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Atlantic Whale Foundation

Month

August 2016

A Day in the Life of an AWF Volunteer

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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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Surfing

A popular and frequent trip put on by AWF is a trip to El Medano beach to go surfing! El Medano is a well-known surfing beach famous for having great waves and wind for water sports.

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There are plenty of surf and watersport vendors in El Medano, and we have partnered with Red Rock Surf Academy for providing our volunteers with surfboard rentals and lessons. For a very reasonable price, volunteers can have 2 hour group lessons, or just rent a board if they want to try to learn themselves. The surf shop has a huge selection of different sized boards for people of all abilities.
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Parasailing

Parasailing is one of the many activities frequently organized by the AWF. It is an experience that every volunteer will have the opportunity to participate in, because the company we work with is located right in Puerto Colón near our visitors centre.

We are very fortunate to work with companies that give us great discounts for our volunteers to enjoy all Tenerife has to offer.
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Our volunteer Gemma wrote this about her experience parasailing:

“This was an amazing experience as we were able to see the landscape of Tenerife and even some jumping dolphins were spotted by another volunteer whilst we were in the air. Not only did we get to parasail, but we also had a great mini boat trip around the coast. The parasailing was great fun and I would recommend it to anyone coming to volunteer with us.”

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Puerto Colón

Our Visitors Centre, which is our primary operating base for our boat trips, is located in Puerto Colón in Tenerife. Puerto Colón is a great area to be based in, as it is the host of many different activity companies, restaurants and bars, and a nice beach, giving our volunteers access to many different great things when they are working down in the port.

It is also close to a shopping center and a big Mercadona supermarket, so volunteers are able to buy groceries if they choose to during their breaks in between boat trips.

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Restaurants 

Zion Bar

Right next door to our visitor centre is Zion Bar, an amazing Italian restaurant. They do a menu of the day every day, and for 5 euros customers can have a first and second plate and a drink.

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Cafe Victoria

Located right on the marina, this cafe is our primary meeting point and our favorite spot to get breakfast. They offer a full English breakfast for €3,75 and coffee for a euro. This is where a lot of volunteers grab a bite to eat or a coffee in the morning, and where we meet for the van pick-ups at the end of the day.

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The Beach

Located just a three minute walk from our Visitor Centre, the beach at Puerto Colon is a nice spot for volunteers to take a little break, soak up some sun or go for a swim to cool off during the hot summer months here in Tenerife.

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Scuba Diving

One of the activities we most encourage our volunteers to try while they are here in Tenerife with us is scuba diving. For volunteers who have never been diving, we are able to schedule try dives through Zero Gravity, a dive shop right in Puerto Colón by our Visitors Centre.

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Try dives are an excellent way for volunteers to become familiar with scuba diving. The dive masters start the session with a briefing in the dive centre so the divers understand basic functions of the equipment. They are then taken to El Puertito, the same location of our snorkelling trips, in order to see the turtles. El Puertito is a sheltered bay, so it is never rough or dangerous conditions for the divers.

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Once in the water, the dive master holds onto the diver as they descend 5-6 meters to become acquainted with the incredible sensation of breathing underwater. In the bay, divers can see the turtles and different beautiful fish species.

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After completing the try dive, volunteers have the option of completing a PADI course through Zero Gravity. Completing the Open Water Diver or Advanced Open Water Diver is a very feasible task that a volunteer could do during their time at AWF, even if they are only here for a week. We make sure to take their diving priorities into consideration when making our schedules, so that they will be in the port at the correct time.

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Image from Zero Gravity

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Masca Bay Walk

Masca Bay Walk

Masca is one of the most picturesque parts of the island and is located northwest at the foot of the Teno Mountains. This beautiful little village is a bit difficult to reach but it’s definitely worth the trip! A popular activity among tourists is The Masca trek. This track is a 7.5 km hike following a streambed down a ravine that leads to the sea at Masca Bay. After an approximate three-hour walk you will finish your hike in the Masca Bay where you can enjoy the beautiful beach with black sand and crystal clear water of the Atlantic Ocean. You can choose to walk back up to the top or you can take a boat that will transfer you to Los Gigantes. The boat will cost you 7 euro’s. On the boat you can enjoy the view of the Atlantic Ocean and the cliffs of the neighbouring island la Gomera.

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The Masca walk is done by so many tourists that we as volunteers also wanted to take a look at this beautiful path. So we walked the masca walk with six volunteers. With a lot of courage and a lot of energy we started the walk with a lot of enthusiasm, wondering what we would see along the path. The path is bumpy, has a lot of rocks (some are loose), is very narrow and high sometimes (little bit scary), but the view and the setting is absolutely worth it! You walk past beautiful rock walls, cliffs, streams, caves and many kinds of colourful flowers and plants like bamboo, spiny cactuses. Your climbing paths with rocks and you need to slide down over rocks down again. Halfway down the gorge it becomes quite narrow and spooky, with occasional rock falling down. At some point you use a ledge above the cliff while you need to hold onto a wire rope for safety, which is a little bit tricky for someone who suffers from vertigo. Be safe and don’t rush, we stopped a couple of times and the trek took us around three hours. And as a reward you can take a refreshing swim in beautiful Masca bay. We took the water taxi back to Los Gigantes, which took about ten minutes.

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I would really recommend the Masca walk to every one. Even if you do not like hiking or nature or exercise, Go for it! You wouldn’t regret it!

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This post brought to you by volunteer Kelly, who went on the Masca walk fam trip with AWF.

Forestal Park

Forestal Park, situated in the north of the island of Tenerife, within the biodiversity rich area of Las Lagunetas, boasts the largest treetop adventure park in the Canary Islands. This “GoApe” style woodland climb offers a variety of courses of varying difficulty and will keep you busy for at least 2-3 hours, depending on the size of your group.

If you are one who is particularly beset on heights, then this is a great place to chase that adrenaline rush and can be incredibly rewarding! If not, then hanging 30m above the forest floor and ziplining 230m might just do the trick!

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We recommend that our volunteers arrive at the centre with some time to spare and explore some of the surrounding woodland before engaging the course; with the lack of greenery in the south of the island where we are situated, traversing beneath the illuminated canopy of Canary Island pines is a refreshing sight, just don’t get lost!

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This post brought to you by our volunteer, Rhys.

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