Our landfall in the Canary Islands was the tiny island of Graciosa, just 6.5 km by 3 km. Despite its small size it has 4 volcanic cones, almost as many cones as there are residents (not quite true, but its very quiet).
Graciosa lies just a mile or so north of Lanzarote, separated by a narrow stretch of water called the Estrecho del Rio, rumoured to be a route favoured by migrating pilot whales. Alas, we didn’t see any but the site of the 500m high almost vertical cliffs of Lanzarote on one side and the pretty island of Graciosa on the other was a site to behold. The harbour is a little small for our boat and we had already heard on the radio that it was full so we bypassed it and dropped anchor in the neighbouring bay. A total novelty to be able to see the anchor and chain on the sea bed in crystal clear turquoise water; a far cry from the muddy waters of the Solent!
Much of the island is protected by a marine reserve and we had applied for permission to anchor in the bay of Playa Francesca, the designated reserve bay but that looked very busy and the bay closest to the harbour was empty so we had it to ourselves. Later we discovered the reason – since our guide book was published, they had prohibited anchoring in the one we were in, so we upped anchor and joined the busy throng in the bay of Playa Francesca.
Ashore we took a walk into the island between the cones – there is no tarmac just a few dirt tracks and roads.
It was fascinating to explore and quite remarkable to see the lava dust covered in tiny white shells, not only on the shore line but up on the volcanic cones too. Apart from a few fenced off areas of vegetation, and some low lying plants Graciosa has little to spoil the natural look once you are outside the small settlements.
Back at the harbour we were surprised to find a small but well stocked supermarket, so we bought a few bits and pieces before returning to the boat.