscar and fitted for a helmet, and was put straight on a suitable horse. During the first part of the ride Oscar was watching how competent everyone was and once we’d reached a certain point we separated into two groups, of experienced and inexperienced riders. Oscar made me feel right at home and helped me ease back into the saddle, within 15 minutes I was galloping away through the winding dirt tracks like I was in the wild west! If you want to give horse riding a try as a beginner, or are an experienced rider, I would highly recommend doing it during your stay with the AWF!’

Horse riding is a weekly excursion we plan here at the AWF, and if it is something you are interested in we will make sure your needs are accommodated for. It is great fun for people of all riding abilities and the views are incredible! Just be sure to bring your sunscreen and some change for an ice cream should you choose a two hour trek.

 

– Jess, AWF Coordinator

A Masca Adventure!

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One of the many ‘Fam’ trips we organise here at the Atlantic Whale Foundation is The Masca Trek! There are so many beautiful places around the island to explore, some of our volunteers took on the challenge and told us this tale…

“Yesterday we went to Masca to hike. We started in the town of Masca to walk down the canyon. In the town of Masca we saw and learned about the beautiful history of the town itself. It really is a beautiful town to go sightseeing. Next we walked to the canyon looking at beautiful views and exploring the tunnels and caves. During the 3 hour walk we saw different species of birds and found waterfalls! Later, we arrived at the ocean where the walk ended. Here we went for a swim and went snorkelling where there were many types of interesting fish. The Masca walk really is recommended for people who enjoy outdoor physical activity and beautiful views.”

The Masca trek is a physically demanding trip, and is not just simply a light stroll, but for anyone who enjoys panoramic views, climbing, canyoning, and generally exploring like a big kid, its perfect and lots of fun, we’ve never had a bad review! You are also provided with a boat taxi back to Los Gigantes port, which is also a beautiful place, with local shops and restaurants. Ready to be collected by one of our drivers.

 

-Jess, AWF Coordinator.

Cultural Trip: Garachico

A new Cultural Trip offered by AWF is the day trip to Garachico.

In the fertile lowlands of Tenerife’s North West tip, Garachico is officially one of the unluckiest towns on the planet. In its short history Garachico has endured Bubonic plague, floods, storms, fires, plagues of locusts and volcanic eruptions, the worst of which in 1706 destroyed a large part of the town and the source of its wealth; the harbour.

What remains is one of Tenerife’s prettiest destinations with cobbled streets, beautifully restored churches, two fabulous hotels, coastal sea water swimming pools hewn from volcanic rock and a steadfastly traditional Canarian character.

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Mirador de Garachico

The first stop on this cultural trip is a popular vantage point where you can soak up the brilliant morning views of Garachico from high above the town. This spot is situated on the TF-82, on route towards the Parque del Drago (Dragon tree).

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Plaza Juan Gonzalez de la Torre

“Quaint little park in the heart of Garachico”

The whole square is full of character with a warming atmosphere and boasts lots of historic buildings to meander around. There are tapas bars, public toilets and a café all in and around the square. This plaza is situated just a short walking distance from the fort (Castillo San Miguel), the natural pools (Piscinas Naturales El Caleton) and restaurants including a pizzeria.

Castillo San Miguel (Fort)

Tardis like castle with exhibits tracing Garachico’s history. Great views over the pools from the battlements.
Entrance = €0.50.

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Convento de San Francisco

“Well worth the two euros to enter! This is a lovely old convent with internal courtyards and suspended wooded balconies. There are many old and interesting photos from the last 150 years of Canarian history. Not more than 15 minutes to take in the lot, but well worth doing”.

There is also an amazing collection of fossils and shells from all over the world and a display which shows the history of the volcanic eruptions that have made the town what it is today.

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Piscinas Naturales El Caleton (Rock pools)

These free natural pools make a great place to swim and relax in the heat of the sun. This area of Garachico used to be a successful fishing port until 1590 when Teide volcano erupted and filled the harbour with lava, the result is what you see; numerous natural pools formed from cooled lava flow, extending into the sea. These natural swimming pools have had some manmade enhancements such as ladders, steps and walkways for easier access.

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Changing facilities and showers are provided, with a café nearby. Toilets can be used by customers of the bar. Just don’t forget your towel and a snorkel (sign them out)!

A Day in the Life of an AWF Volunteer

Cultural Trip to Santa Cruz

Cultural Trips are important excursions organised by the AWF for our volunteers. Our founders want all volunteers to have the opportunity to see some of the important historical and cultural spots of the island. One of the cultural trips is a day trip to visit three important sights of Tenerife: Candelaria, Güimar and the capital, Santa Cruz.

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Candelaria

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The trip begins in the little town of Candelaria. Start the day with the coffee in the plaza, of views of the ocean, the beautiful church and the famous Guanche statues.

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Candelaria is a nice town to make a quick stop in on the way to Santa Cruz. It has a lot of Catholic significance, as it is seen as the place of the veneration of the Virgin Candelaria.

The church is a beautiful stop to do a brief tour through, and there are many cafes surrounding the main plaza, where the Guanche men statues stand in front of the sea.

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Güimar

After the stop in Candelaria, the trip drives further north to Güimar, where volunteers can visit the famous pyramids of Güimar. 

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Santa Cruz

The capital city of Tenerife and 1/2 the capital of the Canary Islands (the other half is in the Gran Canaria, the 2nd largest of the 7 islands) is Santa Cruz. Located in the north of the island, Santa Cruz is a beautiful city to spend an afternoon in to see a bit of the island different from the endless beaches of the south.

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The main Plaza de España in Santa Cruz is right next to the commercial streets with shops and restaurants.

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Overall, Santa Cruz is a small, vibrant city with a much more “Spanish” feel to it than the tourist traps of the south. It is a beautiful spot overlooking the ocean, and a good place to see during a stay in Tenerife.

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Kayaking w/ Teno Activo

Ocean Kayaking is a popular activity among volunteers that come and work here at AWF.

We have partnered with Teno Activo  based in Los Gigantes in Tenerife for our kayaking excursions. For a very reasonable price, volunteers receive a two hour kayak rental, complete with a guided tour and photographer as well as a beer or non-alcoholic drink halfway through the journey.

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Each kayak had two people paddling, the seats were comfortable with back rests and came with one life jacket per participant. The guide also brings masks and snorkels, but we advise our volunteers to bring the ones we have at the foundation, so that they can fully enjoy a little swim during the break.

The water in this area of the island is really crystal clear, and swimming beneath the giant cliffs is an incredible experience. The ocean conditions are fairly mild, but it is a good workout for active volunteers!

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