2nd December ~ 5th December
Buoyed up by our enjoyable visit to Lanzarote, we were looking forward to visiting Fuerteventura! Firstly though we had heard reports of a beautiful anchorage at Isla de Lobos at the northern tip of Fuerteventura and so we decided that we would make a night stop there at anchor before moving on to Gran Tarajal on the main island.
…is the second largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife being the largest! It is just 62 miles off the coast of Africa, it is also 62 miles long! It is a popular holiday resort due to it’s year round warm climate and it’s white sandy beaches.
The heat of the sun is tempered by the strong winds as the name of the island suggests! Fuerte – Strong, Ventura – Winds These winds can be dangerous when they accelerate rapidly off the southern end of the island. We did experience this when we left the island to sail to Gran Canaria when the wind rose suddenly from about 12 knots to 30 knots! It didn’t last long and we were fine, Musetta looked after us well!
Isla de Lobos ~ 2nd – 3rd December
We had a pleasant sail there, a distance of around 20 nautical miles from Arrecife arriving in good time to see the island, albeit from the sea!
The island is a largely ununhabited nature reserve with a diverse range of plants and animals. Rare birds inhabit the island too, not that we saw any!? However, and more importantly for us, was the tranquility of the anchorage and it’s amazingly clear, turquoise waters over the sandy bottom!
There were some tripper boats from Correlejo on the main island when we arrived. The passengers had come to enjoy the trails which criss cross the island and lead to the Montaña La Caldera, which can be see in the picture above. It derives from a volcanic eruption long ago but is inactive now! Or, people simply come to enjoy the sandy beach, Playa de la Concha! They all disappeared by the end of the day leaving a handful of us sailing yachts to enjoy the scene!
Gran Tarajal ~ 3rd – 5th December
The next morning we set off fairly promptly for Gran Tarajal, a good day sail of approximately 38 nautical miles and arrived at the entrance to the harbour in the late afternoon.
The coast line was interesting, starting out very flat and sandy and becoming more and more dramatic, mountainous even, the further south we sailed.
Gran Tarajal was a simple fishing port which has been developed into a marina. The marina is quite basic! The port officer who checked us in seemed rather pleased to inform us that while we would have power and water on the pontoon, there was a shower block next to the marina office but there was no HOT water!! All this for less than €20 per night, we could hardly complain!!
We were only going to stay here for one whole day and so having ascertained from the port officer where we could go to hire a car we set off the next morning on our bikes to Las Playitas to arrange the car.
We headed off northwards along the coast to firstly Caleta da Fuste, a purpose built holiday resort with a golf course and swimming pools galore! There was also a tiny port and a very lovely beach!
The Castillo de Fuerteventura, unusual water sports and the Beach!
Back in the car we continued north to Puerto del Rosario, the capital of Fuerteventura! There we found some Dutch friends of ours boat at anchor and an interesting statue of a bare footed fisherman! He had been fishing for Vieja or parrot fish which is readily available in the Canary Islands. This fish is quite a delicacy with succulent white flesh and is characterised by its scaly body, rounded tail and a large parrot beak shaped scale at it’s mouth!
A Vieja fisherman and the beautiful beach at Rosario!
Antigua ~ Cheese Museum
It was time to turn inland and to go to the National Park via Antigua where we came across the Majorero cheese museum.
This tourist attraction turned out to be so much more than a cheese museum? It was set in beautifully landscaped gardens with masses of Dragon trees, so typical of the Canary Islands. There was a special Cactus garden which was incredible!
It also described the use of the windmills to mill the corn and the pace of life with the farming of the Majorera goats to produce the delicious Majorero cheese! The Majorera goats are known to be amongst the most productive in the world! The quality of their milk is excellent being dense, aromatic and fatty which all go to make the Majorero cheese so special!
The National Park
We continued our tour of the island and came to the mountainous region of the National Park and the ancient town of Betancuria which was at one time the capital of Fuerteventura. It is dominated by the church of Santa María de Betancuria and nestles into the hillside and the very old part is within a wall.
The scenery as we drove up further into the National Park was as stunning as the narrow twisty roads were somewhat scary with perilous drops very close to the edge!! However, all the adrenalin was worth it with views like these from the Mirador de Guise y Ayose, Betancuria.
What a view!
There were two ancient kingdoms of Fuerteventura, Maxorata in the north and Jandia in the south! These two 3 metre tall bronze statues are of the kings who ruled the two regions as ancient history tells us! They were quite impressive!
The end of our day….!
We drove on further as part of our round tour of the island and came to another viewpoint which was far less touristy! We parked and got out of the car to climb the rocky terrain, coming across lots of the Majorera goats and their kids as we scrambled over the rocks. They of course were as nimble as always and were a little camera shy. They are an incredible mix of shapes, sizes and colouring, it was lovely to see them in their natural habitat.
The sun was setting and I was fortunate to get this shot of Alan surveying the horizon! We had had an interesting day and we both decided that Fuerteventura was very different from Lanzorote but it had much to offer and was just as enjoyable!
5th December ~ Time to Depart!
We had planned an overnight sail to Gran Canaria, leaving Gran Tarajal at approximately 4pm. We spent the day returning the hire car, cooking, settling our mooring fees and generally preparing for our final sail of 2018!
Gran Canaria next….!