Cruising the Canary Islands!
Boat: Bavaria Cruiser 37 (Pitufo) Launched 2015
Where? Lanzarote - Canary Islands
When? 5th - 12th November 2016
Crew: 2 (25-30 years old)
Experience: 1 Yacht Master + 1 Flotilla Sailor
Max Wind Force: Force 6
Mooring Fees: €20 some nights
Being a firm flotilla fanatic, I was rather sceptical when the Bareboat Team asked if I would like to independently charter a yacht in the Canary Islands. Having visited many of the islands before, I knew of their gorgeous volcanic vistas and lively winds, but having never experienced sailing in the area I couldn’t really say no!
Lava Charter are based at Marina Lanzarote, a brand spanking new marina about 15 minutes drive from Arrecife Airport. The marina is a wonderful location to start your holiday. You are in close proximity to everything you will need for your first days on board. From supermarkets to coffee shops, relaxing bars to swanky restaurants. There are also a couple of car rental companies based here, perfect if you want to combine some time on shore with your time on the water. There isn’t much the marina doesn’t have.
Hitting the Atlantic
We were greeted by the Lava Charter team at their lovely marina base. From the office, you can see their pontoon with their gorgeous fleet of 8 Bavaria’s. They also have their main booking office and their own chandlery. They really have made their mark on the place.
After a couple of the formalities were dealt with, we were taken to our yacht. It was a pleasant surprise to be greeted by pre-made beds and lovely fluffy towels in the cabin.
Lava Charter helpfully provide a Sailing Guide. This gives you their suggestions on a route for the week and information on the local area. As we were new to sailing in the Canaries we chose to follow their recommend route.
Secluded Islands to Flashy Marinas
It’s fair to say that I was a little bit sceptical when it came to sailing in November but I was quickly proven wrong. With day time temperatures hitting the mid-twenties and wind speeds of around 12-20 Knots, our days were spent with some very pleasant sailing conditions!
On our first day out on the water we headed out from Marina Lanzarote to the island of La Graciosa. You are required to inform the port authorities if you plan to take a trip to La Graciosa. But as long as you let the base team know when you would like to go, they will sort out all the paper work for you (easy!). We decided to spend two nights on the island, the first night staying in the marina on the southern side of the Island. Then after a day of circumnavigating La Graciosa we anchored at Playa Francesa. This really is where the phrase “getting away from it all” applies. The water surrounding the island is a UNESCO marine reserve and with the abundance of whales and dolphins in the area we had our eyes well and truly peeled!
The South of the Island
Day Three was spent taking in the rugged West coast of Lanzarote. It was about half way down this coast line where we were joined by a pod of around 15 dolphins. They played off our bow for about half an hour before heading off and leaving us to our journey down to Marina Rubicon on the South coast.
Marina Rubicon is another shining example of the stunning marinas dotted around the Canary Islands. The marina is amazingly equipped with Wi-Fi, showers, toilets, water and electricity. Having spent two days on a remote island the sight of a supermarket was a welcome refuge. We stocked up with food and made ample use of the roomy fridge (perfect for keeping the drinks cold). In the evening, we took a stroll along the waterfront before choosing from one of the many restaurants. We went for a traditional Canarian restaurant. The choice of seafood was out of this world. Tuna was on the menu for us tonight!
Back off the Beaten Track
In the morning we thought it would be good to have a relaxed day of bay hopping. We had heard rumours of the gorgeous coves of Papagayo. We sailed around the coast from Rubicon, before nosing our way into one of the bays along this shoreline, and spent a lazy lunch at anchor. After lunch we shot across to the deserted island of Los Losbos. The bays around the island looked busy but we stood our ground and found a spot to anchor. As the sun began to set the day charter boats pootled away and we were left with our own private island! Perfect for a spot of stargazing and a dinner of fresh prawns (which we had picked up from Rubicon).
Day five was spent heading up to eastern side of Lanzarote. The wind was hitting a steady Force 6, making tacking up to Puerto Calero, a speedy but relaxing sail. You will find yourself in the lee of the land so the swell is minimal.
On the Home Stretch
The marina at Calero is the Fiskardo of the Canary Islands. You pull in and find yourself gazing up at a 100-foot yacht...yikes! As you move further in you get past the superyacht set and find a lovely marina. The waterfront has some lovely restaurants. We chose to treat ourselves and headed to the highly praised restaurant, Amura. This restaurant is in prime position for some top-notch people watching and the food isn’t too shabby either!
As Marina Lanzarote does not yet have a fuel quay we filled up the yacht in the morning at Puerto Calero. Then we started to reluctantly make our way back to base. This leg again offers you protection from the Atlantic swell whilst letting you take advantage of the trade winds. We passed the long sandy beaches of Puerto del Carmen.
Back Agian Next Year!
Back at Marina Lanzarote the Lava Charter team were there to greet us and help us get moored up. We sat with them and chatted about our week and were pleased to hear that they will be setting up a new base in Tenerife in 2017! We already have the charts out planning for next year.
Fancy escaping the Med in 2017?
A big thank you to Matt & Jess for letting us use some of their lovely pictures from their terrific sailing blog! Check out their adventures here...