|Diving in Tenerife - Photo by flickr/zell0ss|
Bob diving in Tenerife
The newest craze for tourist diving is Bob-Diving. This is a kind of underwater scooter that can go to depths of 16 feet. Your head is inside a big transparent sphere for maximum visibility, not unlike the diving suits of the past, but much less heavy and cumbersome. Your legs are in a semi sitting position like being on a moped or scooter, straddling your oxygen tanks and you can move around with the maximum of ease. Your arms however are completely free, which means you can feed the many exotic fish that will flock around you. You can even stroke them as they are so tame. BOB stands for Breathing Observation Bubble, and it is very James Bond. The scooter is motorised and very simple; you press the button to go forwards and use the handlebars to steer.
For the more experienced diver, you can go and discover the many shipwrecks around the island and peruse the many volcanic caves, and even suspend yourself form underwater cliffs. The shipwrecks are also magnets for all kinds of aquatic life from the microcosmic barnacles, to manta rays and even sharks.
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Shipwrecks and Pirates
|Photo by flickr/maczydeco|
There is a darker past to some of the shipwrecks, of piracy and treasure smuggling. This is the land of the real Jack Sparrows. By the 16th century the Canaries were prime hunting grounds. Small coves allowed private cruisers to hide and attack galleons transporting diamonds and gold. Pirates hid in bays that could only be found with a compass that did not point north, hence their skill at hiding from the authorities. In 1562 John Hawkins, an accomplished privateer and established diplomat from England, was a regular trader with Tenerife. He made many connections during these trips and often used his persona to suit situations. With a Young Frances Drake under his wing, he set sail for Guinea, attacking Portuguese ships on the way, pillaging towns and capturing over 300 Africans. He continued to the West Indies blatantly to avoid Spanish legislation, and threatened to burn settlements to the ground, unless landowners relieved him of his human cargo for a tidy sum. This was very financially lucrative, and this earned Hawkins the inglorious title of England’s first Slave Trader.
More recently a case has just come to a conclusion after 7 long years. Three men from Cornwall were contracted with the Spanish government to dive and work on a Dutch vessel in the area. Prosecutors sought a 6 year jail term, but agreed to the lower sentences after the men pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of damaging and stealing metal ingots from a different wreck nearby called Don Pedro. They were accused initially of stealing gold and diamonds from the wreck, and destroying Spain’s cultural heritage.
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