Crispy Nuggets From The Chip Pan Of Tenerife

If you haven’t got a map of Tenerife etched on your brain let’s just imagine that our wonderful island is a deep chip pan with the north east corner being the pan handle. My latest assignment was trying out a new sea taxi from Nautica Nivaria serving Anaga National Park, a walkers delight in that north east area beyond Santa Cruz.

The address for the pick up point was a bit misleading so after an early rise I changed Titsa buses in Santa Cruz and got the 910 to San Andres (above). The journey took me through the new 560 metre tunnel under the Via Litoral, part of the long revamp of the area between the port and the city. It’s a good few years since I ventured up that way so I had a quick look around, the sea promenade has had a bad few years with big storms twice crashing over and across the road to threaten buildings. A barrier out at sea didn’t calm the next storm waves and the argument still rages, I was thinking this as a few random spots of rain plopped down. There are always oil tankers moored just out to see here and sure enough I counted six of them lurking.

The large orange beach of Las Teresitas is just a short walk beyond so I had a quick peek, despite the dark clouds there were plenty of bathers waiting for the sun to put his hat on. Controversy has stalked this beach for years over alleged corruption at the planning stages but it is a lovely spread for the good people of Santa Cruz to enjoy. By now I had asked directions and found I was way off beam so I grabbed a bus back towards Santa Cruz and got off half way at the Darsena Pesquero, a vast old dock that has seen better days. One of the old chaps fishing for scraps pointed me in the right direction and I found the entrance to my awaiting boat at Sector Five – Cueva Bermeja.

The boat trip was fantastic complete with blazing sunshine but that’s destined for , two hours later I was back on solid ground windswept, wet and exhilarated and as Santa Cruz didn’t look far I decided to walk along the port service road that runs parallel to the main road. After a good 20 minutes hike I realized that the exits I needed were all locked up and I was being funneled down to a busy road subway, luckily a half open gate offered me an alternative to retracing my steps and I squeezed through. No walk is wasted and as I passed the various docks I found some great old machinery at the gateways, the first was an old steam engine the La Jurada, made in Germany and used from 1927 to 1965 to transport huge rocks that helped to build the Santa Cruz ports. Further along I found a steam crane from Grafton & Sons of Bedford dating back to 1920 and put to good use locally from 1934 to 1956.

That little swell of patriotism was further boosted when I passed the La Palma steam ship, an old friend from several previous visits. This former mail ship between the Canary Islands was built in Middlesborough and is nearing the end of a big restoration project. Past and present sit in close proximity to each other in Santa Cruz, over in the main port the latest cruise ship visitor, Oceana, was looking majestic and dripping in money. Later touring around the heart of Santa Cruz I noticed many British passengers among the 2,000 on board the 10 decks were topping up the tills of local coffee shops and bars. All this mooching about didn’t leave me much time to check up on some of my usual points of call in the capital but I can do that next trip – unless I get sidetracked of course.