A line on the sea

Roque Teneguía and a line on the sea
Roque Teneguía and a line on the sea

La Palma sits in the trade winds. Most days of the year we have a stiff breeze from the northwest. That creates most of the island’s climate: the wind hits the island at Barlovento (which means “windward”) and gets flows uphill. As it rises, it cools down and forms clouds. Sometimes it rains, and Barlovento is the wettest part of the island with a metre of rain per year. By the time the cloud flows down the western side of the island, it’s less humid and it’s warming up, so the cloud evaporates. Tazacorte on the west coast is the sunniest municipality in Spain.

The west of the island is also less windy, because the mountains form a giant wind break. This extends offshore. Sometimes, near the southern tip of the island, you can see a line in the sea. On one side you have the rougher water churned up by the trade winds; on the other, smoother water in the lee of the island.

By the way, the big, pale outcrop in the photograph is Roque Teneguía. More on that soon.

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