Swimming in Volcanic Areas – what you need to know as a parent

Volcanic areas are excellent places to visit and explore with kids as they offer a great variety in landscape, fascinating history of their origin, and of course unique beaches. It is not always obvious that you are travelling to a volcanic area until you get there. So let’s say that you’ve planned your family trip to Tenerife to see its famous Loro Park and you may have even heard a lot about its great beaches, but once you arrive there it may turn out that you are not really prepared for what you’ll find.

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Dramatic cliffs on Santorini

 

So, as swimming, bathing and diving is usually the most important part of the whole trip for your little ones, it’s good to know what to consider to keep your kids safe and let them enjoy their beach time.

Things you need to know:

Deep Water

Although the water around volcanic islands looks transparent and seems shallow, usually only after a few meters from the shore it gets dangerously deep. The depths will not change gradually, as it does in most beach spots, but there will be a dramatic drop. So make sure that an experienced swimmer checks the water before you let your own kids in.

This is especially true for Santorini where you will have a chance to actually swim inside the volcanic crater. Your children may be attracted to check out the stunning sea grass gardens which are visible even from the beach, and may want to explore the sea life there. However, it’s relatively easy to swim (depending on your children’s swimming abilities) or even walk too far beyond the safe point before you reach a dramatic drop. It may not be able to see or even feel the depth changing early enough as the sea grass is really thick and brownish. So you need to be monitoring your children at all times to make sure they are safe there.

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On Santorini you can swim inside the crater!

 

Underwater Rugged Rocks

Volcanic beaches are often surrounded by or covered with black magma rocks as a result of the nearby volcanic activities. The rocks can be quite sharp and may easily scratch or cut the skin. They may be present in water during high tides, thus not so easy to be noticed when you don’t know the beach well. The rocks are a perfect spot for exploration as they often create natural paddling pools where all kinds of sea life or ocean treasures may be found (such as crabs, small fish, sea urchins, sea snails, octopuses, rare shells and stones, or even old coins and shark teeth!).

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Bathing Pools of Garachico, Tenerife, The Canary Islands

 

To make sure your kids are safe:

  • find a spot that is not too close to the sea to avoid strong waves reaching out for your children
  • let your children play in the bathing pools when the sea is calm and during low tides to eliminate the risk of being hit by a strong wave
  • depending on your child’s ability to assess the risk, you may ask them to wear beach shoes if you are afraid they may hurt their feet. This however will affect their multi-sensory experience related to exploring the area barefoot.
  • if you decide to swim, make sure your children do not stay too close to rocks as they may be hit by a strong wave and get seriously hurt when in contact with a rock
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Rocky coast of Buena Vista del Norte, Tenerife, the Canary Islands

 Strong Waves and Rough Seas

Volcanic oceanic islands are often affected by strong waves and the ocean tends to be rougher there. When planning your family swimming make sure you find the safest spot to do so. Some beaches may be more affected by the ocean than others. For example, north Tenerife is the area that suffered the most during el Teide eruptions, and so the beautiful black sandy beaches are still full of hard and rugged magma rocks here and there.

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Black beaches of Buena Vista del Norte, Tenerife, the Canary Islands

Black Sand

Though perfectly safe, but for some parents seeing their little ones covered from head to toes in black or red sand may be just too much. We’re just letting you know so that you don’t freak out – sand play is always the part of fun while exploring volcanic beaches:)

Enjoy and be safe!


 

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2 Responses

  1. March 10, 2015

    […] in mid October the place was almost deserted so we had all its beaches almost to ourselves but the weather was still good to swim […]

  2. March 10, 2015

    […] single day, straight from local banana plantations during our stay on the beautiful green island of Tenerife.  We had a chance to visit  banana plantations almost every day as there were plenty of them […]

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