The Canary Islands


Main beach in Arriceffi, Lanzarote.
The Canary Islands
Before I write anymore about our experiences in the Canaries, I should tell you a bit about them. They are a small archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa and are an autonomous region of Spain. The group is made up of seven major islands and numerous small islets or rocks. Interestingly, the islands are not named after the well known little yellow bird that lives on some of the islands; it’s the other way around. There are a few opinions about where the name came from, but the most accepted is that it derives from the Latin Insulae Canium - The Island of Dogs- from the fierce, large dogs that roamed the islands.

How is this for high tech?
Thanks to Dad/Grampa Miles for a slightly more high-tech view of the Canary Islands. That's Africa in the lower right corner.
A few of you have asked about the weather here. It is sub-tropical and very much like coastal Southern California. Although we have had a lot of rain during our time here on Gran Canaria, we are on the wet part of the island. Apparently, it doesn’t rain much on the south side. At any rate, the climate is hard to beat. Not too hot or humid and sticky, and not too cold. It is easy to see how sailors end up here for years.
It is obvious that the islands are volcanic in nature and the most prevalent theory is that the islands formed out here from volcanic activity. However, there is apparently some evidence pointing to a possibility that Lanzarote and Fuerteventura broke off of Africa. They certain look like they could fit judging by a map. The eastern islands are considered to be about 20 million years young (as me old pappy describes things less than a couple hundred million years old), while the farthest west islands of La Palma and El Hierro are only about 3 million years old. The most recent volcanic activilty was on the western island of La Palma in 1971.
The majority of the native Stone Age inhabitants, the Guanche, were killed off by the Spanish by 1495 and the islands became an important stopping point between Europe and the Americas. Columbus set sail from here and the routes he set are still the standard for travelling to the Caribbean. Each year hundreds of yachts sail from the Canaries to cross the Atlantic. For many years, the islands were subjected to raids from Arabs, Dutch and English. Lord Nelson lost his arm in unsuccessful battle for Tenerife in 1797.

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