Ajuy, Fuerteventura…I’m sure that you have heard about pirates from movies and cartoons, or about those from Somalia. I have an older brother, and I played his LEGO Pirates when I was a toddler (against his will ofc!) and I must admit, it was my favourite. My boy friends dressed up as pirates at Kinderbals when we were 5 or 6. When I was in the elementary school I watched Disney’s Peter Pan and The Pirates of Dark Water. And of course I watched Pirates of the Caribbean recently. As a landlubber I may not know much about real pirates, except that they existed, and still do, but what I do know is that their ships were never moored at the docks.
Recently I visited a few places dedicated to pirates of the past. First I saw bays and caves in Crimea and more clearly in Tarkhankut. They were used by the pirates of the Black Sea. They weren’t breathtaking, but the thought of walking where pirates walked was thrilling to me.
The most amazing pirate hiding places I found in a paradise called Fuerteventura. The trail to the Pirates Caves starts in a village located in the west coast of the island. Small Ajuy has a lot to offer. Here you find a black sand beach called Playa de los Muertos (the Beach of the Dead), and the pirates caves complex and an unusual stone arch.
Despite the name, Ajuy’s beach is a lovely destination. The pitch black, fine sand and the blue waters offer an interesting contrast. Although the beauty of this place tempts, it is not safe to swim or sunbath here. The Atlantic is pretty rough in this place and the undercurrent might well be dangerous. The lava sand gets terrible hot fast and can cause burns. I resisted and did not let the whispers of the oh-so-blue sea seduce me. But my friend fell into it and escaped as fast as he jumped in. Was it the cold water, or the breathe of death felt on his neck? I don’t know, he didn’t tell. However, the experience had to be awesome because when he came back to me he was as happy and as dirty as a puppy that just played in the mud. Black sand which looks like coal powder and wet skin do not make great companions.
On the right hand side of the beach there is a very visible path up the cliff. Here, starts the trail to the pirate caves and the arch. At first it looks like touristy, but it is enough to walk few more meters to discover that it is a wild place. First, we found a small cave which wasn’t anything special. But then I saw that it was a dead end and there was another path a few steps away. From one side the path was protected by a wooded fence, which looked quite solid. The other side was protected by a natural rocky wall. A short walk took us to a place called the Caleta Negra (the Black Cove), the near edge contained two large pirates Caves. Bingo! Pirate Caves just like the ones I imagined! Despite the rough ocean hitting the rocks, the caves looked like a quite safe place to hide.
We continued our walk following a visible path just next to the cliff’s edge, for better views, and the views were postcard-perfect! The path took us onto a flat area which was like a roof for the caves. Then it was winding its way through the grass-less meadows. Yes! Grass-less meadows do exist!
Eventually we made it to the Arco del Jurado. The walk was long but well worth the effort. The arch is quite tall, I think more than 15 meters. It seems that the arch is made of a stronger stone than everything used to surround it. Everything else around has eroded and fallen off, but the arch remained. It stands proud and tall, and protects the pebble beach behind it from being eaten by the Atlantic.
Some people risk climbing the arch which looks vertical. I have no idea how they do it. I’m sure many people have failed. My friend did try and after few minutes I saw him on the top of the arch, waving by his T-shirt like a flag. Obviously he wanted to die half-naked. When I saw him, in sandals trying to hug the vertical wall and climb down, I started to pick flowers for his funeral in my mind. He obviously came back down safe.
In my imagination I could see the Black Pearl floating on the waves somewhere near the cliffs. I could see pirates feasting in the caves. I could see liters of rum pouring from barrels and a hog roasting on a hot grill.
Arr ye landlubbers!!! If you want to give free rein to your imagination in a place perfectly made for it, embark on a journey to the land of the pirates! Embark to Fuerteventura! Embark to Ajuy!