For those who love marine life, Kit Pascoe recommends anchoring in the gin clear waters of Fuerteventura’s Isla de Lobos
This gin-clear anchorage will revive your soul, whether you sail there or just read about it
Like its larger neighbours Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, Isla de Lobos (Seal Island) is dusty and barren. A miniature island barely separated from Fuerteventura’s mainland, the anchorage itself sits in the El Rio channel out of the prevailing winds and under the watchful gaze of Montaña de la Caldera. The exquisite nature of this anchorage is not the land surrounding it however, but the clear waters beneath. The anchorage is deceptively small as the bay itself is mainly a dangerously shallow reef. Anchor north-west of the pier in 6-10m with excellent sandy holding; the water is so clear that it’s easy to see from the boat where the sand ends and the reef begins.
The prevailing northeasterlies have a tendency to funnel down the El Rio, but the bay is protected. That said, it is no place to be in strong winds. In light northerlies and north easterlies though, it will charm you.
Swell can interrupt a Lobos visit and if you need a fast escape then there’s a marina across the El Rio in Corralejo, or the very sheltered (but expensive) Marina Rubicon, 10 miles north on the southern end of Lanzarote.
Approaching the anchorage from any direction requires focused study of your chart, as the reef extends in several directions and there is an unpleasant amount of isolated rocks off the southwestern end. Despite this, it is not a complicated entry.
In very light swell you can happily take your dinghy to the lagoon and beach, bring it up on the shore or anchor it off and snorkel the reef from there. Alternatively, you can row south-west of the pier where you will find a sheltered reef in which to anchor your dinghy. The water is warm and the fish curious; you could easily find yourself followed by a shoal. Because the reef is so shallow, you’ll be instantly treated to black angelfish with electric blue undersides, multi-coloured parrotfish and countless, vibrant others.
If you must go to land, then take a full bottle of water as the heat can be intense. From the lagoon beach, follow a dusty path through defunct salt pans to the bottom of the caldera. At 127m, it doesn’t take long to reach the summit but, be warned, the path is loose rubble in places. From the top you have a 360° view of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and the reef below. It’s worth the effort. A passenger ferry motors between Corralejo and Lobos’s pier throughout the day with little regard for anchored yachts, so take care if swimming. During the day tourist catamarans also moor close to the pier but are unobtrusive.
Canarian anchorages are few and far between and Isla de Lobos is positioned perfectly for the west-going yacht from Lanzarote. Quieter than Isla Graciosa, it’s a fair weather anchorage but once you’re there, you’ll quickly want to slip below the surface and see the world beneath.
Once you’re there, you’ll quickly want to slip below the surface and see the world beneath
Tucked in at the top of Fuerteventura, Isla de Lobos is a rare Canarian anchorage