For centuries the Canary Islands have played an important role in maritime history. As the seven islands of the archipelago occupy a strategically important position in the Atlantic Ocean. Right in the path of the Trade winds.
This once made them the perfect launching pad for naval expeditions to the New World and a vital conduit for trade between Europe, Africa and The Americas.
Christopher Columbus embarked upon his famous voyage of discovery from the Canaries. Admiral Nelson lost his arm at the Battle of Tenerife in 1797. And during the Second World War Winston Churchill, fearing the fall of Gibraltar, even prepared plans for the British invasion of the islands.
Today, the Canaries provide a base for the more sedate pursuits of sports sailing and marine excursions. Lanzarote alone boasts four harbours and two new marinas.
So there´s no shortage of alternatives for those who want to sample the seas around the island.
Boat trips are easy to arrange too. Most hotel and apartment receptions offer a very wide choice and will be more than happy make a booking for you. Not least as they earn commission on each trip sold. Most excursion operators will also pick passengers up and drop them back at their accommodation, making for a hassle free day out.
Alternatively, float along to any of the following locations and organize your own slice of life on the ocean wave.
Puerto del Carmen
The Old Town harbour in Puerto del Carmen is home to a number of different excursion operators. Offering everything from a quick trip up and down the coastline in a glass bottom boat to luxury, private yacht hire and full blown tours to other islands.
If you´re just after a cheap and cheerful cruise for an hour or so stroll down into the harbour and take your pick. There´s a number of boats embarking regularly and tickets can be bought at the kiosks up by the harbour wall. Prices start at around €10 per adult.
You can also take a trip on board the Princesa Ico and visit the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura.
It´s worth bearing in mind though that these sort of excursions can get very busy, especially during the summer months. So those looking for something a bit more sedate or exclusive might prefer to explore private boat hire.
Again, the range of choice is extensive and encompasses everything from fully equipped fishing yachts down to little rigid inflatable boats such as zodiacs. A plush Rodman 700, for example, can be hired from €250 for four hours. Which is fairly reasonable when divided amongst a large group.
Alternatively, couples can hire a three metre zodiac rigid inflatable boat for €100 for two hours and €40 thereafter, with fishing and snorkelling equipment thrown in.
The Puerto Calero Marina lies just down the coast from Puerto del Carmen. And this up-market location is home to hundreds of pricey private yachts as well as a diverse range of boat trips and maritime excursions.
The Marina can be used as a launching pad to reach the beautiful beaches at Papagayo via water taxi. There´s also a number of excellent small scale fishing excursions operating from here.
But more often than not visitors to Puerto Calero are usually embarking on one of the islands two most popular excursions.
Submarine Safaris operate the Yellow Submarine which takes passengers on a memorable undersea voyage of exploration. Above the waves, Catlanza treat passengers to a cruise down to the south of the island aboard their 75 foot catamaran.
Again, it is worth noting that these excursions can get very busy during peak holiday periods. So for a more tranquil and exclusive day at sea try hiring an authentic 38 foot ketch, complete with experienced skipper.
Puerto Calero now has a rival in the form of the recently opened Marina Rubicon, in Playa Blanca.
Just like Puerto Calero, Marina Rubicon provides mooring space for plenty of expensive yachts. And it’s also the embarkation point for a number of maritime excursions.
The Marina Rubicon also provides facilities for those who’d like to learn to sail or brush up on their sailing skills. Rubisail have a wide range of craft to suit all ages and experience levels, from beginner’s dinghies right up to two person catamarans for experienced sailors.