For the past few days we’ve been put on a state of alert in Tenerife, with warnings ranging from yellow (low risk) to orange (high enough risk to warrant sitting up and taking notice).
Whilst most of the inclement weather has been confined to high winds and black ice in the highland areas on the cumbres and around Mount Teide, at sea level there’s been very little in the way of noticeable bad weather to report.
In reality what we’ve experienced her on the north west coast was one day which would have been classed as a typical dreary autumn day in the UK.
Although when I mentioned to a Spanish friend that the weather was like a British autumn day, she laughed.
“Not quite,” she corrected me. “Maybe more like a day at the end of summer, beginning of autumn in England.”
I suppose she had a point. The coldest day was still hovering around the 20 degrees mark.
However, there’s also been an orange band around Tenerife on the weather map on the Spanish Meteorological website and it’s been at the coast where the weather has been at its most spectacular.
The other night we were watching television when I became aware of a loud rumbling. It sounded as though Mount Teide had decided to relocate and had chosen where our house stood as a prime spot.
“What the hell was that?” I jumped up from my seat and went to the front door.
We’re probably about 3 kilometres inland, yet the sound of the waves crashing on the shoreline was deafening. I half expected to see the crest of a Tsunami appearing above the palms (note to self: stop watching ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ during winter months).
It was only when we went into Puerto de la Cruz to watch Man United initially coast, then nearly self destruct against Derby in the Carling Cup semi-final last night, that we were able to witness how impressive (or frightening depending on your point of view) the sea was.
The Atlantic was putting on a right old show. Waves which must have been 5-6 metres high were making a mockery of the sea defences and crashing over the seawall which runs the length of the town’s free car park. Understandably there weren’t many cars in the car park, so we were a bit nervous leaving the car.
Incredibly there were plenty of ‘thrillseekers’ walking along the harbour wall to get a closer look at the waves. Most looked liked visitors, clearly unaware that the Atlantic likes the odd sacrifice every now and again and it’s not uncommon for people to be occasionally swept off the wall when the sea is throwing a wobbly.
Even the normally sheltered harbour was a seething cauldron and the little fishing boats which normally spend the night on the pebbly beach had been pulled to higher ground.
The best place to watch the Atlantic when it’s putting on a show like this is at Punto del Viento. Where from the safety of being thirty feet above the sea, you get a free show as huge rollers sweep past Plaza Europa (last night above the level of the plaza itself) and crash into the rocks below where you stand, filling the air all along the promenade with a fine mist.
Thankfully the car hadn’t ‘gone amphibian’ by the time we returned, so with Man U winning and nature putting on a free show it was a good night all round.
The orange alert is still in place this morning, but the sun’s shining and although the waves still look pretty impressive, they don’t look much bigger than they usually do at this time of year…and the surfers at Playa Martiánez seem happy to have some big boys to play with.