Big Deal As Arona Carnaval Hits The Streets

Loud, brash, and fun. Three terms you could apply to Veronicas in Playa de Las Americas, and Las Vegas, the American gaming capital, which just happens to be the theme of the 2017 Arona Carnaval. I had the ZZ Top version of Viva Las Vegas buzzing in my head as I dived into the preparations for the Cabalgata opening parade in the slip road outside the Veronicas strip.

Often thought of as the Los Cristianos Carnaval, the Arona Carnaval always kicks off in Playa de Las Americas on a Saturday evening. A good mix of early evening revellers and afternoon sports watchers in the local bars, were spell bound by the frantic last minute adjustments to costumes as the music and dance groups assembled on their alloted starting grid. Coaches on the main road above arrived packed with feathers, sequins, drums, and high heels as year long plans came together in a blaze of colour.

So what´s the difference between the Cabalgata and Coso closing parade? The opening parade is less outrageous as it features many of the younger groups, everything is more accessable at ground level ( the big high floats come later with the Coso) and it has more of a family feel to it. The candidates for the showpiece events like Carnaval Queen, were there in more formal wear and free of the metal support cages that help them glide across the big stage when trying to win their crowns. The hopeful six for the main crown looked magnificent in their matching red and silver outfits.

There´s always at least a nod towards the theme of the year, playing cards were a safe bet this time. Lots of old characters were lurking, religious figures in particular, the church is the main butt of the jokes at Carnaval time. Lent was always strictly imposed on the poor people at this time of year, taking meat out of an already limited diet. In recent years there has been a big influx of cartoon and super heroe influenced costumes,call me old fashioned but I like to see the fairy tale figures out in force.


Cinderella was flashing her twinkling slipper, and the Queen of Hearts was shadowed by her little white rabbit. The parade is a long walk down through the golden mile to the Oasis shopping centre, so those with heavier outfits did their best to pace themselves.The royal candidates got chauffered in open top cars while others gave the illusion of getting a lift but still had to do the foot work. As an official opening, the Cabalgata throws down the gauntlet for the entertainment to come over the following week and a bit. Many of those taking part in the first parade will also pop up again in the Coso, along with lots of cheeky works in progress that will give the organisers a few grey hairs as they wait to see how far the jokers will go.


Prepare to dance, and prepare for late nights. The showground in Los Cristianos will be the focal point for the duration. There´s a fun fair a short stagger away, with a giant sized ferris wheel, listen out for the sound of beating drums, roll those dice, and off we go.

Arona Fighters Stage A Knock Out Night

The sad sight of David Haye shambling around the ring like a drunk did little for the public image of boxing but my first taste of live action showed me me why it´s called the noble art. Los Cristianos sports hall hosted nine amateur (three rounds) and two professional fights (six rounds) filled with skill, power, determination, and a refreshing respect for the sport and oppoments.

 


A dedicated team of referees, scorers, time keepers, and medical staff made sure it all clicked along professionally and with safety the over riding concern. That didn´t detract from the intensity of the contests, the gloves were pounding, the muscles pumping, and the tactics subtle and well drilled. First up was Pablo Luis, he survived an early tumble to grind down Joel over the three rounds and take victory. The second match up saw Raul narrowly defeat Adrian of the home club Real Boxing. Each winner got a trophy, and the runner up got a medal, as well as plenty of appreciative applause from the crowd up in the bleecher seats.

The next contest didn´t get beyond the first round, Chiky launched straight into his opponent, Sandro and with a fierce combination of punches put him down. Sandro was clearly dazed but got plenty of time and medical attention to ensure he could collect his medal, a consoling hug from Chiky, and then leave the ring. Head protectors were worn in the next fight as both fighters were under 18, Kilian, a late substitute, saw off Diego Medina after a close contest.


One of the closest and hardest fought bouts brought together home favourite Mihail of Real Boxing, and Alberto Arley. These two really slugged it out and either would have been a worthy winner. After the scoring forms were collected, Mihail just shaded it. The big tv fights aren´t the only ones to enjoy a touch of glamour, the girls from Chocolat paraded the round number cards in the rests and looked every bit as good as their Las Vegas contemporaries.

Back to the action. Saul and Cotu gave their all before Saul got the nod to lift his trophy after a little wobble from Cotu. Everyone loves a showman, Jerday played to the crowd when he entered the ring for the next fight. He showed he was made of stern stuff, surviving a small cut above the eye to clinch the contest. Womens boxing has had to battle hard to get equal billing, every boxing event poster I´ve seen around Tenerife seems to include at least one female bout, Melissa Tudge and Patri showed that they could match the men with their skill and all action style. It was a very even bout with Patri ending up the winner.

The two big professional fights of the night featured fighters in the heavier weight brackets and the contests were very different. First on was Jacobo (Caco) Barreto from Anaza against Siliviu Costea from Romania. It was a short contest as Caco floored Siliviu in the first round with a thunderous punch. The last clash went the six round distance as Adasat (Toro) Rojas took on a late replacement, Ullrich of Cameroon. Ulrich was a bit slower than Adasat but he was tough and solid and took everything that was thrown at him. Adasat wasn´t sure what to make of him at first and had to use all his ring craft to alternate tiring body punches with head shots that he hoped could bring a knockout. At the finish they both knew they had been pushed all the way but Adasat clinched it thanks to his higher work rate and more adventurous approach. Fight nights are pretty frequent in Tenerife and always great value, this latest was 15 euros on the door and here is the gallery of photos.

Getting Down In Isla Baja With Titsa And Teno

Just add a knotted hankie and I would have looked like a stereotype Brit abroad. I didn´t care though, I was so happy to finally get to Punta de Teno on the north west corner of Tenerife that I had to feel the sea gently lapping at my pigeon legs exposed by rolled up jeans. Adveristy had dealt me a kind blow, the old cliff road had crumbled away last year and the replacement needed protecting from too much traffic. The Titsa bus company introduced a new shuttle from Buenavista del Norte and that was just the encouragement I needed for a big day of adventure.


An early Saturday morning start got me to Icod on the 460 bus from Playa de Las Americas, just after 9.30 am, I had a few alternatives in mind in case the weather kept up its frisky mood of recent days but the emerging sun was kissing the corkscrew roads beyond Santiago del Teide. With time in hand I had a wander around Icod, their Pirate Carnaval was on and a big wedge of home made chocolate and almond cake from a street stall further lifted my mood.


The next leg was a 30 minute hop to Buenavista del Norte via Garachico,I filled my 30 minute wait there with a catch up around the main church plaza and a coffee at the lovely bus station bar, La Gran Parada. There´s something about bus stations in the Isla Baja region that atracts great mural artists, this bus station also had a pleasing offering. So the deal with the new Titsa 369 shuttle is it only runs on weekends and holidays, hourly from 10 am to 5 pm as that is when the access road to Teno is closed to pretty much all other motorised traffic. The fare is one euro each way (cash only) and includes a leaflet with basic info about Teno as well as a guided commentary on the 30 minute journey, those extras come in a range of languages.


What a fabulous journey it was as the road rose to reveal the coastline far below. A manned check point before the steepest climb added a few more passengers who had parked their cars or realised they couldn´t continue walking up the road, especially as it goes through a large tunnel hewn into the cliff. The steel mesh pinned to the towering cliff above us should prevent further rock falls and is a reminder of the mischief that nature can work. Arriving at our destination the views out to Masca and on to Los Gigantes were superb and the relative lack of people due to the restrictions was a big bonus. With nesting Ospreys, giant lizards, and a wealth of rare plants, the new protective plan is very important, a Guardia Civil van underlined this point.


I was surprised to see a mini fishing port, and it was on their launch slope that I twiddled my toes. There are a few modern additions like concrete driveways that serve the Teno lighthouse, and a couple of portaloos but there´s nothing on sale anywhere so if you bring water or a snack, make sure you take your rubbish home. There are a couple of enhanced low ledges to dangle a rod from but swimming is not a good idea as the currents in the area are notorious. A gate on the driveway prevents access to the lighthouse up on the rocks beside the entrance there is a clear view. Lighthouse spotters are known as farologists and apparently getting to see one is known as bagging it.


There are plenty of paths to explore and nice viewpoints along the coast, it was a pleasure to be at this amazing area, the small number of visitors made it feel very serene and untouched. After an hour the bus returned with another sparse cargo of people so I hopped on to begin retracing my route back to Los Cristianos. Low clouds were rolling in now but I still managed a brief stop off at an eerily deserted Los SilosThere was time of course for a few beers in Icod and the bus station bar had the Mallorca v CD Tenerife game on, the 1-4 away win completed a perfect day.

And The Sun Shone Down On Santa Cruz

White faced and with a sparkling blue top hat, the clown mimed pulling himself across the zebra crossing on an imaginery rope near the Meridiano shopping centre. Santa Cruz Carnaval was warming up nicely for the main events but this clown from the south of Tenerife had a full tick list to cram in before CD Tenerife v Elche.

The auditorium was my first stop after arriving on the 111 Titsa bus from Los Cristianos. Reports of the mosaic pattern peeling off the roof amid a row with the architect reminded me to give it a full 360 degree nosey. Apart from a bit of light scuffing low down it looked as majestic as ever, the cafe terrace facing the sea was overflowing and people were enjoying a sun kissed rest on the sea wall with the rock stars spread out below. Happy with architectural matters, I cut back through the bus station into the city centre and felt a sigh of pride at the Chicharro fish statue in its sea of new flowers.


The port always lures me down, as always there was a nice assortment of sea faring craft from the inter island ferries to the huge MCS Magnifica cruise liner. Further in, the marina I found the Rubicon 3 taking a rest from clipper racing. Originating from Plymouth, I bet it bobbed up and down a bit when the Green Army made life hard for Liverpool in the FA Cup. Tall mast ships were moored up further round, they are recruiting crew at this time of year for their adventure voyages, the Eye Of The Wind looked particularly fine, and together they partially masked the rather ugly oil platforms that call in for repairs.


Back in the busy capital city, shoppers were packing the streets as I passed through onto another favourite haunt, Parque Garcia Sanabria, it was ablaze with colour, well tended, and chomping at the bit for spring to come along. Whilst admiring the flowers I could hear a loud croaking sound which drew me to the big pond area. The murky green soup was full of tadpoles but many had already started turning into noisy frogs, it just needed Rupert Bear to complete the scene. I wouldn´t rule out seeing Rupert or any other cartoon character over Carnaval time, I can feel a few more walk abouts coming on.

Hear, Smell, And Taste The Almond Blossom Walk

Even two weeks after my latest experience of the Almond Blossom Walk from Santiago del Teide to Arquayo, the sights, smells and sounds are still with me. There´s a full report in the Canarian Weekly but with limited space for photos, here is the pick of the petals.

 

It wasn´t just blossom on the Almedro en Flor, there was history as we passed through the lava fields just beyond Chinyero where the last big Tenerife eruption of 1909 stopped in its tracks when the statue of the virgen was placed in its path.

The walk is backed by food and cultural promotions until 19 th February, the blossom will be at it´s best at least until then.

Two Sports In One Perfect Tenerife Day

I´d like to boast about my sporting prowess, all the medals I have won and records I have broken – only one problem, it´s just not true. I was the wimpy kid at school who always got picked last, even the smokers did better than me at cross country. Despite that, I love watching sport and with Canarian Weekly giving me free reign to cover as many different varieties as possible, I´m like Olly Reed in a brewery.


Tenerife is a magnet for professional sports teams and individuals, especially when the UK winter sinks its teeth into any bare flesh displayed in the name of competition. Arriving at T3 (Tenerife Top Training) in La Caleta to cover Hull Kingston Rovers training camp I was overjoyed to find that Warrington Wolves still had a day left of their 10 day trip and had arranged a training game against Hull KR. I had to brush up on my flimsy rugby league knowledge, the only live UK I had seen was at Wigan Warriors on a very boozy lads holiday up north – when I was still a lad.


Both squads and management were very helpful and the T3 complex is always a joy to visit, the two swimming pools always make me wish I´d brought my budgie smugglers. Warrington finished last years Superleague in second place while Hull KR (white corner on shirt)  were relegated to the Championship. There were a few clues to who was the higher placed club, Warrington (crimson red shirts)  had a bigger staff including two female masseurs who were treating players at two tables at pitchside, part of that could have been down to their stay being twice as long.


The game was played over two 20 minute halfs and was decided on tries, Warrington ran out 3-1 winners, but for both teams it was more about getting ready for the new season. Both squads had some powerful looking players, if they say it´s Tuesday then it´s Tuesday. Warrington coach Tony Smith (above with hat) was referee and laid down the guidelines before they started, basically competitive without getting too carried away -injuries were not part of either coaches plans for the visit. This was very much a working holiday, both coaches talked of the odd team meal out rather than the usual rush to Las Americas that most football teams seem to favour. It was a nice insight for me to see how rugby league teams run and left me with great admiration for both clubs.


The evening brought a change of sport and venue as I headed to CD Marino´s ground in Playa de Las Americas to see my beloved CD Tenerife take on a southern select side made up of players from the Tercera Division and Preferente League. It was a charity fundraiser for the people of Venezuela, there have always been close ties and movement of people between Venezuela and the Canary Islands. I expected a bumper crowd as it has been a few years since CD Tenerife played in the southern tourist zone but it was probably around 500 people. Some of my Armada Sur friends met up at The Whisky Jar but I was down at pitchside getting ready to prowl the touchline with my camera. The team sheet gave a clue as to what was to come, the Tenerife list had 33 players and even then there were others with unlisted numbers.


The big draw was to weigh up Tete´s new loan signing from Las Palmas, Tyronne (no 22) , from the start it was clear he wasn´t rusty from not getting regular games witht he Pios. Playing up front he looked strong and fast and created several chances for his new team mates. Choco Lozano was sharp and cracked in a stoater of a shot into the top corner of the goal after36 minutes. Half time brought wholesale changes, Angel Galvan got a chance in goal but had little to do, Oscar Gonzalez and Giovanni from the B team caught the eye, and Cristo Gonzalez was trusted with the captains arm band. With Tyronne going off after 59 minutes some of the fizz went out of the game but the young guns were keen to stake a claim. Giovanni showed his skills to set up Oscar for a 65th minute second goal, and when Giovanni had a one on one with the select goalie he slipped the ball sweetly past him for a 79th minute, game clinching third goal.


The charity organisers were well supplied with a seemingly endless list of donated raffle prizes, and non perishable food was also donated, near the stadium exit there was a tower of boxes full of long lasting food and supplies to ship out. All in all it was a mighty fine day, there was onmly one way to cap it off, a few Dorada´s at The Victory bar and I was able to wobble up the hill with a satisfied smirk on my face.

Doing Time In Oxford

Being hung was the least of your worries when Oxford Castle and prison were in their heyday. Anne Green survived it in 1752 despite helpfull spectators pulling on her body, pumelling her ribs, and putting her in a coffin. Mary Blandy asked to be hung low down to stop people looking up her skirts, she saved her blushes but still died and now haunts the castle mound. She must be a bit shocked at the huge buidling project fot the new Westgate shopping centre nearby, on my latest Oxford visit the sky was still dominated by giant cranes but the centre is taking shape and should be open by the end of 2017.

Every time I pop back to my roots, I have at least one Tommy The Tourist trip, the castle visit was shoe horned in on the day of my return flight to Tenerife so I paid my 10.75 for the first tour at 10 am when the frost was stinging cold. Empress Matilda, the grandmother of Richard The Lionheart was our character guide for the five of us as we entered the base of St George´s Tower with its nine foot thick stone walls. The Norman conquest of 1066 led to the building of the castle with the earth from the moat becoming the mound. Our informative guide added her story of escaping down to the frozen river and beyond on skates made from animal bones. The cold base of the saxon St Georges Tower made me shiver, and so did the tales of prisoners 10 hour shifts turning a heavy capston wheel. That time span was to become a recurring theme for all punishments and work details once the prison was established.

The 101 steps of the tower were a good wake up call for my hangover and the sight of the chimney of the defunct Morrels Brewery brought a tear to my eye. Back down in the foundations we were stirred by talk of ghosts. A tight passage led us to the prison section and D Wing, a small remaining part of the prison, it closed in 1996 and a large part is now an expensive shopping area and a posh hotel that will cost you an arm and a leg. Talking of arms and legs, Matilda told us of mutilations and robbed body parts at public hangings as we crowded into a cell. It was all delivered with a gallows sense of humour and plenty of relish at the most gruesome parts. The pillary, tall version of the stocks, sounded fun, locked in and dreaming of being pelted with rotten fruit as excrement (don´t ask whose) and rats were hurled at you. Oh and for good measure your ears could be nailed to the back board to keep your chin up.

What heinous crimes could get you banged up? Anything from stealing a back of sugar to having a saucy tongue when talking about the Queen could win you a free holiday. Later prison governors were quite happy for inmates to be used for medical research, and if your thinking this is ancient history, the last Oxford hanging was in 1962. There was an opportunity to pose for mug shots against the inmates wall, these were quickly converted into grainy and aged looking photos complete with your crime and sentence. Talk of treadmills, cranks, and the origin of the officers nickname screw” made me glad I couldn´t be punished for the childhood nicking of sweets from Woolworths Pick and Mix.

 

The guided tour took just over an hour, once outside I took advantage of the pass for the castle mound (included in the price) treading carefully along the upward spiralling semi thawed track. At the mounds top it was weird to look across to the old Co Op offices I started work in when just a young pup. Public hangings from the grassy peak were the big sporting event of the times with people turning up drunk and lusting for blood and possibly a few bits of bone or fingers as souvenirs. These days it would be endlessly repeated on Sky. Back at the bottom I popped into the Castle Yard Cafe for a warming coffee, they do food as well – as a nice cheeky touch they serve porridge.

 

Blowing The Dust Off Christmas

Flitting around trying to find a clear route, I was like a junkie looking for a decent vein. Deep down I knew my last Tenerife walk of 2016 was penance for liquid over indulgence through christmas but it was a balance I was happy to strike. Barranco de Chijas was hazy in my memory from the first time I did it 10 years ago and I was struggling to find the true path just above Valle San Lorenzo in Arona.

This was going to be a special Christmas Day walk but a midnight downpour trapped me in a bar and delayed my treat. Talking about that crazy weather, strong, swirling winds, and an on off calima (dust blowing over from Africa) had been dogging the last few weeks but it was bright and sunny as I took the 25 minute ride on the 418 Titsa bus from Los Cristianos. The coldest part of the walk was the steep climb up the well signed La Tosca turn from opposite the BBVA bank in the main street of Valle San Lorenzo, if I had kept on straight up I would have been fine, basically keep to the right of the Terrero (Canarian wrestling stadium).

Running water is a big feature of the walk, old concrete channels criss cross the route and several of them were roaring down at a cracking pace to irrigate fields. Low down a series of interconnecting clearings gave me a chance to assess my surroundings. The barranco ravine carved its way upwards, weaving around old deserted houses as my rough earth path worked its way over large bolders. It didn´t look much of a rise but looking back the views opened up down to the hazy calima dusted coast. A modern water pumping station gave way to the much more elegant old viaduct andpigeons and doves surprised me as they fled from bushes at the sound of my crunching feet.

Amazingly some landmarks tweaked my memory despite my long absence, a couple of impresive trees caught my attention as previous sandwich stops. The trees kept a stubborn hold on their exposed hillsides despite a keen but fairly warm wind and time passed quickly. The highest point of the walk is Salto del Chopo but with the wind whipping up and the mornings newspaper warnings of further strong gusts, I decided not to push my luck, and sterted my return trip after just over two hours. Tyre marks in the loose dirt had made me think of scrambles motor bikes but that idea was soon corrected as a helmeted and elbow padded trials cyclist came flying down behind me. I just side stepped out of the way in time and was alert by the time another whizzed by ten minutes later with a cheery wave.

It was a lot easier walking downwards and spotting the correct finishing stretch, it’s imprinted on my little pea brain now so I can sprint out of the traps when I return again soon. Valle San Lorenzo is always a good place to visit as it has a good choice of bars and restaurants and the bus service is frequent with two main services pasing through.

 

 

 

 

 

Green Silver Pink And Blue On My Path To Christmas

Easily confused at the best of times, my head has been spinning like that girl in The Exorcist as christmas has crept up on me. There´s been some good stuff going on, keeping me busy for Canarian Weekly so I reckon I owe you all a catch up before the madness of sprouts, beer, and desperate loitering under the mistletoe takes over.

Wandering is never far from my plans so it was good to do a double whammy, the green Titsa bus whisked me up to San Miguel and Granadilla, mainly to check out the christmas decorations but there’s always a few surprises along the way. Checking down the back streets of San Miguel I could hear a band tuning up and was hopeful of a live show, especially when the guitar burst into the opening bars of Sweet Child Of Mine. It was coming from inside a school, not bad for a christmas concert, all we ever got was All Things Bright And Beautiful. The detour gave me the chance to admire the citizens statue put up to mark the towns 200 year celebrations in 1998. The christmas decorations were pretty good too but not as many as last year. The day was young so I hopped on the next bus up to Granadilla, another favourite of mine.

I thought it was a little chilly but a digital read out pegged it as 21 degrees. The buildings of Granadilla in the narrow streets always impress me with their slightly austere look but the giant murals at regular intervals add a splash of history and culture. The church decorated in a minimalist way but a council crew were loading some imitation wrapped presents up high in the branches of the trees as I dribbled my churros with chocolate.

December means the Walk For Life, I’ve witnessed it evolve and grow into one of the best events of the year. Pink is the colour for the fight against breast cancer and I was swept away by the sheer enthusiasm and upbeat spirit as always. The route was shorter this year, from Compostela Beach shopping centre to the Magma Centre in Playa de Las Americas, better for some of the older walkers on another scorching morning. It’s like a glorious assault on the senses with so much music, drumming, costumes, and wonderful people who have lost loved ones but celebrate their lives in the best way, by helping to raise awareness and funds to spare others the same pain. Here’s a link to my collection of photos from the morning.

With the earlier finish I was able to dash across to see the second half of CD Marino v Union Puerto. I must have been a curse, 0-0 when I started prowling the touchline but within minutes of the restart they had let in a soft goal and ended up losing 0-2 and had a penalty saved.. The festive break always leaves me hungry for the return of football so it inspires new hope in me, CD Tenerife had lost 1-0 at Levante the day before so i´m hoping for better from both teams in 2017. Hopefully I will be a bit more regular with my blog posts but stick with it I have plenty of plans among my resolutions.

Logos Hope Makes A Book Mark On The World

A floating library might seem an odd setting for a stage performance of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe but the Logos Hope is an extraordinary ship not bound by frontiers, languages, or conventions. The converted car ferry was on a 10 day stopover in Santa Cruz, and I got to meet just a few of the 400 crew members drawn from 60 countries.

Even among a bumper crop of luxury cruise ships, the fourth ship of the GBA (good books for all) christian charity organisation made a big impression and had a steady stream of visitors treading up the gangplanks. I made my way through the visitors section with video histories in Spanish and English playing on the screens, and strolled through the ranks of 5,000 books for sale. There were a lot of religiously inspired books, well they are a missionary project, but also lots of modern thrillers, travel tales, and childrens books. Sales of these books go towards funding the ships voyages, volunteer crew members also pay for their passage by raising sponsorship, there are only 10 paid full time crew.

Captain Chris Hughes, originally from Bristol,gave me the full tour, after 40 years experience with tankers he retired and has served on two of the earlier GBA fleet since 2006, he´s also an experienced north sea pilot. There was an unmistakable pride in his vessel and crew and it was noticeable that the crew we met on the tour were very relaxed, no salutes and even the uniform is functional rather than  formal. They all seemed young to me (well who doesn´t) but the skipper pointed out that they even have an 80 year old on the crew.” They all have to apply to join us and need to have a basic fitness level but they undergo on shore training for health and safety before even stepping on the ship.” There are other basic boxes to tick. “We are an evangelical movement so they have to be committed christians, we segregate male and female crew, the two or three bunk sleeping quarters are single sex, there´s no alcohol, smoking, or drugs allowed on board and the ships working language is English. Once on board they get allocated specific duty groups like books, galley, cleaning, engine, and deck.”

Whilst admiring the view up on the bridge, the captain told me more about the 40 year old ship. “It used to be a ferry between the Faroe Islands and Denmark, so when it was bought and converted in Germany in 2009, new stabiliser sections were added and a new upper deck. There are 4 engines, two propellers with variable pitch for better manouvering, and we normally travel at a fuel saving 10 knots although it can go at 15 knots.”

 

The bridge seemed very uncluttered and minimalistic but it was deceptive, the computerised navigation system zoomed in on their next course to Guyana picking out every fine contour and detail of the sea with a light touch of the captain´s hand. Continuing the tour downward, the 400 seater theatre was being prepared for the show, big screens would translate it into several languages. Passing the galley, the smell of freshly cooked bread tweaked my nose, and we had a peak inside the hospital the dentists office, and at the engine room from a safe distance.

A chart on the wall of another area showed details of one of their main missions, supplying water purification systems, they also supply eye glasses and clothes, and do some teaching, painting, and anything they can do to help at their ports of call. Since 1970 the organisation has visited 160 countries. Captain Chris stressed that they have to be invited, they don´t just impose on destinations, they have even visited some muslim countries. It was time for me to swap the gentle lapping of the ship for dry land as the crew prepared for another long spell at sea. With so much to do I´m sure the time must fly by but if the crew ever get bored they can always read a book, they have another 800,000 in a warehouse to back up the on board library.