Tenerife Redux – Day Before Takeoff

It has been a slight irritation in the back of my mind that I feel I’ve been losing marks on several university modules because I haven’t been doing day-by-day blog posts. I’ve always done the project, then looked back at it analytically, evaluating and assessing it, and highlighting the main points of arguments and developing around these points. Supposedly, this makes the examiners job easier and quicker, and it’s also my preferred method of reporting on my academic experiences.

But not anymore.

I have noted that several fellow students have scored significantly higher for doing not much more work than I myself have done, which means quite simply they’ve evaluated / analyzed their work better than I have. There always seems to be a running theme as well – they’ve adopted to a day-by-day blog approach, full of all little emotional reflections and seemingly irrelevant things like team in-fighting and resolutions, methods of transport used to get to locations, and what they had for lunch. Well, I’m done trying to please examiners – ‘hand as much as you can in, you can’t lose marks for doing too much work, but can be deducted marks for not doing enough’. Okay, fair enough. I’ll take this notion to new extremes – I’m a guy that clocks up 3000 words blog posts by accident.

Tomorrow I’m going to set off for Tenerife – the second time this year. The first trip – which happened in April – introduced me to a variety of people working in a house for the Atlantic Whale Foundation – a charity organization dedicated to wildlife conservation. We worked off tourist boats mostly, earning free rides by helping the crew out with various tasks. During these trips, we recorded interactions between the boats and the local marine wildlife. This in turn introduced me to various members of the crews.

In particular, there are two ‘sailor types’ who I will be particularly looking for on this return journey – Massimo Pye, who helped us film a small advertising featurette for his boat the Katrin (the link to which can be found here), and a budding camera woman called Candy, who operated on several boats. Me and Candy got on really well, but we failed to trade mobile numbers successfully (yes, it was that bad), and ended up never getting to say goodbye to each other. Back at the AWF house (which we will not be staying at this time around), there is the land lady and housekeeper Teresa, for whom I have purchased a little gift for, for being so friendly towards me last time. Most of the faces from the last venture have long since moved on, though I do believe two friends who I became acquainted with – Joe and Marko – will be on site upon my arrival. Joe never left Tenerife, but Marko is returning on this Youth Exchange placement the same as me.

Candy’s the one on the right. She’s on a boat somewhere on the south coast, and unless we’re frequently out on them like last time, it’s doubtful I’ll be able to find her. The first time I ever went out on a boat was a six hour expedition on the Must Cat – a boat that was to become one of my favourites, due to an eccentric captain, friendly crew, my first scuba dive, some of the best food I had whilst out there, and the crew’s ability to play practical jokes on unsuspecting tourists – just like they did here. Of course, I got badly seasick on this initial voyage – Candy kindly gave me a wrist band to stow my seasickness. It worked, and I wore it on every boat ride since.

The big difference this time around is that myself and my friend Laura are planning to hike around the island for a week or so after the placement is over, to investigate the north side of the island which we have never really been able to explore. I will blog day by day as I go through the placement, and then onwards through the hiking all around the island’s perimeter.

This will be the third time this year me and Laura have been abroad – but the first time when we’ve not had some university module looming over us. This was taken on the last Tenerife trip, very possibly on a night out in Las Americas. 

As always, there’s also a ‘death list’ of unfinished business that I am now willing to come back to collect in full:

1. Re-unite with old friends – Pretty much as mentioned above.

2. Get the PADI certificate – I have a scuba ‘try dive’ last time, and have decided to attempt the ‘Open Water’ course. This will allow me to dive – without guidance – up to 18 meters anywhere in the world. Yes, this will give me access to ship wrecks on the ocean floor… and that’s good enough for me!

This was the first time I ever scuba dived, during a 30 minute break out at sea on board the Must Cat. I had no prep-talk about re-pressurizing or the psychological effects of breathing underwater – I literally jumped into a wetsuit and jumped in. The guy’s name was Scott, and he was a British diver advertising ‘Atlantic Divers’, who operated locally. Maybe he saw a glint in my eye – me and him dove deeper than any of the other tourists did, right under the belly of the boat. We saw a sea turtle, and he brought me face to face with it. He said he was only in the business for the chance to get people scuba diving – he must have known I’d be a sure-sell! 

3. Visit La Laguna – Apparently this is the party capital of Tenerife – a university town that by night operates like a hardcore version of Las Americas (our usual haunt). Myself and Laura will visit this place during our hike, and I’ll see what all the fuss is about.

4. Conquer Teide ‘Media Style’ – The volcano in Tenerife’s centre is something I have now conquered twice before, both times failing to photograph the sunrise. To add insult to injury, I now plan to base an entire documentary around the one spectacle. It’s weather-dependent media, which means I can’t make promises. But imagine if it all goes right.

5. A Sense Of Fun And Romance – I can assert that last time my efforts were – to say the least – a little ‘dulled’ with regards making interactions with other group members. This could have been due to several professional or personal factors, none of which are obstructing me this time round. This final point isn’t a mission to go high-flying with some ‘bonnie lass’ – it is merely a way to remind myself that I should let my hair down more and enjoy life a little more than last time. If I can honestly say to myself at the end that I chilled more this time, that will be this one ticked off the list!

I’m also aiming to reach a ‘Spanglish’ level of Spanish dialect, and perhaps come back with a few more salsa moves than I did last time. Oh yes, and of course:

6. Sing A Karaoke – I was perfectly willing to do this last time, but for some reason just never got round it (as aforementioned in Point Five…).

Six goals, four weeks, last chance. I do not really plan to return to Tenerife any time soon after this expedition (believe it or not, Ibiza is actually slowly falling into my crosshairs as the next island to ‘conquer’). Hopefully Teide will hold off it’s overdue eruption just a few more weeks to grant safe passage through this mid-summer expedition. If it doesn’t… well, I may have to change my documentary idea 😛

Wish me luck! x

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