I had a rather interesting trip to a little volcanic island called lanzarote this week.
The land is mostly covered in volcanic rock left after massive eruptions in the 17-18th century.
It dosnt sound like it but it is a popular holiday resort.
As with everywhere i go I look for old skills and knowledge which is of interest to me.
There is very little growing here except for cactus and succulents. The animals come out at night due to the heat.
However there is lots to discover and people have lived here for hundreds of years surviving volcanic eruptions pirate raids and lack of water and food. Amazing really.
Over the week I was there I toured the island and visted the fire mountain which is the only active volcano on the island. There is a legend that an old hermit lived on the volcanoe for 50 years with a camel and cooked his food over a thermal vent. In fact we visited and had chicken cooked over the same vent and it was delicious. The temperature is a constant 250 or so degrees C. the heat coming from far below ground. In fact a bucket of water was poured down and it boiled into a geyser of steam in about 6 seconds.
Apprently the hermit collected water by digging down where the plants grew in the valleys between the volcanos and knew what plants were good to eat. The guide became quite excited when i pressed him for info as he was used to the usual tourist questions and probably quite bored. It turned out he was a bit of a bushcrafter himself though didnt know it.
His name was Jorge. He showed me a few plants in the area.
The canary Palm produces a fruit which can be eaten and a sweet milk. The young shoots can be eaten aslo.
Aloe vera is very common also and is well known for being good for sunburn among other problems.
In fact aloe vera is sold in jars while outside the shop is grows wild. You can just cut a bit off and the gel oozes out.
He also showed me a few catus like prickly pear whos flower pod is edible.
Other catcus were used as water resivoirs and the spines used to spear fish. In fact one had curved spines like fishing hooks and he told me that he used to catch fish like that when he was a boy with twine make from palm.Not sure if it was native though.
Later in the trip I had the luck to meet a falconer who was hired by our hotel to chase pigeons.
He had a beautiful harris hawk which was 2 years old and male. While i watched it snatched 3 pigeons out of the air and they were dead before they hit the ground, quite fantastic.
In fact there was so many pigeons that the hawk flew off and the trainer paniced and sprinted after it blowing a whistle.
I also had a go at a few other things. One good little project was polishing the base of a coke can with chocolate and toothpaste to make a convex mirror. I was then able to light a peice of buffed palm fibre to make fire. the sun was very hot indeed.
I also made a small discoidal knife from volcanic rock i found which appeared to be a mix between basalt and obsidian, strange stuff but razor sharp and very good for cutting aloe vera for sun burnt shoulders.
Of course i also had time to lie beside the pool sunbathing, drinking beer and most importantly and best of all playing with my baby daughter.