Fim do Mundo? Tasartico
To write off Gran Canaria as the top European year-round mass tourism hotspot to be avoided by the more adventurous traveler might not be entirely fair. We did discover a nice spot, away from all the hustle and bustle, going west. The most western point of Gran Canaria boasts a secluded bay with a small campsite and one private property. Electricity is provided by a generator and is only available at certain times of the day. There is no cell phone reception. Stunning nature. Peace and quiet. The place is only known to Gran Canarians. The contrast couldn’t be bigger with places like Maspalomas, Puerto Rico, Anfi, Playa de Amadores, Taurito, …
Tenerife’s mount Teide could be seen from our anchorage. This is the highest mountain in Spain, and the third tallest volcano on Earth (measured from its base on the ocean floor) on a volcanic ocean island. Being at the point you could also see the opposing currents collide.
We went for a beer at the campsite and Gitane got invited to play cards with the local kids Maria, Gonzalo, Bianca, Antonio that were there on holiday. The older ones spoke good English. We offered to take them to Exodus the next day, to snorkel, kayak and play. In return, Bianca’s mother Alejandra, showed us around on her father’s private property and his nice garden. Clearly with a bit of irrigation, anything grows.
Ferrying between Arguineguin and Pasito Blanco
It had been since Madeira that we saw a proper yacht shop and our list of spares for the crossings kept growing. In Arguineguin, a small local fisherman’s town, we found almost all we needed or ordered it in at the yacht shop. The yacht shop owner, Maria, was born on the Spanish mainland close to Portugal so she had no problem understanding our portignol. We went there almost on a daily basis. Arguineguin also has a Hiperdino, a small and big Spar supermarket, and 3 Chinese shops. For some unknown reason it holds a specific appeal with Scandinavian pensioners that buy up a small apartment or house.
Our favorite anchorages for working were either in the Arguineguin bay or the Pasito Blanco bay. Both offered easy access to the beach, which is mainly frequented by local people or part-time foreign residents. Arguineguin had the benefit of having all the shops close by but at times our peace was disturbed by party catamarans clicking onto the mooring buoy next to our anchorage. In Gran Canaria they offer a three-in-one water experience: cruise on a party boat, drive a jetski or be driven around on another motor boat, have a swim or play around on a peddle board. This comes with annoying music, happy hour, and a photographer to record your unique experience for the future generations. At least that’s how the sales talk goes. Seeing a new crowd every three hours casts some serious doubt on the uniqueness of the experience…
Pasito Blanco bay was a quiet spot, just outside of the marina. Convenient for the 3 times we had to pop into the marina. In the Canaries we never had an open, clear blue sky, it was always slightly overcast. This caused our solar panels not to function optimally. Add on, that most anchorages offer protection from the predominant wind and therefore reduce the output of the wind generator, and you end up with a slowly depleting battery bank. Other sailing blogs write about the necessity to equalize your battery bank once a month by going into a marina and making use of the shore power. This extends your battery life substantially. It made sense and was added to our routine. Charging all the batteries revealed that 3 out of 6 were up for replacement. We also considered changing our alternator to a more powerful version so that the charge rate is optimized. We got the contacts of electrician Paco through the marina office. Paco, however, did not offer an impeccable service. He quoted us an exact (high) amount for putting in a new alternator but could not say which make or model it would be. This felt a tad too much like being taken for a ride, so we declined the offer. Later on, we got hold of a German electrician, Hans. He does the electronics on the racing yachts that participate in the ARC and often sails along on one of them. He measured the exact output of our current alternator. Hans convinced us the current one is up for the job and is in no urgent need of replacement.
While we were docked in the Pasito Blanco marina, we met Genevieve, Torsten, and Mason the dog on Sv Liloe. Genevieve is a Canadian lawyer who gave up her thriving practice to live on a yacht and sail around the world. Torsten is a German IT consultant working from the boat. Because of Torsten’s job responsibilities they take a slower pace and prefer sailing from marina to marina to have access to all amenities and faster internet. Conversing on cruising around the world, Genevieve remarked quite truthfully: ‘The world around us is collapsing, but we have this lifestyle’.
Careful what you wish for
When diving and snorkeling on the wreck the others had seen big rays and game fish. Winnie had missed out on the experience as she had Gitane in tow, which always makes her substantially slower than the rest. Gitane loves being in the water, floating comfortably on the surface with her dive suit and inflatable armbands, chirping away. So by the time slow Winnie and noisy Gitane get to the right spot, all fish have disappeared. Which is fine most of the time as Gitane is enjoying every minute. But to see a big ray from close up sounded really great. A few days later we were back in Arguineguin. The beach was packed with people as it was weekend. Due to micro algae the first few meters of water off the beach were rather murky and the stones slippery. Winnie was taking Gitane for a stroll and swim when all of the sudden the huge slippery stone she stepped on moved from under her feet and nearly toppled her over. Regaining her balance she quickly looked at her right in the water and saw the unmistakable flapping movement of a big ray! Guess there is some truth in ‘Be careful what you wish for’!
In Pasito Blanco as well, we noticed there was a specific spot on the beach, in a shady corner, close to marina, that was favored by rays. In an attempt to get some video footage, we managed to step on them several times.
Time to move on
Beginning October our extra crew flew in and our break in the Canaries was finished. We were happy to visit nice beaches like Punto de Papagaio and La Graciosa. The pleasant water temperature and warm climate. We enjoyed La Lajita, Gran Tarajal, Pasito Blanco, Arguineguin and Puerto de Mogan and Tasartico, all for different reasons. But we have no direct need to return.