Dolphin spotting at Amarilla Bay
If you live on Tenerife, or are on holiday here, you have probably seen the adverts for the whale watching trips and maybe even been on one, but it is sometimes possible to spot Dolphins and Pilot Whales without going out to sea. Flicks Bar in Amarilla Bay where I am a regular performer on Sunday afternoons is one place they can be seen from.
I have never seen any myself but Mike the landlord assures me they are there and I am told they swim across the bay most days. This I can easily believe because I was with some friends in nearby Las Galletas a while ago eating pizza on the sea front and one of my companions was pleasantly surprised to see a Dolphin jumping out in the ocean.
I was tucking into my meal and missed it but I live in hope and back in Amarilla Bay there's plenty more interesting flora and fauna to keep me happy. Montaña Amarilla, the Yellow Mountain is just round the corner from the pub and as a nature reserve is well worth a visit.
Tenerife's Amarilla Bay sights to see on land or sea
Amarilla Bay is a popular holiday resort area in the south of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. It is known for its yellow mountain.
Dolphin spotting at Amarilla Bay
A volcanic cone
A low stonewall shows where the conservation area begins and there are several well-worn pathways for you to take. Besides naturalists the area also is popular with naturists and there's a beach where nude sunbathers congregate just at the foot of the cliffs.
If you climb right to the top of Yellow Mountain there is an amazing volcanic crater and excellent views around the area and out to sea. Usually I find my feet taking me walking along the coastal path to Amarilla Golf or on the desert area that surrounds it.
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For visitors to Tenerife
|Canary Islands (Regional Travel Guide)|
“Looming volcanoes, tumbling waterfalls, lava fields and trails of camels loping into the sunset… Those who love the Canary Islands know there is a captivating flip side to thos...
Cacti such as Prickly Rears
The contrast of the dry and stony desert right next to the Atlantic Ocean fascinates me and there are patches of ground that sparkle white with the salt that has been left by the briny sea spray.
Just out of reach of the waves and wind there are plenty of Prickly Pears, clumps of the cactus-like Cardón and some other really interesting plants to be found like the strange succulent Cardoncillo, which grows in places on the side of the mountain.
With its distinctive fleshy grey-green stems and clusters of reddish-brown flowers followed by 2 long seed pods it really stands out from the crowd amongst the scrubland vegetation. It is in the Milkweed family, the plants that are the food of the caterpillar of the wonderful Monarch butterfly, although I don't think it eats this species.
Its cousin the Cornical can be seen twisting and rambling over clumps of other plants that grow there, especially the Cardón, and like the Cardoncillo it has unusual long seedpods, which point in opposite directions.
There are usually plenty of Red-winged Grasshoppers too and the first time I saw one of these was exciting because before I came to live here I had only seen them as pictures in a book. I never manage to get a decent photo of this type of grasshopper and to capture one on the wing is a near impossibility but I'm optimistic that one day I will.
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Bath White butterfly
Another insect I have often seen whilst walking there is the Bath White butterfly with its white wings mottled with black. It is very common here on Tenerife but very rare as a visiting migrant to the UK, and again it was exciting seeing my first specimens of these, which before I had only read about in books.
This is another part of the attraction the island holds for me. Tenerife is a place you can find and see and experience things you have only read about or seen on TV.
Coming back from Montaña Amarilla just before you get to the bar there is a concrete jetty jutting out into the wave-washed sea, which always has a lot of Sally Lightfoot crabs scuttling about on it. You often find anglers perched on the rocks there as well and I am told that Garfish are one of the types of fish often caught there.
A TV documentary
The area is very popular with those who like snorkelling and diving and there's a whole wealth of underwater marine life too. Even the seabed near Montaña Amarilla has been used for the filming of some scenes for a TV documentary.
After you have had enough exploring Amarilla Bay area it is handy having Flicks so close where a cold pint of Dorada is enough temptation for me. If you fail to spot any actual Dolphins as you gaze out over the ocean you can always admire the fountain instead, which has these amazing sea mammals sculpted into it.
Footnote: Originally published in the Western Sun, November 17, 2005.
Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.