12th to 24th April 2016.. For Fred Olsen Cruises
Having been asked if I would be available for this trip as an on board speaker it really did not take too much thinking about to accept the invitation . The Canaries in the springtime what could be better a smooth crossing over the Bay of Biscay was a must .So with a selection of talks submitted and bags packed it was down to Falmouth in Cornwall to set sail on ‘Boudicca’ which is has been in service since the 1980’s but is only 880 berth so it is not one of the floating ’ villages’It really was quite incredible how organised it all was with bags, information and everything else running like clockwork
Three days at sea saw the ship finally dock at Funchal , Madeira after seeing many Cory’s and the odd Fea’s petrel out on the sea, with really great views of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins on the approaches . It is an amazing place with almost every piece of ground growing vegetables or some kind of fruit .
A visit to the Palheiro gardens brought a whole new slant on semi tropical plants to me with a good view of a Madeiran Firecrest . Stunning views over Nuns Valley completed the day before boarding the ship in the midst of a floral display all around the harbour. The journey onwards took the ship to Santa Cruz at La Palma here it was Sunday and everywhere seemed to be closed but the overriding memory was not only the wonderfully painted old waterfront houses but a photography exhibition in the main street all about wildlife and people around the world , it was’ right up my street ‘ As we left the harbour later in the evening the crew put on their ‘crew cabaret’ which was great particularly set against the night sky and hundreds of lights shimmering like stars a truly magical moment made funny as the on deck swimming pool moved from side to side with the swell and managed to catch some guests unawares .
Berthing at Santa Cruz , Tenerife I had elected to go on the gardens tour two very contrasting sites one a well established botanical garden on the north of the island whilst the other close to the city and planted on the site of an old land fill site showing a wide selection of Palms from around the world .