The Canary waters are traversed by more species of whales than any other region of the world's oceans. "Whales are a natural wonder. We have to help them survive, we owe it to them," says marine biologist Natacha Aguilar de Soto. She specializes in marine mammal communication and prefers to conduct research in Canary waters. Her latest assignment takes her off the coast of El Hierro.
El Hierro is the smallest island of the Canary Islands. Until the discovery of America, it was considered the western end of the world. In a natural environment largely untouched by humans, the giant lizards have been able to survive to this day. Juan Pedro has made it his life's work to care for them. He is a proud Herreño, tall and strong, once champion in Canarian wrestling. He also still masters the "Salto del Pastor", the jump with the help of a long pole, with which the shepherds used to move effortlessly through the rocky terrain.
On Tenerife, the largest island of the archipelago, Spain's highest mountain rises, the Pico del Teide, a good 3700 meters high. The indigenous people did not dare to walk on it. Geologist Gladys Rodriguez knows what filled the Guanches with such awe: The mighty volcanic cone rises up into the clouds, often beyond them. On the steep crater walls and scree fields, all life seems to be extinct. For the volcanologist, the multifaceted Teide is "a unique open-air laboratory."
Together with its counterpart on La Palma, the 2426-meter Roque de Los Muchachos, Teide serves as the site for the European Northern Observatory. The research complex on La Palma is also located in the middle of an unreal crater landscape. It has a dozen or so telescopes, including the largest reflecting telescope in the world. Up here, where discussions revolve around dark matter, distant galaxies and the birth of stars, one feels transported to an alien planet.
La Palma is called "La Isla Bonita", the beautiful island. Victoria Torres cannot escape this beauty. After long stays abroad, she has remembered her roots and is fulfilling a dream here. She cultivates old vineyards again and harvests Malvasia grapes. The heavy, honey-sweet white wine was the island's most important export product for a long time.
The volcanic soils provide the aroma of the grapes, so the wines develop a unique characteristic.