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Canary Islands

Date: 25/5 - 15/7/2005
(all pictures are clickable)

We sailed to 5 of the 7 Canary Islands.

La Palma

This was the first island we visited after the Portuguese Ilhas Selvagens. It is reputated to be the less spoiled island (together with El Hierro and La Gomera) by tourism. We were in the fisher harbour of Santa Cruz de La Palma as the marina is still under construction. We didn't pay much for the nights ,but had to pay nearly 3x as much (and for 10 days only, after that, we had to pay again), for the Spanish tax for lighthouses and buoys !

On these islands, one must be cautious about the name of the locations. You have the La Palma island, the cities Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Santa Cruz de La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife...

The island has the world's largest volcanic crater: 8km in diameter and 27km in circumference ! Unfortunately for us when we visited it (2 times) there were a lot of clouds so that we could not see it in it's entireness... But I went back in august, and had very nice weather. You can have some nice hikes there ! On the nothern outside slopes of the volcano, there is an large International astro-physical complex.

The latest volcanic erruption on this island occurred in 1971 ! But the island is also the greenest and most fertile one of the Canaries. Here you find bananas, tomatoes, vines, ...
Inside the volcano Observatories

Santa Cruz de La Palma, the capital, is considered as one of the most attractive cities in the Canary Islands.

Santa Cruz de La Palma Decoration for a procession

La Palma is a humid island (hence the vegetation). It reduced the number of taken pictures...

Humidity... Church of San Juan de Puntallana (?)

La Gomera

The second island we visited was La Gomera. As La Palma, this is a very green island. This island also offers a wide range of hikes. The national park is beautiful. There are also some nice remains of volcano chimneys.
Inside the National Park of Garajonay Valle Gran Rey
Scale: look at the road at the left ! Notice the Teide (Tenerife) in the background The old tower in San Sebastian de La Gomera

Gran Canaria

We then skipped Tenerife. We went straight to Gran Canaria (Puerto Mogan). It was a rough ride as the wind accelerations around Tenerife are strong. We had winds just over 45kn (85km/h) in front... My Swiss friends had to catch their plane there and wanted to visit the island of Gran Canaria a bit. Gran Canaria is, like Tenerife, much more touristic, but there still are unspoilt areas! I especially liked the centre of Gran Canaria with it's gorgeous deep valleys (unfortunately hard to make pictures of).

Map of Gran Canaria


This island is the biggest of the Canaries. It also has the highest mountain of Spain: El Teide rises to 3717m. I particularly liked the central ridge/road from Santa Cruz de Tenerife to the Teide and the western part of the island (Masca, Buenavista del Norte). In my eyes, the rest of the island, specially the coasts are not attractive as too many hotels are established. If you want to climb the last 2-300m of the Teide, you need an authorisation, which you can get by passing by in the National Park office in Santa Cruz. It's free and the view above there is magnificent !

Map of Tenerife

El Teide The layers of the different (type of) erruptions The final climb (@3400m)
The views from the Teide !
Sulphur at the top To the west: left La Gomera and further El Hierro, right La Palma To the south
To the east: root of mountain and Gran Canaria in background
West side of the island
Los Gigantes Punta de Teno


The last island of this part of my journey is Lanzarote. It is the most dry island of the Canaries. It also host one the most beautiful national park (Timanfaya) about volcanos in the world. The scenes are unique. The landscapes we can admire now, were made by an eruption which started in 1730 and lasted 6 years! The last eruption date back from 1824. At Islote de Hilario, there are still temperatures of 140°C 10cm below surface, and 400°C 6m deep !

Map of Lanzarote

Ain't live nice ? Timanfaya Lava everywhere One of the many volcanos
But there are also other things on the island. For instance Jardin de Cactus or Jameos del Agua with it's, unique in the world, tiny blind crabs (size about a 10 Euro cent coin), or las Cueva de los Verdes where you are in a tunnel made by lava.
Cacti everywhere !
Jameos del Agua (picture not so clear, but you get the idea) The island of Graciosa, north of Lanzarote Nereus under sail @ about 12kn (rare picture - thanks to Daniel) Moments of tenderness... (NO we are definetly NOT gays! No offence guys.)