Dawn at the Roque

Sunday, August 3rd 2003

After my second night at the telescope, I drove up to the top of the mountain in the early morning sun. Like last time, the views were incredible and there was no-one else up there but me. To the north was a sea of clouds; to the south, I could see the chain of volcanic cones which runs down the spine of La Palma. In the distance I could see Tenerife, almost a hundred miles away but quite clear.

After that I headed home. I spent one night at sea level in Santa Cruz, and I had a little bit of time to look around. I wandered the cobbled streets, feeling a bit like I was jetlagged after two nights at the telescope. During my first trip I was still recovering from my African travels, and what with missing the flight on the way to La Palma, and then feeling wrecked by five nights of observing, I hadn't really noticed what a beautiful island La Palma is. Now I could see that it was rugged and wild, but I didn't have time to go and explore. I decided that if I ever got another chance to come back here, I'd see much more of the island than just Santa Cruz and the mountain top.

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