Honeymoon Report Part 3: Fuerteventura and the wreck of the American Star
Seeing as how we’ll probably be coming up to our first anniversary by the time I finish recording the honeymoon, and given that I’ve finished all my work for today, like a good girl, I’ve decided to crack on with the honeymoon report. You lucky, lucky, people!
So, last time on “When will Amber stop talking about her wedding and honeymoon?” we met a badass camel, got the flu, and did quite a bit of shopping at Zara. You join us now as our intrepid explorers (that’s me and Terry) prepare to leave Lanzarote and journey across the ocean to the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura – and make quite heavy weather of it, to be honest.
Fuerteventura is only 30 minutes away from Lanzarote on the slow boat, and ten minutes away if you take the fast boat. Naturally, we took the slow boat, and it took us no less than two attempts to actually get on the thing. The first time, we drove to the town the boat leaves from, purchased our tickets… and then sat slowly frying in the car for a couple of hours waiting for the boat to turn up. The boat was late, we were hot, and, to cut a very, very long story short, by the time the thing finally nosed its way into the harbour it was too late to get on it, because we’d worked out that we’d need several hours on Fuerteventura. So we went home and came back the next day. This is why it’s a good idea to PLAN AHEAD, kids.
Anyway, the reason we needed such a long time on the island was because we had a PLAN, people. Yes, a PLAN. Normally we are totally plan-less – we are ministers without portfolios, if you will – when we travel, so this was quite exciting for us. The plan was to go and see the wreck of the American Star – a passenger ship that wrecked off the coast of Fuerteventura in 1994. The ship is hard to find, and even harder to reach, having wrecked off a treacherous stretch of coast, far from civilisation. Reaching it is both difficult and dangerous, so obviously we decided to go.
Now, a little known factoid about me for you: I am fascinated by old, abandoned things, especially shipwrecks. I had stumbled upon the story of the American Star by accident, over a year ago, and had been looking forward to seeing it ever since. So it was with no small excitement that we boarded the ferry (eventually) and set off on our merry way. (During this trip I also discovered that I am scared of being in the car hold of a ship while the ship is moving, and also: while it is not moving. You learn something new every day.)
So, we reached Fuerteventura and disembarked at the town of Corralejo. Never go there. I’d actually been there before, on a day trip from Lanzarote with my parents, but in those days it was all fields. No, really. There was literally nothing there except a lot of sand dunes and a couple of big hotels. The sand and the hotels are still there, but they’ve now been joined by a lot of strip joints and other shrines to tackiness: the town is now huge (compared to what it was) and as ugly as sin. So we had a quick lunch and hit the road…
The American Star is on the other side of the island to Corralejo, and it took a couple of hours to reach that coast. Then we had to find the wreck. When the ship ran aground, back in the 90s, the people of Fuerteventura had indulged in a little light looting, then had left it the hell alone, because it’s far from the beaten track, and the waters around it are dangerous – in fact, 7 tourists have died trying to swim out to it. So you can totally see why we were so
stupid hellbent on seeing it. What the good people of the island didn’t do was provide any roadsigns to point the way to the wreck. Luckily, we had visited an Internet cafe in Lanzarote to find out where exactly it was. Unluckily – and also: stupidly – we hadn’t bothered taking a pen and paper with us to write down the directions, so we were relying heavily on memory.
What we remembered most clearly about the directions we’d read was that, in order to reach the wreck, you had to travel down the kind of dirt track you just wouldn’t drive down if you were in your right mind. We, of course, were not in our right minds, so when we found ourselves being almost shaken to death on a treacherous, rural road to nowhere, we simply whooped with delight and took the lens caps off our cameras, ready to capture the American Star in all its faded glory.
Here’s what the American Star looked like on the website I first found it on:
Here is the American Star that faced us as our poor little hire car finally rounded the bend that concealed it from our view:
So THAT sucked. I mean, who knew that sinking ships sometimes actually sink? Or that believing everything you read on the Interweb is one of those things that only stupid people do? Anyway, seeing as we were there, Terry built a cairn by the side of the road:
Then we got back into our car and drove all the way back across the island and went to the beach:
It was a nice beach, and I did manage to get this totally hilarious photo of me looking like a deformed hunchback (no offense to deformed hunchbacks, by the way) in the sand, so it wasn’t a completely wasted trip:
Anyway, this concludes part three of Amber & Terry’s Honeymoon Tale. Tune in soon for Part 4, and the amazing story of how Amber doesn’t get to drive a quad bike, but does get some new Gucci sunglasses. (Damn, I just totally spoiled the ending of that one, didn’t I? Oh well.)