Our visit to the Canary Islands has taught me a valuable lesson — don’t assume and don’t prejudge! My expectation of the Canaries has always been of sunburnt Brits on cheap package holidays. I am so happy to be proved wrong. We have loved exploring these diverse and fascinating islands and only wish we had more time to do them all justice!
We visited four of the seven islands and each one had a different feeling and landscape. We’ve seen volcanoes, lunar landscapes and stunning mountains in Lanzarote. Saharan windswept beaches, marine reserves and laid-back locals greeted us in Fuerteventura. After a taste of city life with a brief stop in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,Tenerife treated us to the first sign of vegetation, dramatic mountains, wonderful architecture and lovely beaches.
We spent most of our time exploring the barren, other worldly desert islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. The initial idea was for P to do some windsurfing but we made friends early on in the wonderful La Graciosa and just enjoyed meandering down the islands meeting up with all the different boats and giving the kids a great big dose of friend time! We had a week with the lovely crew of Bonaire in Gran Tarajal, Fuerteventura – sharing meals, beach trips, boat PE and a very bouncy marina in a southerly gale! After a relaxing two weeks we then spent a rather stressful 36 hours at Las Palma in Gran Canaria jostling for space with the participants of the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) while we picked up Mattie (P’s sister) and got our water-maker checked. Then finally on to Tenerife to meet up with all our boat mates in Santa Cruz and prepare for our crossing to the Cape Verdes.
We were greeted by the lovely Emerald Bay crew who were waiting on the dock with cold beers — you should have heard Stella and their girls squeal in delight at being reunited. We had four nights getting ready for our crossing, provisioning and enjoying the company of friends. While Patrick installed a new hydrovane (very valuable self steering/new crew member!), Mattie and I hired a car and explored the Island. We even celebrated Halloween typically cruiser style two days late with dock trick or treating and a dress up party on Emerald Bay.
Ultimately in the Canaries we finally met like-minded boat families and cruisers and the kids made friends who are doing the exact same thing as they are doing. We drank beer, talked boats, laughed and celebrated our adventures in many different anchorages/marinas around the islands with these lovely people. We now have a little tribe (& what’s app group — we’re modern cruisers after all!) who we hope to continue to meet up with and share the odd anchorages with as we explore this amazing world and for that we are truly grateful.
Just a few highlights:
– Parque Nacional de Timanfaya – weird moonscape of extraordinary rock formations
– La Graciosa – tiny little island — twice visited and forever adored and remembered for Poppy’s birthday party
Isla de Lobos – little uninhabited island off the north coast with marine reserve
Gran Tarajal – we loved being locals in this great little town right off the tourist track — filled with fabulous local graffiti, amazing artwork and a lovely black beach
Bahia de Antequera – glorious bay at the north of Tenerife – shared only with a funny disco house that flashed green, blue and yellow all night!
La Laguna – lovely preserved historic town with colourful colonial houses around a pedestrian square
Bajamar – salt water swimming pools with waves crashing over the edge
Cruiser tips: great swimming pool at Marina Rubicon in Lanzarote; great fishing shop & mega-Spar in Gran Tarajal, Fuerteventura; if a marina is full (read: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria) try arriving at the fuel dock as they close for the night – you may even get to stay!
Lanzarote and Fuerterventura: