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Day 6: Cofete


Previous days of the hike:
Day 5: Hike over the mountains to La Pared and a bus ride home
Day 4: A dead end while hiking. Feelings of relief in the air
Day 3: Hiking towards Ajuy and Flying to Barcelona
Day 2: Las Salinas - Las Palmas
Day 1: Hike across Fuerteventura & Travel across Europe

The Path Ahead

Outside La Pared I couldn't find a spot to go for a morning swim. The plan for the day was to take it easy. I had enough food and water so I didn't have to reach Cofete by the end of the day. For the first time during this hike I could see the other end of the island. I now knew I could finish the hike. I still had to cross the largest sand dunes of the island.

Details in the desert
Details in the desert
Details in the desert
White sand turning black
The colors made sense
Small path followed the cliffs

After few hours crossing the sand dunes I had to find an entrance to the long beach reaching Cofete. It had looked narrow on Google maps. In reality it was even more narrow than I had imagined. A small path was hugging the steep hills rising straight from the sea. Eventually small pockets of sand appeared underneath. It was mid tide so I could continue walking on the beach but I didn't see a way down. There was the option of continuing on the narrow path but it was slow and dangerous. Taking a small risk in order to reach the beach was worth considering. After stopping to look around my eyes caught a small landslide. Then I saw there were tracks traversing down the cliff. That had to be the way down. Earlier, at the end of the dunes I had passed a pick-up truck. On the beach I saw two people in the distance. They must have gone down from here.

It was a father and son fishing on the beach. They confirmed what I had suspected. The tide was rising fast. In order to get to the long beach reaching Cofete I had to pass three smaller bays. If I didn't hurry the tide would trap me in one of the bays until the sunset. After thanking the man for his instructions I started hurrying towards the first rocky outcrop. To get around it I waited for the waves to recede before making a run for it. The bays kept getting bigger and I started almost running. It was a race I hadn't expected and now it was draining me of any extra energy. On the second outcrop I had to climb over the rocks. The water was getting too hight and the waves were hitting the rocks with force. I had taken my shoes off not to soak them while jogging across the bays covered in water. For the last rocks I put my shoes back on and climbed higher.

The rocks on the island kept surprising
Last rock standing
Rocks and rising tide

After clearing the isolated bays the ocean was hitting the rocks with a proper splash. I had made it with some 10 minutes to spare. It was time to chill, swim and eat. A wooden palette made a perfect seat in the shadow of a big boulder. Sitting in the fine sand sounds great but in reality it goes everywhere causing friction in the long run. Think of toenails, space between toes, shoes, socks, camera... I had learned that on my first night. Few hours later my smaller camera Canon s100 broke broken. “Lens error.” Type flaw for that particular camera. Now I had an underwater casing but no camera for it. Why couldn't I enjoy these moments without cameras? This useless weight had to be taken back to civilization.

The beach was full of micro plastic. Why was it that the most remote place of the island was full of plastic when the touristic parts were unaffected compared to this place? Poseidon, could you redirect the ocean currents?

The most remote beach with the most micro plastic
Sand & Wind
Sand patterns 1
Sand patterns 2
Sand patterns 3

The walk to Cofete was shorter than I thought. It was getting dark fast and I had yet another decision to make. This decisions making would only cease to exist in the longest flat stretches of the desert. Rest of the time I was choosing where to step next while simultaneously looking at the horizon in order to make compromises between the shortest route, the easiest route and the most photogenic route, while adjusting the shoulder and waist straps to let the blood flow where it was most needed. I was hardly ever in so much hurry that a short detour wasn't an option. Other decision were consumption and comfort related. To buy 6 liters of water or 5 liters? I could drink one liter outside the store and save carrying 1kg. To wear blue fresh socks or the smelly slightly more cushioned dark socks? Sardines or peanuts for snack? All these questions took some processing power. Together my body and mind evaluated the options before spitting out an answer that felt right. Common sense, experience, flipping a coin. So, now my options were to sleep on the windy beach just outside the village. I would have time to take some photos in good light but I couldn't see any decent spot to camp. I kept walking towards the buildings on higher ground. The closer I got the sillier it felt to camp in sight of the village. The rock formation on the way there looked like trenches from a war zone. You want to film a war scene? Go there. The highest mountain of the island as a backdrop would make it an eye pleasing scene. I had no time to really start framing shots. The village was getting closer. Perhaps there was a store or a restaurant open.

Cofete

As my luck would have it half an hour later I was sitting in a restaurant with a huge plate of goat meat. An older german man sparked a conversation from the next table. He told how the building in the distance was constructed by the Nazis back in world war II. There is a whole history to the place. In short there is allegedly a tunnel underneath the villa. It goes straight to the ocean and can fit a submarine. The buildings are bravely build right under the highest mountain of the island on the main landslide zone. No lack of confidence, for sure.

Highest mountain and Nazi era hacienda

The plate of goat was too big and I had to take the rest with me wrapped in tinfoil. The TV showed news of Corona flue. Spanish government had closed Catalonia from the rest of the country. Was it really that bad or a political move? At that point I had no idea what was really happening in the news. There was hardly any signal in my phone and I had to save the battery for real emergencies. I had missed the evening light for photography but at least my stomach was full. The lonely looking german wanted to offer me a ride over the mountain. I thanked him and headed out of the town towards the darkness. Some more luck would be needed to find a campsite from the rock covered terrain. Eventually after stumbling around I had to resort to my head torch. The village was less than a half a kilometer away. The old lava river I found was far and deep enough to not hear the cars and generators. After some hesitation and searching for alternatives it felt like I had found the right spot to crash for the night.

Campsite the next morning

Next days of the hike:
Day 7