Yacht Fathom - Setting off from England in May 2016 on a single-handed voyage somewhere a bit warmer

Archive for the “Canary Islands” Category


The last week has been spent moored in Corralejo, Fuerteventura. Corralejo is a lively town focused on surfing and kitesurfing and has a cool buzz about it. The harbour is government run which means the mooring costs are cheap at EURO 6.50 per day but the downside is that they only allow a max stay of 3 days. Fortunately the port captain was in a good mood when I mentioned to him mum and sis were flying out to see me and please, please, please could I have another 3 days.

It was nice to catch up with ex-colleague Sharon and her husband Ken in the sleeping town of El Cotillo where they own an apartment. Mum and sis then flew out for a few days and I stayed a few nights with them at the apartment which was great. Felt strange sleeping on dry land and not on a rocking Fathom. My impressions of Fuerteventura are that it is quite desolate and barren and there is not that much to see apart from the fantastic sandy beaches for which the island is best known. Would be the perfect place to learn to surf or kitesurf though.


sands of Fuerteventura

A low pressure system is currently passing just north of the Canaries and has resulted in some southerly winds and thunder storms this weekend. I’m back in Lanzarote as it was proving difficult to try and get a clearance stamp in the passport organised from Fuerteventura.  Fortunately I managed to get this done yesterday by visiting the port captain at Arrecife and am now just about set for departure to the Cape Verde islands on Monday. Productive day today ticking jobs off the list including going up the mast for a rig check and adding some anti chafe tape to the main sail. Important to minimise wear and tear with so many miles of sailing coming up in the next weeks. Tomorrow I need to sort out the stowage in the cabin and stock up on fresh food and water.

The forecast is showing a return to the prevailing north easterly winds on Monday which look quite punchy for the first few days at 25 to 30 knots before moderating slightly further south. Debated heading west to have a look at Tenerife and La Gomera but decided Cape Verde would be more interesting. The passage to the island of Sal is just over 880 miles and i’m aiming for around 7 day at sea. Currently experiencing the pre-passage emotions of excitement mixed with a touch of apprehension but ultimately looking forward to getting some more miles on the log. Will send a few updates via twitter while on passage and the tracker map should update at 4 hour intervals.

Posted on 05 Nov in: Canary Islands


It has been a fun couple of weeks exploring the island with friends and catching up with other boats. After leaving Graciosa for the first time Fathom was moored in Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife. There are not so many places to anchor in the Canaries but the marina was cheap at around EURO 8.50 a day so not too painful on the wallet.

Papagayo at sunset

Highlights of Lanzarote have been:-

The César Manrique Foundation – Built in 1968 on top of a volcanic trail from a volcanic eruption that occurred in 1730-36. It uses in the lower level, the natural formation of five volcanic bubbles to make an unusual living space within a natural space. The outside of the house and upper level is an inspiration from the traditional architecture of Lanzarote.

Timanfaya National Park – Most of the volcanic activity here happened between 1730 and 1736 but there  is still some volcanic activity with temperatures up to 600 degrees a few metres below the surface. We saw this demonstrated by a chef cooking chicken using the volcanic heat and water being poured into the ground creating a geyser of steam. On the way up to the park we stopped and said hello to some camels who sit around waiting for the next bunch of tourists to get a ride on their backs.

Playa de Papagayo – picturesque white sandy beaches. Visited these by land and sea but when anchored off the swell and resulting waves were too high to take the dinghy ashore (see photo).

Jameos Del Agua – Amazing location where caverns and partially collapsed volcanic tubes have been transformed into a unique entertainment venue by the architect Cesar Manrique. The cavern includes a salt water lake and looks pretty special when illuminated at night.

Famara Beach – great beach and fun swimming in the big surf.

A quick visit was made to Isla de Lobos, a small uninhabited island just off the north coast of Fueteventura. The anchorage was calm and swimming from the beach and off the boat in the crystal clear warm water was top notch.

Fathom is now moored in Marina Rubicon on the south tip of Lanzarote. There is some bad weather coming over the next days with strong south winds forecast and big swell so going to hide here before heading down to Fueteventura. I will take the opportunity to catch up on a growing list of boat jobs and go over the boat carefully in preparation for heading south on the 800 mile trip to the Cape Verde islands in early November.

Posted on 23 Oct in: Canary Islands

La Graciosa

It turns out the yacht I sailed in close proximity with from Funchal was called ‘Sturmschwalbe’ and owned by German couple Jule and Jan. Got chatting with them on the beach at Graciosa and realised I had seen them before at the anchorage in Cascais. Apparently they were racing me here too! I ended up spending that day with them and went back to their boat for drinks and dinner in the evening.


Graciosa – anchorage on the right, Caleta del Sebo centre top

The island of Graciosa is only 6.5km long and 3km wide and is mainly flat and sandy with four low volcanic cones. I walked up one of these on Saturday and it gave a nice view down onto the anchorage with the sheer cliffs of Lanzarote in the background. In the town on Saturday night was a music concert on the beach so I stuck around for that and was pleasantly surprised how good the Spanish Bob Marley was.

The anchorage at Graciosa is fairly busy and on average there have been between 15 and 20 yachts anchored. For the first time since Portugal there are more British boats around. Nearly all seem to include a crew of young children and dogs. It is a nice calm anchorage with no rolling which makes a change. The dinghy is left on the sandy beach and then it is a 30 minute walk along the dunes to the small town and harbour of Caleta del Sebo. This comprises of a handful of low white washed buildings, one shop and a few restaurants.  There are only 500 permanent inhabitants on the island but regular ferries from Lanzarote bring the tourists.

Aurélie and Olivier on Courlement are anchored alongside once again and together with another French couple I met yesterday and Jule and Jan there is a nice group of us between ages of 25 and 33 doing a similar route.  Leaving the anchorage later this morning for a cheap marina at Arrecife, Lanzarote for a few days. Time to do some laundry and also have a shower!

Posted on 10 Oct in: Canary Islands

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