The Canaries: Playa Francesa on Isla Graciosa

S/V Goldcrest
David & Lindsay Inwood
Sun 21 Oct 2012 08:00

We stayed in Essaouira until Friday to wait out some strong winds and big seas.  Even so, leaving the port proved a bit of a rough ride, but only for the 1st half hour when the seas became more manageable.  We were expecting to motor for at least a third of the 240nm passage to the Canaries but the light winds eventually swung the wrong way and we motored for just over half – 25 hrs out of 43.  The trip was enlivened by our first full-scale visit by dolphins in this boat (they always lift your spirits and make you feel so honoured), plus Lindsay saw a few passing turtles (only wee) and we saw a big curved dorsal fin and whale spout just as we approached the islands.  The dorsal fin looked to me more like a shark, but I’m no expert!  En route we had some fantastic skies and as well as the usual shooting stars I saw one so large I could see colour in its “head” and it left a long tail visible behind it – is this a meteor?  The other highlight was the phosphorescence.  We went through sections where we were trailing a line of pale green light, almost like we had underwater lights around the rudder.  The best patches gave us bright pinpricks of light in the wash splashing off the sides as well.


We both suffered a bit of gut ache during the 2nd night (which I’ve still got) and we’re not sure whether it was our last Moroccan meal or the last chorizo from the UK which was a bit long in the tooth.  Now we are at anchor we have the other downside of filling our holding tank rather faster than we’d like!

First view of the Canaries: Lanzarote in the dawn

We are anchored off a little beach on La Graciosa, a tiny island off the NW tip of Lanzarote and the 1st port of call for most yachts.  The book claims it has room for 12 yachts, but we counted about 2 dozen when we arrived!  It’s a bit like anchoring in the Solent when it comes to proximity to others, but not in landscape & temperature!  The sea is 22C and the breeze nice & warm and we are looking at a Martian landscape.  Maybe many of you reading this have seen the volcanic scenery here, but it’s a revelation to us.  Having just seen pictures from the Martian “Curiousity” mission, we could have told them not to bother – it’s all here!


Views from the boat:



We are missing a good English conversation with fellow travellers a little.  We seem to have seen nothing but Dutch and French boats since we left Portugal, and although we keep meeting up with a delightful French family with identical twin sons (just post university and rather cute according to first mate), there is nothing quite like chatting to other native English speakers.  It can feel a bit lonely otherwise!