Day 11 on board the Stad Amsterdam
My last official Blog
Motoring through the night the ship rolled left and then right. I woke occasionally just long enough to wedge myself more securely in my bunk and then drift back to a peaceful sleep. Just before dawn I got dressed and went on deck to see the lights of Tenerife. Anthony Smith, the Beagle VPRO artist. He took out his sketchpad and quickly drew the rugged outline of the island.
Before we enter the harbor, the pilot boat approaches and delivers the pilot who will take the ship to its’ berth behind a long jetty. A few people in a van and car photographed us as we glided to a stop, tying up at the key. The sounds and smell of Tenerife rose up to greet us.
When the Beagle arrived at the port of Santa Cruz at Tenerife with Charles Darwin, in 1832, there was a cholera epidemic and FitzRoy was informed that the Beagle would have to remain in quarantine for 10 or 12 days before anyone would be allowed on the Island. FitzRoy decided to go on to Cape Verde, and Darwin was forced to give up his dream of walking in the steps of one of his hero’s Alexander von Humboldt, who visited the Island and climbed to the summit of its volcano, El Teide, in 1799.
But, Sarah Darwin was going to fulfill her great-great-grandfather’s dream. With a guide she and Fleur and a camera crew left to climb the volcano. Redmond was suppose to go as well but had to stay aboard because of doctor’s orders. I was happy for that even if he was not. To reach the summit, we were told that there would be a 2 and half hour drive, followed by a 2 hour climb to a primitive climbers cabin where everyone would spend the night. To reach the summit the sunrise the team would have start climbing by 3 in the morning. While it sounded like great fun, I knew it would be a hard journey.
Meanwhile the Ashton Brothers were one of the first to leave. Redmond would say that imminent death is something that would make fast friends out of the most unlikely people. I would like to add to his list, laughing together. Before Bert and Chaneke left, Chaneke found a plastic Barbie doll case that the 15 million year old egg could be transported in back to the Netherlands for testing.
Katya, continue packing scientific instruments that also would be returned to Holland, while she instructed volunteers on the ongoing work of collecting plankton.
I had today and tomorrow to explore Tenerife. Today, I took in the Natural History Museum. While it wasn’t of the caliber of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, it did offer the opportunity see quite a bit of the wildlife and geology that we missing. Afterwards I found Mojo’s restaurant and café. They were serving mojitos, a rum drink I first had during my visit to Cuba. I had started walking across Cuba in 2003, while rules for U.S. citizens visiting on education visas were possible. I have always wanted to return. Thought the circumstances are different, I am sure I will feel the same way about leaving Stad Amsterdam; I will always want to return.
28º 28.1 N
16º 14.5 W
23.9 º C