It’s the first week of December and Munich is getting cold. Not much snow though ❄️ 😞. Let’s go somewhere warm! Oh and that has diving.
Off to Lanzarote it is!
A good 23°C getting off the plane and walking down the terminal. Looking out the blue horizon was speckled with sail boats.
Pulling out of the airport the first thing I noticed was, no trees. The landscape lay bare.
Inhospitable rugged land runs right up against white buildings. Never before have I seen the sprawl of human settlement in such contrast to the land. Most of my time I’m in Germany where, much like where I grew up in Wisconsin, towns fan out in density. From a commercial core, to residential, to bounding farm land buildings, then forest the buildings blend in. Here the line is sharp.
That sharpness is also present in the weather. Much like Iceland the lack of trees means winds can gain speed. The rocky middle of the island gives way, via 20min drive, to a sandy coast. Wind blowing sand in eyes at times.
After a short drive from the Fuerteventura airport we took a ferry to Lanzarote.
Met with calm waters we sat on the rear deck and enjoyed the sunset and stars.
Sitting in the deck chair I had the feeling, Where am I? Really traveling between two islands off the coast of Africa. Morocco and The Sahara just there over the horizon? With every trip the world seems smaller. Every trip harder to explain. I think back to small Midwest American high-school me. The community I left. All the politics and unrest there in the last years. Would they act the same if they had some of these experiences?
The main activity of the trip was diving. I won’t go into detail on each dive as I’ve logged each individually:
The three dive shops we dove with were all professional and comfortable. With so many to pick from competition keeps service good. You can find links to the shops in the dive logs.
Lanzarote’s underwater biomes had less diversity then Mauritius but we saw more medium sized creatures, like our first shark. Angle Shark! The Wrecks of Puerto del Carmen dive was my favorite dive far. Wreck penetration is something else. I’m hopeful for similar action next time we drive down to Croatia. When we did our Open Water training there we heard there were wrecks in the 30-40m range that we are now equip to visit.
One afternoon, post dive, we set out on a hike to get some good views over the island.
Oh wait wasn’t there a rule about not going to altitude and not exerting yourself after diving?
Good cell service meant nervous googling. Yes, it turns out one should not exercise or exceed 300m so we turned around after seeing some cliffs.
Luckily not all the nature was so high. We also found a rocky coast to explore in the west. Sun was setting just as we arrived.
We parked the car on the broken stone road and scrambled to the water. Breaking waves sent sea spray up into the air. Carried by wind the smell of the ocean was intense and wonderful. Between the cracks hundreds of black crabs scurried around as we passed over.
Just north of Lanzarote is the island of La Graciosa. Having one of the largest underwater nature reserves we went for the diving. Turns out above water is also pretty wild.
With a ~2-3m swell the ride over was a challenge for my stomach. Upon arriving we proceeded 100m to the dive shop, immediately geared up and, jumped on a boat. To my dismay we drove right back into the swell for the first dive of the day. I managed that one okay but on the ride back got sick and decided to skip the second dive. More time to explore the island on foot!
After some delicious food we walked up the sandy streets to the edge of town. With no paved roads and no car ferry the few local pickup trucks are all there is in the way of motored transportation. Tourists normally rent bikes to access the other side of the island but not feeling that well and keeping in mind exercise recommendations after diving we went on foot.
A little sand in the eyes from blowing wind didn’t detract from the amazing views. Even more desert like then Lanzarote. If we ever make it back I would love to stay a few days. We could dive the other biome on the north of the island and bike around.
Heading back provided one last challenge for my stomach. One I’m thankful to say I overcame.
We also managed two days surfing out of Arrieta, Lanzarote.
This was my second time ever surfing and I’m still not convinced the sport is for me. I think in two session I managed to catch ~15 waves half standing on 3 attempts. After riding into the beach it is hard work to get back through the surf out to where the waves break again. I think I’ll stick to wind surfing.
Masha did better then me but also found the conditions challenging. Could be that the wave here was more random then in Portugal. I’ll try again there.
So far on my travels I’ve found island food in general inferior to mainland. Italy and Croatia had better dishes then Mauritius. Here the food was nearly on par with what I’ve heard of coastal Spain. They have one knock out dish, Black Rice, and it’s gluten free!
Arròs negre in Spanish the dish contains:
Tastes just like the ocean, in the best of ways.
My barista wife always finds local coffee drinks. This time we had Cafe Bombons, espresso over condensed milk. Very sweet and very good.
I don’t like to eat out everyday so we also had our shard of meals sourced from local grocers.
With decent air fare from Munich and plenty left to explore I look forward to going back to the Canary Islands. Also thanks to Masha, all the good photos she took.