THE CANARY ISLANDS
A multitude of options.
The group of Islands is known for the year round good weather. A great Tourist Resort for people from the UK and other countries.
The Canaries is made up of eight main islands, (from largest to smallest in area) Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa. The archipelago includes many smaller islands and islets, including Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste, and Roque del Este. It also includes a number of rocks, including those of Salmor, Fasnia, Bonanza, Garachico, and Anaga. In ancient times, the island chain was often referred to as "the Fortunate Isles".
Our trip from Madeira was not brilliant in that with light winds (following on from the heavy weather that was forecast in Madeira), we ended up motor sailing most of the way.
CALETA DEL SEBO
29°13.6'N - 013°30.10'W
We first arrived in the tiny volcanic island of La Graciosa, at the North West tip of Lanzarotte. Here we pulled into a lovely sheltered marina at Caleta del Sebo (the lat and long above is at the entrance to this marina). La Graciosa is an island of unpaved roads, secluded sandy beaches with isolated mountains.
You will see from the pictures below that Graciosa is a very small island and very volcanic but it is a lovely little town to wander around (to cover the whole island would only take about half a day at most). It was here that we met Jim, Sharon and their children Shelly, James, Peter and Martin on their yacht Wendreda.
On leaving Graciosa, the winds were light and the weather beautiful with slight seas and so I decided to test out our Monitor windvane in these 'light airs'. At last I managed to understand what was needed regarding a sail plan in order to get the Monitor to work correctly and, we sailed for several hours in very light winds with no problems at all. In many of the pictures below, the large Island of Lanzarote can be seen a short way across from Graciosa looking Southeast.(click on the chart of the Canaries above and you will see that Graciosa is in the top right hand corner just off the Northwest tip of Lanzarote).
PUERTO DE NAOS
28°58.06'N - 013°31.92'W
The plan was for us to pull into Puerto De Naos but, though we tried, the place was full of yachts and there was no space deep enough to anchor that had sufficient space to swing. So we eventually gave up on Naos and headed round to Puerto de Areciefe.
PUERTO DE ARRECIEFE
28°57.22'N - 013°33.06'W
The anchorage in Arreciefe looked good and there were several yachts already there. In fact it turned out that there were moorings laid in the bay that yachts could pick up at no cost.
We got talking to the other yachtsmen and women and were told to take care as not all of the moorings had been maintained over the years so they could be questionable in terms of holding.
We were to learn a very valuable lession here in that we did indeed loose our mooring but only realised when the other yachts shouted to tell us we were drifting. Following a quite difficult time getting out of the mess of the old rope around out propellor, we eventually departed Arreciefe, never to return lol. Our thanks for the help from the other yachtsmen and women, particularly the guy in the picture, a single handed sailor from whom we learned a great deal. I am sorry not to have the name of the guy and of his yacht.
PUERTO DEPORTIVO RUBICON
28°51.46'N - 013°49.12'W
Rubicon was a different kettle of fish to the other places we had so far visited. This was a very expensive marina but we decided to stay for a couple of days. Jim & Sharon and the kids were also there so we had a pretty good stay.
28°12.40'N - 014°01.43'W
Gran Tarajal was the magical find of the Canaries, as far as Doreen and I are concerned. A wonderful little harbour almost fully enclosed and brand new pontoons for us to tie up alongside (with wide and very stable finger berths). The lovely town is very Spanish and not full of tourists (most of those head to the hotel and night club areas at the Southern end of Fuerteventura).
Wendreda with Jim & Sharon and the kids were on the other side of our finger berth which was really great until Shelly started beating me regularly at Chess!!! lol. It was here that we also met up with Terry Green, a singled handed Atlantic Circuit sailor. Terry had already spent many years crossing the Atlantic both ways. When I asked him why he did it, he said "I prefer it in the open ocean, I don't like getting too close to shipping lanes and land". He actually said it was because he did not have the qualifications to venture into high density shipping and yachting areas, with a smile on his face of course. Terry had recently purchased the yacht Marigold and he was living aboard, with the intention of sailing single handed back to the Caribbean. I went to have a look. He had been digging in his bilge and had pulled out two sets of solid teak belaying bars and pins. When I asked him what he was going to do with them he said he did not want the pins but he may be able to make use of the bars. I asked if I could have the pins to which he said yes. The next couple of days went by and Terry came to see me and said I could have the belaying bars too for a bottle of whiskey. Done deal, I paid him straight away and fitted the bars and pins to Kiah's shrouds. This meant I could get all the mast ropes off the deck and tied up onto the pins just above head height on either side of Kiah. A real bonus.
It was also here that Jim decided he would make a 'bimini' for Wendreda. A great little project. Jim had seen an article about bending pipe using a wooden bending device, so he decided we would make the wooden bending device and purchase the stainless steel tube and then bend it into the shape necessary to hold the bimini. This was a great success and you will see the picture of the bent stainless steel arches completed (9th picture). Sharon was brilliant in that she got the canvas and made the bimini cover complete with tension straps.
Gran Tarajal costs were really good at just $10.56 per night (less for long stays). The airport is not far away and had good cheap flights to the UK. We flew home for a couple of weeks, actually on the same flight as Terry Green.
PUERTO DE MORRO JABLE
28°02.97'N - 014°21.83'W
We first took a bus from Gran Tarajal down to Morro Jable, to where Rich & Lena on their yacht Big Sur, were moored. The news they gave us was that they would not now be crossing the Atlantic as they had had a family bereavement and had to return to their home in mainland Spain.
Given the very sad circumstances, the reunion was pleasant but of course not as joyful as we would have wished.
Our next visit to Morro Jable was to anchor off for the night when we departed Gran Tarajal and were heading for Gran Canaria. A pretty exposed anchorage but the holding was good and we spent a quite night there.
28°02.97'N - 014°21.83'W