Gold and salt rituals in Agaete

Like an actor refusing to leave the stage at the end of his scene, the sun is reluctant to abandon Agaete, in the north-east of Gran Canaria. By its side, the Dragon’s Tail also squeezes the last few moments out of the day while its pyramid-shaped cliffs are bathed in the sunset’s gold and bronze tones.

Right this minute, through all the confusion and magic as day finishes and night approaches, silence falls over the natural pools. The ocean stares up through those blue eyes, crystalline puddles in the exact spot where once upon a time lava reached the very ocean which is about to swallow up the sun. There was nobody to see it happen back then, but this encounter forged an enclave which would draw the eye throughout the centuries.

Before sundown, it is people nowadays who slip into the pools, connected up by volcanic tubes and protected from battering waves by barriers built up to make it all look like a fortress. We call them the Salinas de Agaete pools, because a small salt farm stood here from the 17th century until the mid-20th century. As the swimmers depart, they leave the echo of their laughter and sea foam, just like salt appears as the sea evaporates.

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