Seaside delights of Los Silos in the Canary Islands
Tenerife Sun was a Tenerife newspaper
For several years I was a columnist for the Western Sun which became known as the Tenerife Sun. In this popular free Canary Islands newspaper I wrote mainly about the wildlife of the island.
I would visit different locations and make some notes about what I found, as well as getting some photos of anything of interest. I would then go home and write up a story for the newspaper. The following article about Los Silos is one of my past columns.
Los Silos photos
Treasure at the seaside in Tenerife
Isn’t it funny how we often know so little about the places near to where we live and yet at the same time know all about some distant location? Los Silos is a town just a short bus ride away from where I live and yet I had never been there so I thought I had better go and investigate.
Of course, knowing that Los Silos has a strong agricultural past, I didn’t realise that most of my visit would be spent by the sea, which is what happened. Where I got of the bus was more in keeping with my vision of Los Silos as a town surrounded by farms because just up a narrow side road surrounded by banana plantations was a shop selling organic fruit and vegetables, much of which was grown on the land alongside it.
I stopped to have a look at the shelves laden with tomatoes, onions, peppers, citrus fruit and other healthy organically grown produce. But I hadn’t come to do any shopping and after admiring the massive Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa) outside, which would dwarf any of the best specimens grown in a British lounge, I bought an organic fruit and cereal bar and went on my way.
Above where the shop was towered the majestic mountains of Teno and there were signposts for Tierra del Trigo and for Monte del Agua, both places I wanted to visit in future, but I had come to see what was in Los Silos so I made a mental note of the pathways leading from there, and headed into town.
Los Silos is a very charming place with cobble-stoned streets, and a typical Canarian square with a bandstand and a café bar. There were plenty of shops in the town’s streets too, but, like I said, I hadn’t come there to do any shopping, and I set of to see what I could find on the coastal side.
A walk of a couple of kilometres took me to the outskirts of Los Silos by the sea and there I found a natural swimming pool, a gymnasium, restaurants and a beach. There was also a rather wild looking expanse of coastal land covered in typical scrub and vegetation that thrives in such habitats.
I love to see what wildlife I can find so I decided to have a look on the beach and on the ground that bordered it. One plant that I found growing on the ground at the top of the beach I was pleased to see for myself in its natural habitat, and that was the endemic succulent spurge known as Tolda (Euphorbia aphylla). This strange plant with green fleshy branching stems and no leaves is known to grow on the coasts of Teno and here it was just like my books had said.
Pleased to having found this plant species I decided to scramble down onto the rocky beach and see what I could discover in the rock pools I could see from above. In one of the first I looked in I spotted a small creature about half an inch long gliding across the marine vegetation and recognised it as a species of bubble shell I had until then only seen in books. I had found my first Miniature Melo or Wavy-lined bubble shell (Micromelo undulatus).
Bubble shells are a primitive type of sea slug and still have their shells as well as intricately patterned bodies - the Miniature Melo was dotted with white on a bluish violet background and had a shell in the middle that looked like it had blood-red veins. You can always count on finding some treasure at the seaside I always think, and this tiny bubble shell proved I was right!
NB: Originally published in the Tenerife Sun
Where is Los Silos?
© 2009 Steve Andrews