The Canary Islands

As we write this we are sailing south along the coast of Tenerife on our way south to the Cape Verde islands after spending two months in the Canary Islands.

Before we came here, we had read about all the problems that we could expect. Anchoring, they claimed, is forbidden nearly every where and you will be moved on by the police. The marinas, they said, were always full and wouldn’t let you in without a reservation. The swell, they warned, is awful and the wind mostly too strong. Luckily, against all this advice, we sailed to the islands and have had an enjoyable stay here.

We never booked a marina and at four out of five we turned up unannounced and were given a berth. At the fifth marina they would have allowed us to raft up even though they were full, but the strong wind had already ripped cleats off the pontoon and was threatening to increase. We had to agree that staying there was impossible. The marina staff were all friendly, professional and helpful. Often they were hampered by bad computer systems but they worked round them.

We spent a week in mainland Spain and felt totally confident leaving Artemis (and Max) at Santa Cruz Marina.

We spent over twenty nights at anchorage at a selection of beautiful anchorages (and the less lovely anchorage at Las Palmas). There was always a bit of swell but only one night was bad enough to deprive us of sleep. A few nights we had winds of up to twenty knots but, with our Rocna anchor, that was no problem and the wind generator charged the batteries. We saw a patrol boat moving boats without permits on in a national park but we were never disturbed by harbour officials or the police. Neither did we meet anyone who had been moved on.

It is true that there is often plenty of wind, particularly in the acceleration zones where the venturi effect between the islands adds to the wind speed. Fighting wind and swell can be less enjoyable than a downwind cruise but any sailing is better than motoring.

As we already wrote, we needed work doing on the boat. We can vouch that there are skilled tradesmen on Tenerife and are sure there are good people on Gran Canaria. Everyone we met in the two months were friendly and polite and, even if they only spoke spanish and didn’t understand us, willing to help.

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