37 CANARY ISLANDS Cruise the Canaries with Fred. Olsen Fred. Olsen offers a great choice of cruises to the Canary Islands, with itineraries taking in other exciting destinations along the way too, including Senegal, The Gambia, the Cape Verde Islands, the Azores and Madeira. You can choose to sail from seven ports around the UK, or fly-cruise from Gatwick or Manchester. For further information or to book, visit fredolsencruises.com, contact a travel agent or call 0800 0355 226 www.fredolsencruises.com La Gomera’s links with Christopher Colombus La Gomera may be the second smallest of the Canary Islands but its place in history far exceeds its diminutive size. It was here in 1492 that Christopher Columbus set anchor at San Sebastian to refit his ships and stock up on supplies before heading off across the Atlantic Ocean. A month later, the ships departed with provisions to last the five week journey which would lead to the discovery of the Americas by Europeans. San Sebastian is full of well-preserved buildings from Columbus’ time, including a building said to have been the great explorer’s home when he returned to the island before his second and third voyages to the New World. The Casa de Colon is home to a variety of Columbus artefacts, while the Torre del Conde and the Ermita Church, also from this age, give you a true feeling of what life must have been like on these islands when pirates and explorers sailed the waters. Unspoilt Nature on El Hierro El Hierro remains the least spoilt of the Canaries, probably due to its location to the extreme south-west of the group. This isolation has allowed El Hierro’s wildlife to flourish and in 2000 the whole island was made a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. While the centre is covered with pine and evergreen forest, the coastal cliffs are sparsely vegetated and home to the famous ‘Giant lizard of El Hierro’. Thought extinct in the 1970s, these two-foot long lizards were rediscovered, successfully bred in captivity and reintroduced to a number of sites around the island. The sea life around El Hierro has also remained untouched. Manta Rays, Tuna and Puffer Fish attract scuba divers from around the world. Beaches and Water Sports on Fuerteventura Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands. With over 150 sandy beaches it attracts sun seekers and sports enthusiasts alike. The variety of water sports on Fuerteventura is breathtaking – from scubadiving in the crystal clear waters in the north, to surfing and wind-surfing on the more exposed beaches on the south coast. Fuerteventura is also a great place to sail and fish. When you have had your burst of energy in the wind and waves, or kayaked or snorkelled the warm waters of the abundant reefs, it’s time to relax on a beach. From the black sand beaches and idyllic coves to the endless palm-fringed whitesand beaches, the choice is yours.
Closer Magazine Winter 2013-14
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