Once again we were blessed with the weather for our second Catamaran excursion in a week. There was virtually no wind, and the sea was very calm along the coast of Costa Teguise. The only slight downside was the calima that is present at the moment in Lanzarote. This is a hot, dusty wind that blows across the Canary Islands from time-to-time. At the moment this wind is not strong at all, but the dust meant that the sky wasn’t the usual brilliant blue that we love here in Lanzarote. This didn’t detract much though as the weather was still warm and sunny.
Our bus was there promptly at 09.50 from the entrance of Sands Beach Resort. The bus was almost completely full so clearly this is a very popular excursion! We were the last pick-up, so we went straight to Órzola, the small port town in the north-east. The drive was smooth and quiet, as the north is more sparsely populated than the south, where the majority of Lanzarote’s population lives. As the bus drove to Órzola though we passed the lovely seaside towns of Arrieta and Punta Mujeres, the world famous tourist attractions of Jameos del Agua and Cueva de los Verdes, and the beautiful white sands of Caleta del Mojón Blanco, and Caletón Blanco. The beach at Caletón Blanco in particular is sublime and well worth a visit. There are inlets of shallow water created by the black volcanic lava which contrasts amazingly with the azul water and white sand.
After the half an hour bus ride we arrived at Órzola with a little time to take a few photos, and then boarded the ferry. This set off from the port at 11:00 and we sailed up the North of the island taking in the amazing cliff views. Sometimes the sea here can be quite rough, when it is windy and the waves are strong, but on this occasion it was very calm so the boat travelled very smoothly. We reached Punta Fariones, the most northerly point of the island, and headed round the other side of the island into a stretch of water known as El Río (the river). This stretch of water separates Lanzarote and La Graciosa, and is only around 25 metres deep. We learned that the two islands were actually once connected. Due to its shallow depth the water is very clear and a beautiful shade of azul.
The particular day of our excursion there was an exciting annual event happening in which around 2,000 brave people were set to swim across El Rio from an isolated beach at the bottom of the cliffs of Lanzarote across to La Graciosa. First of all though there was a party going on to celebrate this with the swimmers and locals, in the port town of Caleta del Sebo, the main town of La Graciosa. Our ferry arrived at the port and we could immediately hear the music, and feel the party atmosphere. Everyone was in a great mood and getting ready for their swim. We went for a little wander around the town though, to see how the locals live. Being on the island is like stepping back in time as there are no tarmacked streets, just sandy tracks. The only cars on the island are Land Rover Defenders, used for transporting the tourists to the beaches. If you are looking for a place to chill your mind and de-stress, then la Graciosa is definitely the place for you!
After about an hour of exploration, it was time to board the luxurious Princess Cat, one of the largest commercial catamarans in Europe! Once everyone was on board it was quickly time to set sail. We were greeted with a delicious mojito and Spanish tortilla with bread which was a nice touch. Soon after we left the port, we stopped for a short moment to watch the start of the swim, as the swimmers had been taken from La Graciosa to Lanzarote by boat in order to swim back. The distance between the islands is not far, but for those of us who do not swim regularly it was still impressive to see!
We continued around the coast of La Graciosa to take in the sights of the amazing Montaña Amarilla (Yellow Mountain), one of the youngest volcanoes on the island. Even if it wasn’t the brightest of days due to the Calima, the mountain still stood out a bright yellow. We learned that it owes its distinctive colour to the sulphur from past eruptions. Directly next to this mountain is a beautiful sandy beach called Playa Cocina which literally means kitchen beach. It is so called because during the summer months so many people come here to have bbqs. We sailed very close to the mountain and beach for some fantastic photo opportunities, then continued a little further back towards the port, to stop at Playa Francesa (French beach). This is a gorgeous place to visit, as the sand is golden yellow, and the water so crystal clear. The fish can clearly be seen swimming around beneath the surface.
We were given the option to either swim to the beach, or be transported there by small boat. The distance wasn’t far and the swim was very inviting with the heat of the day. The water was beautifully calm and resembled a giant swimming pool, perfect for a swim to the shore. Once on shore we lay out our towels on the beach and sunbathed for a while. We were told we had a couple of hours at the beach of free time to do what we wanted, and we would all be called at 3pm for our lunch on the Catamaran. It was good to be able to choose what we wanted to do, as it allowed us more freedom. There were lots of different options to keep everyone entertained including kayaks, snorkelling equipment, and even an inflatable water trampoline!
We opted for the kayaks first which were great fun. Playa Francesa is also the perfect location for this because of the crystal clear and completely still currentless water. We were able to cruise around looking down at the amazing array of colorful fish swimming meters beneath us. It was like being at a giant natural aquarium! We had our trusty TomTom waterproof camcorder so shot some cool videos and photos to capture the moment. We had a good 15 minutes on the kayaks before it was time for someone else’s turn. It was not only good fun but also good exercise because you can really feel your arms working.
Once back on shore we grabbed some snorkel equipment and headed back to the water to swim around and capture some underwater visual vibes. The fish seemed almost completely unfazed by us and swam freely around our feet. There were fish of many different colours and sizes; it was a tropical paradise of aquatic life. We swam around following them with the TomTom just to get a glimpse of this alien life beneath the waves. While videos can never truly reproduce what it is like to be there, it will at least offer you an impression of what to expect when you take this excursion.
We exhausted ourselves swimming around, so it was definitely time for a bit of sunbathing back on the beach. The water trampoline looked like a lot of fun and lots of the others were using it but we preferred a little bit of beach bliss, watching the world go by. When the bell was rang for lunchtime, we honestly didn’t want to leave the beauty of that beach, although we were also looking forward to paella!
We took the small boat back to the Catamaran, grabbed a plate full of freshly prepared seafood paella and an ice cold beer, and settled down for lunch. We were feeling ravenous so the generous portion size was perfect. We enjoyed several more ice cold beers on the trip back too; it was the weekend after all!
Overall the day had been a great experience, with the right mix of relaxation, delicious food and drink, sightseeing and fun in the sun. We had an unexpected surprise at the end though which was the icing on the cake! The crew announced that they liked to arrive back at port in a party mood, and that they wanted us to all join in! They started the music and some of the crew came out dressed in wigs and outfits. They were dancing and drumming in the middle of the boat and some of the passengers got up to dance. Most people naturally looked a little shy to dance at first. This wasn’t a problem though, as the crew began dancing around the boat and getting more people to join in. The alcohol definitely helped overcome most people’s nerves and while not everybody joined in, most people got up for this impromptu dance. It was great fun and put a big smile on everyone’s faces.
The mood on arrival was great and this excursion is sure to get a lot of recommendations to friends and family. As we swapped to the ferry for the ride back to Lanzarote, the crew on the catamaran continued to dance and waved us off as we left. They were all really friendly and many of them were bilingual or polyglots which is very professional for these tourist excursions. Once again the sailing was smooth and the water calm, as we passed the amazing Lanzarote coastline on our way back to Orzola. Back on shore our buses were waiting for us, and we were driven back to Sands Beach Resort. We arrived satisfied with great memories.
ºIf you would like to book a place on this brilliant excursion then head over to the Out & About Lanzarote website > http://outandaboutlanzarote.com/item/love-graciosa/ You can also follow Líneas Marítima Romero on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks to all the crew for your friendliness and hard work!