Tenerife’s Drought & Cruising to the Zoo in Tenerife News of the Week

Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

So Was it the Coldest Winter on Tenerife for Years?
The figures are in and the voting is over ““ was this the coldest February on Tenerife and The Canary Islands for years? With an average temperature of 15.5C it was the coldest February since… 2005. What short memories we have. The most recent coldest corresponding month was November 2008.

However, Tenerife Sur airport did register the lowest reading since 1981 with a ‘brrrr’ inducing 9.8C.

Interestingly according to AEMET (Spanish Met Office) figures it has been the driest winter for many, many years with December 2012 being the most arid since 1951. Although the tail end of a wet weather front affecting Europe brought some rainfall to parts mid month, it wasn’t enough to make an impact and rainfall is 80% below what it should be. This makes it almost as rain free as 1994 which, so far, is the driest winter season recorded between 1951 and 2011. Then, the rains finally came during March which helped provide some relief from the drought but the finally tally for the season was still a deficit in rainfall of 70%.

It might not have been the coldest winter for a long, long time but what happens over the next few weeks will determine whether it’s the most rain free one for over half a century.

The Tenerife Government has insisted that, as 84% of Tenerife’s water comes from underground sources, there will be no serious affects on water supplies in the short term and therefore no restrictions are necessary. Although they do advise that people use water sensibly.

El Hierro’s Eruption Over
It took months to actually get going but when the undersea eruption at El Hierro stopped it seemed to happen quite abruptly. In a brief statement on Monday, scientists declared the eruption process to have come to an end. They will continue to monitor the volcanic situation but for now that’s it; the show is over.

Like Selling Sand to the Sahara
It’s good to hear that Canarian wine is being exported to the big wide world even if it comes as a bit of surprise that over 20,000 bottles of the best of Canarian vinos from five vineyards is winging its way to the home of the American wine industry, California.
Why would Californians, whose own wines are light, fruity and smooth, import the more robust and earthy Canarian wines with their hint of rugged volcanic terrains?
The answer is that good Canarian wines are classed by Americans as a speciality wine with a uniquely exotic attraction because they’re made from grapes that don’t exist anywhere else.

Cruise to the Zoo
Tenerife’s Loro Parque and the public bus company Titsa are currently in negotiations to set up a bus connection between the port in Santa Cruz and the world famous zoo in Puerto de la Cruz. Cruise visitors will be able to step off their ship and more or less straight onto a bus that will drop them outside the entrance to Loro Parque. Seems like a sensible service that will be welcomed by many… except maybe companies selling shore excursions.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to”¦ General Tenerife Bad Practices.
No one person, organisation or business stood out enough to be awarded the TIT award this week, so it can be shared between three stories. There’s the Tenerife water company whose directors are making a hefty profit whilst four million litres of drinking water are lost during a drought due to pipes in desperate need of repair. Then there is the case of the police force who had to go to court just to get their unpaid wages for overtime from a couple of years ago. And finally, how about the municipality in the south of Tenerife whose workers built two new paths through the countryside and blocked up a ravine in the process. Locals claim their ‘improvements” could result in flooding when the rains finally do come.

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Braving “˜El Bravo’ ““ Tenerife’s Gigantic Waves

Winter Waves on Tenerife's North CoastWhat do you do when a gigantic wave, rearing to a height that would have cruise liner captains thinking about the Poseidon movie and wishing they’d opted for another career, is rushing toward you?

Most sensible people would leg it, but on Tenerife there are those who are more likely to grab a surfboard and try to tame the monster.

From the end of October through to March, the north coast plays host to some serious olas (waves) with the Spanish Meteorological Agency regularly issuing “˜yellow alerts’ for unruly seas.
Yellow alerts are meant to be minor severe weather warnings, but “˜up north’ these notifications aren’t always seen as a warning, but more as something to be enjoyed.

There was an alert last weekend and although the waves boomed angrily as they crashed on to Playa Jardín, the local lifeguards felt that the churning cauldron (aka the sea) only warranted a yellow flag ““ swim with caution. For water babies, the sea was more fun than dangerous. In fact the water’s edge often poses more of a threat as retreating waves there can snatch your feet out from under you as though you’d just been lassoed.

Tenerife's Sea at Sunset during a 'Yellow AlertThe most serious danger posed by the waves is to those on dry land who ignore the red tape used by police as a warning to steer clear of sea defences and harbour walls. It’s not uncommon for unwary visitors who want to get a better view of the rolling spectacle to find themselves closer to freak waves than they had anticipated and an unlucky few have been swept away as a result.

Employ a bit of savvy and these Atlantic rollers are wonderfully hypnotic forces of nature to simply sit and be “˜wowed’ by. However, for some obviously mad people watching them just isn’t enough.

Every so often a natural phenomenon creates a series of real monster waves up to 10 metres high. For some reason these giants have taken a serious dislike to Punta Brava near Puerto de la Cruz and turn up there every so often to mug the coastline. The unique ‘super waves” only occur in a few places around the world and are known as el bravo (the brave) ““ although personally I think the title is more apt for anyone who’s deranged enough to try to get up close and personal to them. Meteorologists can spot them forming about three or four days before they reach land, plenty of time for surfers from around Europe to descend on Punta Brava so that they can meet one of the surfing world’s biggest challenges head on.

3. PAUL OKANE. EL BRAVO. FOTO - JOSE V. GLEZ

However before any enthusiastic surfers out there get all excited and start packing their surfboards, check out this photo by Jose V. Glez of Australian surfer Paul O’Kane being dwarfed by “˜el bravo‘ at Punta Brava. If you’re still keen after seeing that I’ve only got one word to say to you”¦ RESPECT.

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