There are two essentials to island hopping, namely islands with enough contrast to warrant a hop, and an easy means of making such a hop. These days, it's easy to take in the multiple personalities of the Canary Islands in only a few short hops by hydrofoil and high-speed ferry.
Charles Darwin was impressed: shortly after the great naturalist began his five-year voyage on which his theories evolved, he sailed past Tenerife in January 1832. "The first of many days never to be forgotten," he declared, even though he was banned from landing because of fears that HMS Beagle might bring cholera.
The Canaries have featured in some of the world's great voyages, so it is fitting that they boast some excellent repositories of the stories of the sea.
Watersports are one of the great strengths of the Canary Islands. The north-easterly trade winds that once filled the sails of galleons from Portugal, France and Spain now propel windsurfers, tug at kites, and ruffle the hair of yachtsmen, sea kayakers and surf dudes. Scuba divers and snorkellers, too, have much to enjoy: this corner of the Atlantic is rich in marine life, including dolphins, turtles and a few species of (harmless) shark.
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