We had a break from SOTA to visit the various tourist attractions on the island. Although neither of us are particular fans of zoos we decided we would visit Oasis Park. The park itself had started as gardens and then developed over time to include animals. At least the animals, mainly African, were nearer to their natural habitat and had plenty of space so we enjoyed our time there.
A lemur in Oasis Park
Another museum was visited on the Monday, the museum of salt. Salt was an important commodity throughout the last four centuries on the islands and Fuerteventura has the last remaining and still worked salt evaporation pans. We found some more geocaches to finish the day after attending a geocaching event but we started to plan our next SOTA activation.
The salt pans at Salinas del Carmen
Another early start on Tuesday 18th December saw us drive west from our resort through the village of Tetir and up a dirt track to park as close as we could to our target, Aceitunal (EA8/FU-003). Our final aim for the trip was to activate a SOTA I had chased previously. There was only a choice of two and the other, Fraille (EA8/FU-004) was at the southern end of the island requiring a long walk up a valley to a col and then following south the crest on the west coast of the island that has Pico de la Zarza (EA8/FU-001) to the north. Neither looked easy, neither had geocaches to offer help with planning nor did they have trails on the maps, but we thought we had seen a way up Aceitunal. This proved to be partially correct.
The view of Aceitunal (EA8/FU-003) from where we parked
We parked to the east of the summit on the relatively barren side of the mountain (the other side has mostly unused agricultural terracing much of the way up) with a walk of about 1 km and an ascent of 250 metres, so nothing too difficult. We started well, climbing up the now expected loose grit covered slopes using the rocky outcrops to make good progress. These rocks became more frequent until we reached the main ridge which was all rocks with many scrambles required. The wind had been absent lower down but from here it was strong and our constant nagging companion. At this point we encountered a fence that kept the goats on one side of the mountain. The fence ran the whole length of the ridge so we followed it the best we could until we reached the summit, probably not the best route.
The ridge scramble following the fence begins as we see the summit of Aceitunal (EA8/FU-003)
After enjoying the views we set about the activation hoping that working QRP would provide as many contacts as on our last summit, Pico de la Zarza (EA8/FU-001). I started on 17 metres and managed a quick 7 contacts although conditions were not great with the band sounding quiet. Helen took over on 20 metres making 12 contacts with a summit to summit with 9A/S56LXN/P. I took over but the band quietened with only another 5 contacts in the log.
The view to the southeast from the summit of Aceitunal (EA8/FU-003) including our car near the centre of the photo
Me activating Aceitunal (EA8/FU-003)
The view north from the summit of Aceitunal (EA8/FU-003). From near to far you can see three SOTA summits: Montana de la Muda (EA8/FU-008) with the transmitter site on its side; Montana de Enmedio (EA8/FU-017); and Morro Tabaiba (EA8/FU-018) which we activated earlier in our holiday
I added a rock to the cairn on Aceitunal (EA8/FU-003). The unactivated SOTA summit of Cuchilos (EA8/FU-10) is visible directly behind
Coming down we chose to walk further along the ridge to a col and walk down a bit towards the terracing which made the descent easier than the way we had come up. We followed goat tracks (although we saw no goats on this side) running parallel to the ridge until we came to a point we recognised. We could see the car so we knew where to go.
Helen coming down on the west side of the summit of Aceitunal (EA8/FU-003)
Looking back up at the northeastern summit scrambles of Aceitunal (EA8/FU-003)
Our holiday was nearly at an end but we still had the rest of the day to visit some more museums, the cultural museum of preserved buildings nearby in Tefia, the Los Molinos reservoir with more water than we had seen anywhere else on the island (but now too brackish to use for agriculture) and the cheese museum which actually had more than just cheese, describing the formation of the islands, their habitation, the goats that people brought and the meat, milk and cheese that these provided for the people.
On Wednesday 19th December we headed home to a cold and wet East Midlands airport. It had been a good holiday with 5 SOTA activations and all our targets achieved even though we did not plan as much as we would normally have done. Hopefully it will not be another three years before we visit these islands again.
See more pictures in the album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/g6wrw/albums/72157702092451062