The ingredients for a good charter are simple: a good sailing region, a good boat and a friendly charter company team. Imagine that you will find yourself on the most picturesque islands with excellent weather, on a big new boat, packed with gadgets for entertainment to the eyeballs, and the professionalism and positive attitude of the team is at the highest level! The result is the perfect cruise. Say, it doesn't work like that? Read Tatiana Lisetskaya's diary about a two-week cruise to the Canary Islands.
Ideal charter - Canary Islands
Canary Islands - an archipelago of seven large and several small islands of volcanic origin in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwestern coast of Africa. The islands are one of the autonomous provinces of Spain, so they speak Spanish here, and the currency is the euro. There are two capitals: Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (the capital moves every four years).
If you think your name Canary Islands received because of the large number of canaries living there, then you are wrong, because it was the canaries that were named after the islands. In fact, the Canary Islands are named by the Romans, who encountered the locals deifying dogs (translated from Latin canis means dog).
Our plane landed on the island Tenerife in the town Santa Cruz de Tenerifefamous for its magnificent fountain in the main square of the city Plaza de Espanaas well as the beach Teresitas (Playa de las Teresitas)... By the way, this is one of the few beaches of the island with yellow sand, since most of the beaches of the Canary Islands have black sand due to their volcanic origin, and the sand was brought here from the Sahara, and a breakwater was built to prevent it from being washed away.
From the airport to the marina "Santa Cruz"where our catamaran was stationed, 10 minutes away. We were greeted by the whole team in full force: the captain was a Russian Canadian Andrei, the chef was an Italian Ricardo and a flight attendant was Karina from Lithuania. Everyone is not a beginner in their field. Besides us, there were a couple of Europeans on board: Luc (French-Breton) and his wife Sarah (Irish), they were planning to buy such a yacht and decided to arrange a "motivational test drive" for themselves.
Ideal charter - Canary Islands
A light cheese and wine dinner made for a quick introduction. Before going to bed, we walked around the yacht. For me, such a large catamaran is a novelty: a huge flybridge with a sun deck, a spacious cockpit and a salon with panoramic windows. Everything is conducive to a pleasant stay.
We prefer to be interested in everything, we immediately announced this to the captain. Therefore, in the morning we were invited to buy wines. After breakfast, and breakfast usually consisted of fruits, freshly squeezed juice or coffee, various types of muesli with milk or yogurt, fresh rolls and croissants (Ricardo bakes his own bread on a yacht), we went to the liquor store with our chef, who, in addition is also a sommelier.
Ricardo took us to a small Spanish wine shop. As Ricardo says, it is very important to communicate with the seller, who transfers his knowledge and experience in the selection of Spanish and local Canarian wines. Also, it is advisable to choose wines from local small winemakers. Their wines are more natural (large producers often add chemicals to enhance the flavor, and the price already includes a lot of marketing and advertising costs). The price was very surprising - from 5 euros for a bottle of good wine, and wines from mainland Spain can be bought for 1.5 euros.
By noon we left the marina under a wind of 25 knots, we raised a reefed mainsail and a small staysail, but after 5 miles the forecast came true, and the wind was literally turned off. We had to raise the genoa to keep the yacht going in the 7-knot wind. During the night, black volcanic sand was inflated on the boat from the mountains, but after going out to sea, we solved this problem by turning on the desalination plant and washing off all the sand from the yacht.
Ideal charter - Canary Islands
For lunch, the chef prepared a national potato salad from an italian island Pantelleria with tomatoes, potatoes, capers, anchovies and red onions marinated in wine vinegar, and Hawaiian pokey: tuna marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil with sesame seeds, leeks and chopped fresh ginger. For dessert: fresh Canarian mango smoothies with small fragrant raspberries.
After lunch we decided to try our new spinnaker with Jamaican colors. 300 sq.m of a brand new spinnaker carried our yacht across the blue ocean for 10 minutes in a favorable wind, but a sudden change of wind to the opposite one forced the sail to be blurred, which we quickly did, thanks to the "stocking". The sailing program was over for today, the engines were turned on and after half an hour they dropped anchor in the El Medano bay. The water at 25 degrees dragged the entire crew to swim. Meanwhile, Ricardo was conjuring over young veal in wine sauce with sweet potatoes. The dinner was magical - accompanied by a light breeze and red wine Feuille de Garance, and in the end - a magnificent milk dessert with cinnamon and almonds.
The next morning, without waiting for the good wind, which was so necessary for kiting, we went for a walk in the city. El Medano - the city of wind and waves. El Medano Bay is a Mecca for kite surfers from all over the world. You can practice kiting all year round
By one o'clock in the afternoon, the wind intensified, and the bay began to fill with multi-colored kites. We returned aboard where our friends, Luke and Sarah, avid kite surfers, had already "put on their armor." We, in turn, prepared cameras and decided to film their exploits from the tender. The wind increased even more, and Luke, well, just rushed into battle, it was impossible to hold him. Luke and Sarah really turned out to be cool kite surfers, and even we, being at the tender, experienced no less emotion and delight. It was a breathtaking sight.
After such a fascinating business, followed by a light (by Ricardo standards) lunch of delicious, prepared by Ricardo himself, spaghetti with pesto sauce, nuts and sun-dried tomatoes and lightly fried Canarian goat cheese with honey. Under coffee, Riccardo prepared a delicious Italian creamy dessert - Sabayon, which is made from eggs, white wine and orange peel.
Ideal charter - Canary Islands
On the Canary Islands, we managed to meet our friend Christina, who has been living here for more than 2 years, and she told us some more interesting details about the archipelago. For example, if you get to the island La Palma in January-February, you will see the almonds bloom. Everything looks amazing: everything is in a pink and white haze. Also that one of the local dishes is potatoes cooked in uniforms in sea water, and it is served with two types of sauces: mojo rojo (red sauce with paprika) and mojo verde (green sauce with herbs, olive oil). Locals are very fond of the goat cheese dish fried in a pan. The cheese is served with honey. By the way, about honey. This is one of the treasures of the local cuisine. Due to the unique nature and the variety of exotic flora on the island, there is an opportunity for the production of unique types of honey. And the so-called palm honey is not actually honey, but a boiled syrup made from the juice of the Canarian date palm. It is almost black in color and somewhat resembles burnt sugar. Locals say that it boosts immunity and protects against colds. So a jar of honey from an exotic plant is a very good option for a souvenir from the Canary Islands. By the way, it is better to buy honey on Saturday and Sunday at markets where local producers bring their product for sale.
By 5 pm we weighed anchor and set sail under a 20 knot tailwind. Circling the cape Punta salema, anchored at a steep picturesque cliff near the city Los Cristianos... We dined at sunset with duck brisket under blueberry sauce, and for dessert - the famous Spanish dessert Crema Catalana, the taste of which was perfectly set off by the Venezuelan Aniversario rum. Mmmmm…. ... An unforgettable taste.
The next day we set off from the catamaran to inspect on paddle boards (rowing boards) a local landmark - the old wooden schooner "Olympus", majestically anchored opposite the beach. Coming closer and looking at the boat, it was hard for us to imagine how such ships could cross the oceans.?! By the way, if you have never walked on paddle boards, then this is not a problem, and you can not be afraid. Everything is very simple and can be done by almost any person.
Upon returning to the boat, we had a lunch, ordered by us in advance by Ricardo, in a traditional Canarian style: local potatoes with two types of mojo rojo and mojo verde sauces, as well as cold cuts of jamon serrano (dry-cured pork ham), chorizo spicy and sweet (dried pork ).
After lunch, another adventure awaited us: the skipper suggested scuba diving. The catamaran was equipped with complete diving kits, 12 brand new colored cylinders and a powerful compressor. It is a sin not to take advantage of such wealth.
It is not difficult to guess that the underwater world of the Canary Islands is a variety of volcanic formations, grottoes, arches and caves.
We sank to a depth of 20 meters, where revival reigned. A flock of some variegated fish examined us with curiosity, and a small octopus, seeing us, preferred to retreat. After swimming a little more, we saw the majestically sailing stingrays. By the way, here you can see many types of stingrays. These are seals and stingrays, large black mantas and others. A moray eel could be seen from the crevice, they can be found here almost everywhere, and a giant grouper swam very close by. Local divers say squid, lobster, lobster, cuttlefish and ocean turtles are common. From this list, we only saw small cuttlefish. Time passed very quickly in the underwater world, and we had to climb already.
Chilled, but filled with positive emotions, we returned to the catamaran, where our chef was preparing paella with seafood for dinner. At the stern, he installed a special burner, on which he put a large frying pan - a paella. An hour later, we were already sitting at the table and enjoying a truly Spanish dish. Delightful paella, sparkling, rich white wine Familia Oliveda, the sound of the ocean and loved ones nearby ... What could be better to complete a day full of adventure and positive emotions!
Ideal charter - Canary Islands
We decided to spend the next day on a neighboring island La Gomeralocated 20 miles west. This island is famous, first of all, for its national park - Garajonay, which is under the protection of UNESCO. The main value of the park is laurel forests and thickets of tree-like heather.
There was good sailing weather: wind and sun. Raising the sails, we reached the marina a couple of hours San Sebastian de La Gomera, on the east coast. On the way, we met a whole family of grinds or pilot whales. They are very friendly and are not afraid to get close to the boat. So we were lucky enough to see them very closely. It consisted of several large 6-7m long grinds and several small grinds. Pilot whales are not an endangered species, but Spain has already adopted a convention for the protection of these animals.
We planned to anchor in the marina, but the good weather and the most picturesque coastline changed our plans and we, lowering our sails, decided to see the south of the island under the motor. The island is one of the few places on the planet whose natural landscapes have practically not been affected by the influence of civilization. The unique beauty of the mighty volcanic rocks, gorges, grottoes and green mountains create an atmosphere of tranquility and tranquility.
Noticing a small grotto half a mile from our anchorage, we could not resist kayaking. Having put on life jackets (safety on a catamaran is taken very seriously), we lowered the kayak into the water and went to inspect the local beauty. Around there is clear blue water, overhead are majestic mountains created by nature for millennia, and we are on a small kayak ...
On La Gomere each cove is interesting and unusual in its own way. In the bay Punto del Espino we met an old pirate ship that was rolling out tourists, and Punta de Los Organos impressed with its canyons. We anchored in one of the most beautiful places in the south of the island - Valle gran rey... Avocados, dates and pineapples are grown in this valley.
Ricardo cooked dinner in Chinese style: Rice noodles with vegetables and baked salmon in soy-lemon sauce.
In the morning, having weaned, we went back to Tenerife. The wind was strong enough, 20-25 knots, in gusts up to 30. Los Cristianos... The catamaran dived into huge waves, the wind filled the sails - a fantastic sight.
Ideal charter - Canary Islands
Arriving at the bay, we stood in front of the beach. This evening we had a "glamorous" promenade planned in Las americas... Most discos, clubs, restaurants and brand boutiques are concentrated in Las Americas, where prices are quite low (the Canary Islands are a tax-free zone). The many free sandy beaches that are protected by rock breakwaters allow you to swim comfortably in the ocean all year round. We dined with a fiery Spanish flamenco dance in the restaurant of the same name.
The next morning, our captain announced his serious intentions to catch tuna for dinner. Sashimi made from the freshest fish, what could be better. Our yacht has no less fishing gear than a small trawler. There are even spearfishing guns. In the morning we made a sortie ashore and held "secret" negotiations with the colorful Briton Paul, the world marlin fishing champion. Paul kindly shared information about the fishing spots with us. Paul's main advice was to get up early for fishing: you see, tuna are not caught when the sun rises and the air temperature rises. We decided to combine fishing with the transition to Gran Canaria... Our captain turned out to be a man of iron discipline, and at exactly 5 o'clock in the morning the catamaran's engine started. Rubbing our eyes and yawning, we crawled to the flybridge and stared at the spinning rods, which the captain had put in the stern as many as 6 pieces. Serious claim to win! We bravely watched the tackle for another half hour, and then, stretched out on the soft sofas of the flybridge, fell fast asleep. We woke up from the noise on the yacht - the captain and the chef on the transom were already taking out medium-sized tuna. Yes…. So we went fishing! We photographed the already caught tuna, and this was our biggest fishing activity.
The wealth of the waters here gives a person the opportunity to engage in active fishing. Proof of good conditions is the holding of prestigious competitions in various types of sport fishing, as well as the establishment of a number of records recognized by the International Sport Fishing Association. Competitions for fishing swordfish, barracuda, tuna, marlin, etc. are held here.
We walked to the island for about 5 hours and stopped abeam of the city Patalavaca... In connection with a successful fishing trip, Ricardo made us sashimi from fresh tuna with soy sauce and pickled ginger for dinner.
It is impossible to visit the Canary Islands and not visit the real pearl of Gran Canaria - the dunes Maspalomas, or they are also called "Sugar in miniature", in the south of the island. In general, southern Gran Canaria is dominated by low shores with sandy beaches and a drier climate, while the north is greener and wetter. The Maspalomas Dunes are a local landmark and wildlife sanctuary. There are many sand lizards here. We landed on a five-kilometer beach, walked along the coastal sands, bathed, took pictures and returned back to the catamaran.
For lunch, our chef prepared a quinoa salad with vegetables, caramelized pumpkin and a slice of crispy bacon. Very tasty and unusual.
For the night we moved closer to the marina Puerto de Mogan, where we planned to spend the evening at a local restaurant. Due to its canals and bridges, Puerto de Mogan is called "Canary Venice"... Snow-white toy houses decorated with blooming bougainvillea form narrow pedestrian streets with many cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops. Here you can not only walk along the picturesque streets, but also dive into the depths of the sea on a yellow submarine.
Ideal charter - Canary Islands
Gran Canaria - the third largest island in the archipelago after Tenerife and Fuerteventura... After a leisurely walk, we stopped at a local colorful bar Cuba Libre... Improvised barrel tables, great music and delicious cocktails added romance Puerto de Mogan.
If you are a beginner and do not have a special certificate of completion of the cylinder diving training, there is a great alternative on the catamaran - the hook system. It allows you to swim and breathe underwater without heavy air tanks. Instead, there is a compressor on the surface that supplies air to the diver through a special hose. The hook system does not limit the diver's time underwater. With this system, we dived to a depth of 7 m.
The next crossing was the last on our ideal active journey. We headed towards the capital of Gran Canaria - Las Palmas de Gran Canariafrom where we had planned a flight home. Moored at the local marina, we began to pack our bags and prepare for departure. But our captain had completely different plans for the rest of the free day: we definitely had to visit the ancient city Agaldar (now Galdar), which was once the center of the civilization of the indigenous people of the Guanche island, to see the famous caves "El Cenobio de Valeron"... They consist of more than 200 bunkers carved into the rocks by the ancient inhabitants, using stone to store grain, food, tools and more. -Canaria.
Ideal charter - Canary Islands
The last evening we spent at dinner with our whole company in the cockpit of the catamaran, which has already become so dear and cozy for us. A fine rain fell on the water, candles were burning on the table, and a delicious dinner and heady wine warmed the soul and body. And the return home was no longer so sad, because we will leave the island with a full suitcase of souvenirs and shells that still keep the warmth of the sun and the smell of the ocean, and many photographs will warm us on cold winter evenings in our homeland.
And when, looking at the globe, you decide where to go on your next trip, pay attention to the small islands in northeast Africa, gently warmed by the warm winds of the hot continent, and washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, this majestic water element that attracts like a magnet.
"Famous Historical Fact: George Washington delivered the first toast on the first US Independence Day while raising a glass of Canarian Malvasia."
Text: Tanya Lisetskaya. Photo: Maria Lisenkova, Sasha Goron, Department of Tourism of the Canary Islands
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