Under An Island Sun – Episode 14

The main characters from the story

Mairi suppressed a sigh as she put the Land-Rover into gear.

Already the whole atmosphere had changed. In contrast to the friendly chatter of a few minutes ago, all conversation stopped, and a stony silence descended.

The only consolation was that Hilary, used to dealing with awkward types and quietly exerting her authority, was with her.

That wouldn’t last. Once they arrived at the southernmost resort of Morro Jable and met up with the rest of the group, passengers would be divided between the three vehicles according to language and capacity.

Hilary would be transferring with them, while Mairi took more English passengers.

She could only cross her fingers that the two men might lighten up and enter into the spirit of the day.

After the delay in collecting their passengers, Hilary wasn’t surprised that they were the last to arrive at the meeting point near the harbour.

Antonio glanced at his watch but didn’t say anything, instead introducing himself and the others and explaining the route they’d take.

When Antonio divided everyone between vehicles, Hilary joined him, along with Marcus and Astrid and another German couple.

With Mairi taking on a young couple, two older ladies and the two men, and Philippe organised with his four French passengers, their little convoy was soon on its way.

After just a few minutes, the asphalt road gave way to a track which twisted and turned as it climbed steadily, leaving all traces of civilisation behind.

Volcanic crags reared above them on one side, while flat lava rocks stretched down like a plain to the sea on the other. This felt to her like the
real Fuerteventura.

Perhaps a little too real. Hilary couldn’t help some consternation at the fact there were no crash barriers or markings of any kind.

Just a few inches of earth pushed up at the edges stood between anyone straying off the track and toppling down the slope.

With the canvas roofs of the Land-Rovers down, letting in fresh air and allowing wider views, she was glad to notice the presence of roll bars.

Hopefully they wouldn’t be needed, but it was nice to know they were there.

After a while, they reached the highest point of the track and pulled in for everyone to get out and take photographs.

“This is where we can see both the east and west coasts of Fuerteventura,” Antonio announced, making a sweeping gesture while Hilary and Philippe translated.

“Behind us, to the east, is the calmer sea, while ahead is the wilder west side.”

There was a collective gasp as they all took in the scene in front of them.

About a mile further on, past a plateau of rubble-like ground dotted with cacti and a few goats, massive Atlantic breakers crashed on to a seemingly endless white sandy beach beyond a tiny cluster of houses, all backed by mountains fading into the distance.

“The beach we can see is the Playa de Barlovento, the tiny hamlet is Cofete and the mountains are the Jandia Massif.

“A marvellous sight, is it not? And you’ll be excited to know it’s our next destination.”

When they got to the beach itself, Philippe took over the commentary.

He had to shout to be heard above the pounding waves.

“We will spend half an hour here before going on. Please be back in time, do not go in the water and don’t be tempted to swim.

“The currents are very strong, even close to the shore. You can easily get swept out before you realise what’s happening.”

As the tourists wandered off, cameras at the ready, Hilary pulled off her sandals and started to walk along the sand.

The new sense of wellbeing engendered by her surroundings made her hopeful that Isabella’s pregnancy would proceed successfully, ending with a healthy little brother or sister for Hugo.

Turning round to take in the scenery behind her, she noticed Mairi and Philippe were walking together, pointing out the waves and mountains.

It was natural that they should gravitate to each other, being similar ages, but some sixth sense again told her they looked right together.

“Isn’t this amazing?” Antonio’s voice, raised above the ocean’s roar, startled her from her thoughts. “This is my favourite tour.

“Just wait until we get to the Jandia Lighthouse, then taste the paella cooked fresh before your eyes at the small fishing village nearby.”

His smile was so infectious, Hilary couldn’t help laughing.

“I’ll look forward to that.”

Possibly emboldened by the invigorating Atlantic air, she was about to ask why he had chosen to live and work on a Spanish island when shouts behind them made them both spin round.

To be continued…

An error has occurred while loading your details. Please click the following link to try again - if the issue persists, please don't hesitate to contact us. Try again by refreshing the page.