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Atlantic Whale Foundation

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.

Lucy: Why I Came Back

This weeks volunteer story comes from Lucy, a returning volunteer!

Why I Came Back

My first trip to Tenerife with the Atlantic Whale Foundation was with college in 2015. I studied travel and tourism and had a large interest for ecotourism and conservation tourism, so this was the perfect place to come and experience. At first I didn’t know what to expect or what it was going to be like. I was already arriving with a large group of college friends so my nerves were calmed. However, when I arrived I knew I had nothing to worry about, and everyone welcomed us with open arms.

During my two week stay, I was able to see different species throughout my time, such as Bottlenose Dolphins, short-fin pilot whales, Bryde’s whales, Atlantic Spotted Dolphin and even flying fish.

There are many reasons I decided to come back; the people are so nice and welcoming you feel at home right away, so I didn’t have to worry about arriving after everyone else. The people we met became friends for life, even if I only met them a few days before leaving.

At AWF, you learn so many new things, and are able to do many new and exciting things you couldn’t normally do anywhere else (such as diving, snorkelling with turtles, parasailing, surfing, kayaking, jumping off boats to swim in the ocean, camping and so much more). This helps improve things like CV’s, skills, and experiences, as well as letting you realise what you are really good at, as well as discovering new interests you may not have had before.

In 2015 I stayed with AWF for two weeks, and now I am here for four. With my time I plan to complete an open water diving certification, and hopefully see and experience even more. This experience is a one in a million, and it has allowed me to learn new things, not only about marine conservation and endangered species but also new things about myself and what I am capable of.

Lisanne: Why I Chose Volunteering with AWF

This weeks story brought to you by our lovely Dutch volunteer, Lisanne!

I studied Environmental Biology back home, in which I focused on ecology and the behaviour of animals. In my study I did internships about the behaviour of birds, large felids and terrestrial mammals in general, but I did not do any project about sea animals. So when I finished my study, I was looking for a project with sea animals to get more experience about the behaviour of this group of animals.

I was also looking for a long holiday in a warm place! I wanted to combine my holiday with volunteering work, but unfortunately, most volunteering work quickly gets very expensive. I found AWF just by googling and was surprised by the projects they offered and the low costs. I also really liked that it is an organisation with many students and that they organize many trips in Tenerife, such as visiting Santa Cruz and snorkelling. I felt it was everything I was looking for!

One week at Tenerife and it is still everything I was looking for 🙂 So far, I have been on the boats (with very nice crew and food), went snorkelling with the turtles at Turtle Bay, went diving for the first time (very exciting!), had much fun in the water park Siam Park and relaxed on the beach of Los Cristianos. While being on the boats, I have already spotted numerous bottlenose dolphins and short-finned pilot whales, but was also lucky enough to see common dolphins, atlantic spotted dolphins, flying fish and even a Bryde’s whale! There are many people at the AWF house and that is really nice, because there is always someone you can talk to and go with on trips to explore the island. I would definitely recommend volunteering at AWF and I am excited for the rest of my stay at Tenerife!

Snorkelling in El Puertito

The beach of El Puertito in Adeje, Tenerife is a beautiful retreat and change of pace from the overcrowded tourist beaches of Las Americas and Los Cristianos.

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Not only is it separated from the hoards of sunbathers and beachside drinkers, it is a protected bay perfect for snorkelling in, as it boasts crystal clear waters and a resident group of sea turtles who have become quite friendly with visitors.

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Tenerife offers a lot more than a beautiful landscape. There is a breathtaking underwater world with an amazing flora and fauna along with many different marine species, including incredible turtles, three different types of turtles exist on Tenerife, Atlantic Green Turtles, Leatherback Turtles, and Loggerheads. The most common one to be seen is the Atlantic Green Turtles. Their length starts at 90 centimetres and can measure up to 2,70 meters! These incredible ocean turtles can be found very close to the coast and are often a common companion when you are snorkelling. At El Puertito, also known as Turtle Bay, the ocean has a depth of up to 12 meters. Turtles can be seen at a depth of eight meters all year round. The terrain is made up of a rocky reef, which also brings in many different types of fish and sea life.

I would definitely recommend snorkeling in Turtle Bay. It is one of the best experiences i have had. Being able to be so close to such a peaceful creature is truly amazing. During my time snorkeling i saw two atlantic green turtles, one very large one and one slightly smaller, i was able to swim alongside them as well as touch their shell! In turtle bay you are almost guaranteed to see a turtle. As well as snorkeling with turtles, i also snorkeled a little closer to the shore near the rocky reef, where there are so many colourful and strange fish to see, it is fascinating.

I would recommend this trip to everyone! I was able to see so many different animals as well as having a nice day at the beach, and swimming with turtles completely topped it all off.

Snorkelling in El Puertito is a fam trip that is frequently organised by the AWF. A day spent in El Puertito gives volunteers the opportunity to see marine life up close, learn about the different organisms found around Tenerife and inspire them to to pursue scuba diving if they enjoy interacting with marine life and wish to take it further.

The AWF has plenty of mask and snorkel sets for volunteers to use, but if they do have their own and have space in their luggage, it is encouraged that individuals bring their own equipment if they can!

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We also make sure that there is a trained lifeguard coordinator with the groups when they go snorkelling, and we have lifejackets to give to volunteers who are not strong swimmers or wish to take extra precaution.

There are several small bars and restaurants in the coastal town of El Puertito for volunteers to eat at for lunch, but the selection is a bit limited so packing a lunch is advised for groups that are going to be out swimming all day.

We hope you come see the turtles with us!

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