Playa Francesca, La Graciosa

18th April to 24th April 2018

Navigation into the anchorage, reputed to be the busiest in the Canary Islands, was easy. As long as you give the reef on the Eastern side of the bay clearance, there’s plenty of space and depth for a catamaran right up to the mooring buoys which are used by the tourist boats. We anchored as close-in as you would want to, which meant we were more sheltered from weather with a Northerly component which was all that we expected for our stay.

There was some rolling when the swell was over 4m offshore, probably reflected from Lanzarote, and winds at times got up to around 30 knots. But we were comfortable enough throughout, the holding was good and because the wind was from the land the wind-driven chop wasn’t too bad. The fishing boats which anchor in the middle of the channel, we didn’t envy!

It is a beautiful anchorage for 20 hours of each day – the four hours where the tourist boats are in town were not quite so peaceful with the announcements, music, kayakers, their ribs and other transport, etc.. The only other negative to note about the anchorage is access to shopping, which was not so convenient – about a 25-minute sandy walk to the mini markets in town (although they are well stocked, so it was well worth the walk). If visit again, which we might well do, we will be well stocked up in advance.

On day two Charlotte, then eight months pregnant, took the kids out in the dinghy to the beach while I was catching up on washing/maintenance/cleaning. The swell didn’t look too bad so she went to the sandier beach (the East)… which was a mistake. As they were approaching shore the swell built a little and twisted the dinghy sideways, breaking a little over the side and making landing very uncomfortable indeed. She called me, more than a little concerned at the prospect of launching to get back to the boat and generally anxious. So, I swam over (to the other beach) and we had a bit of time playing. On launching, we misjudged the swell and had an incident, hereafter the “crashy wave” incident (named by Theo). I walked the dinghy out and a wave broke over my head, lifting the front of the dinghy up a little alarmingly for Theo and soaking everyone in the dinghy. All was fine, as Charlotte rowed out while I swam alongside until we were well clear of the surf zone. But we are much more careful reading the swell when approaching/leaving beaches now – and Theo had concerns the next 5/6 times we rode in the dinghy.

Other things of note: the kids played ‘Kate Humble’ a lot, exploring the rocks to the East of the beach area and finding the local wildlife. We were particularly impressed when Arthur, having seen a skittering crab briefly before it hid under a rock, correctly identified it as a Sally Lightfoot (which he had seen on Blue Planet). We climbed/scrambled the majority of Amarillo Mountain, walking past the more secluded bay and spending a few moments in the caves en-route. Generally, we followed the advice of Charlotte’s dad to take it easy, as well as Charlotte always has done.

After a couple of moments of discomfort one evening, which may have come from the swell or the swelling baby, Charlotte decided it was time to move into a marina, so that we could walk ashore in a hurry if/when necessary, and to be a bit closer to medical care. So we did, sailing around to Puerto Calero in one of our more enjoyable passages to date.

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