While Exodus was docked safely in the Gran Tarajal marina, we rented a large car with grandma and did a road trip.
Turtles and beach buggies
First stop was the Morro Jable turtle nursery, only accessible for children. We checked if moving the boat to Morro Jable would be an option but there were no staff to be found in the tiny government run marina. Morro Jable is a fisherman’s village that is converted in a touristic place of interest and is located in the Parque Natural de Jandia. This is a protected area and takes up most of Fuerteventura’s appendix. On the map it looks a bit like a toe sticking out on a foot. Protected means that tourists can’t go and race on dunes by themselves. They have to book an organized tour and stay on the designated paths. The preferred means of transport are SUVs or beach buggies. While driving around the village we crossed a convoy of at least 30 beach buggies, each one looked thrilled at the prospect of driving in a single file through the big sand dunes on their toy cars, dressed up for a true desert expedition. Not our cup of tea.
Fuerteventura, or strong winds according to the Italian map maker that named the place, has no lack of wind. The constant winds blowing onto the north facing beaches provide a paradise for surfers and windsurfers. We drove over the Isthmus de La Pared, the narrowest point of the island, around to the other side of Jandia, where the Playa de La Pared attracts surfboards in all shapes and sizes. Against all expectations, our rental car did not like the little sand track we took to the beach and punished us with a flat tire. We quickly put on the spare and drove on to the next vistas.
From La Pared we drove through the Monumento Natural de Montana Cardon on to the Parque Rural de Betancuria in between the Montana Blanca and the Gran Montana. We stopped at the Mirador de Morro Velosa to have a better look. The landscape is very barren, consisting of sand and stone dunes, old volcano tops, large plains and lavascape. This might sound boring, but high up on the mirador and driving on the winding roads the different shades of brown, ochre, red and far out the bright blue sea did not bore us. The younger volcano tops have fertile brown red soil and soft green vegetation. This creates a velvet impression, and plays tricks on your eyes as its perceived softness makes it difficult to see where the contours of the mountain lie. Cacti are spotted everywhere, like being in the Wild West. Aloe Vera is also very common but given its current success as a health and beauty product is farmed properly these days. The old volcano tops are also a chosen place for star gazing as the higher you are the less interference you have from the simmering soil. On the Mirador de Betancuria, overlooking the mountains, are the statues of two Majoreran kings, King Guize and the other to King Ayoze. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the island was divided into two kingdoms, Maxorata (in the North) and Jandía (in the South), separated by a wall, over the La Pared isthmus.
Tiny oasis towns and molinos
The valleys in between the volcano tops are often quite fertile and sparkling green. If there is water around plants really thrive. We visited the old capital Bethancuria, where the first church was built, and some nice old houses could be seen. On our way back towards Tuineje ancient wind mills could be seen in various stages of restoration, another typical feature of the landscape.
A hole in our heart
And then the time had come for goodbye. Six weeks together with the boys during which we enjoyed each other’s company, we saw and experienced a lot. We covered 2 countries, 6 islands and 1040 sea miles. Six weeks that were way too short for what this lifestyle can offer them. Six weeks only offers a small taster and by the time everyone has sea legs and is benefitting from this specific way of doing this, they are forced to rip themselves loose and go back. Returning to what is considered by their father -and enforced by the Belgian judicial system- to be the only acceptable way to grow up into healthy well-balanced adults. There are no words to describe the pain this brings to our family unit. We sent them off each with a big portion of homemade paella in their backpacks, already counting down till the next school holiday…