Canary Islands

Aircraft Wrecks of Gran Canaria

Divers on wreck of the Douglas C-47. Photo by Sabine Kerkau.

For over a year, I had been looking forward to a very special expedition that was planned for May 2014. But as you know, life does not always go the way you plan. The expedition was postponed, and once again, I had to find an alternative, at relatively short notice.

Canary Island’s Tenerife: Where the Highest Mountain Meets the Deepest Sea

Spain’s highest mountain lies off the continent of Africa and is surrounded by the deepest chasms of the Atlantic Ocean—what a unique place! And the islands where the mountain is located are just as special. We are talking about the Canary Islands, which lie in the Atlantic off the coast of Morocco.

Beaked Whales of El Hierro

Beaked whales—now honestly, who has ever heard of Cuvier beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) or Blainville beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris), or even knows what they look like? Anybody? No? It’s no wonder—they are shy animals, they can be seen at the water surface only for a very short time and they are usually not very noticeable.

Canary Islands: El Hierro

Common octopus at El Hierro. Photo by Claudia Weber-Gebert.

Have you ever experienced absolute silence? No hassle, no stress—people seeking mass tourism would certainly be out of place here. Just relaxation and downshifting—you can set your mind at rest. This is what El Hierro is about.

Tenerife

Most of us in Europe know of Tenerife, but many in North America won’t have heard of it. It’s one of those sunshine locations that isn’t too long a European flight for warmth, sun and reliable weather—easy to reach with economy airlines from many United Kingdom and European airports. It’s the largest of the Canary Islands, part of Spain, but off the coast of Africa on the same longitude as Western Sahara and Morocco.

El Hierro

In Columbus’ time, El Hierro was considered the limit of the known world in Europe. For over 1700 years, the smallest island of the Canaries was the land of the Zero Longitude and the ocean beyond was the realm of the unknown. Today, a lighthouse at the Western end of this enigmatic island marks the meridian site. Hierro’s claim to fame does not end here. It is a beautiful and wild island of many contrasts.