Carrying on from our visit to the volcanic national park of Timanfaya that I told you about earlier in the week, our exploration of the southern half of the island next took us to El Golfo.
Unlike the white-sand beach of Playa Blanca near our hotel, this beach has the famous black volcanic sand that I expected to see all over Lanzarote. There were several little fishing boats pulled up on the beach in the cove and a few people paddling in the sea.
As you can see from our selfie, it was very windy !
We followed the path around to another little bay.
On the way, we noticed the remains of the lava flow that had solidified as it reached the cool sea.
About a hundred yards down the path, we saw the view that El Golfo is famous for - Charco de Los Clicos, the bright green lagoon, which gets its colour from a special type of algae.
Here we go again for another selfie ! Maybe on one of them we'll actually get Pierre looking at the camera !
While Madhouse Daddy and Juliette went down to explore the beach and collect up a little bottle of black sand (Madhouse Daddy collects a little container of sand from every different country we visit - the difference in colours is actually quite surprising !), I went off with Pierre and Sophie to try to pick up a quick geocache. This involved walking through the little village, full of fish restaurants and traditional Lanzarote-style whitewashed houses with green doors and shutters, to the lava rocks. Sophie went gaily hopping around on the rocks but it was hard to locate the point zero and I didn't want her to twist her ankle, so we gave up.
It wasn't a dead loss though as Pierre was happy to find a playground that he had fun on while he was waiting.
After heading back to the car, we went on a bit further down the coast to Los Hervideros.
There are big caves that the sea goes into ...
... with openings that go up on to the rocks above. When the sea is rough, it crashes up through the holes and shoots out of the top in an impressive jet of spray.
The waves weren't big enough on the day we visited though.
We had a wander through the twisty paths between the lava formations.
It was very hot but there was a nice breeze coming in off the sea.
You can really see the extent of the lava fields, with the peaks far in the distance.
This time we did manage to find a quick geocache !
Back to the car, and we had one more place to stop off at before heading back to the hotel (and the pool, which is what the kids wanted !)
This cute little fella announcing that there was salt for sale showed us where to stop.
The Salinas de Janubio is the island's only remaining working salt works on Lanzarote. In its heyday, it produced around 10,000 tons of sea salt per year, with most of it being used to salt fish or make brine to help preserve it, but when fridges were introduced, demand fell. It now produces about 2,000 tons a year, some of which is sold as table salt and some of which is coloured and used in Arrecife during the Corpus Christi festival in June, to create vast works of art in the streets.
Each salt pan has a different colour depending on how much water is in it, so it looks like a huge mosaic.
You can even see little pyramids of salt at the far edge.
It's one of the most surprising and spectacular views in the southern part of the island, and the neat geometrical patterns of the salt pans really contrast with the jagged, irregular shapes that the lava has left all over the island.
As usual on Lanzarote, if you pan back, you get views of the volcanoes in the background.
A few days later, we hired another car and went discovering the northern part of Lanzarote so I'll be back to tell you about that very soon.