The Canaries (Canary Islands)
The Canary Islands are a volcanic archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean near the northwest coast of Africa.
It consists of seven large islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Palma, Gomera and Hierro) and several smaller islands, of which only Graciosa is inhabited.
The entire territory is part of Spain as an autonomous community.
The two capitals are Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Together with the Azores, Cape Verde, Selvagens and Madeira, the Canaries are geographically part of the Macaronesian Islands.
There are several versions of the origin of the name the Canary Islands. The most common – that the islands were named after the canaries that live there – is a fallacy, as quite the contrary, the birds themselves got their name from their place of origin. Quite literally, “Canary Islands” translates from Spanish as “Canary Islands” but it is still a mystery as to which dog is meant. Opinions are divided: either the islands were so named after the large number of large dogs that lived there, or they were named after sea lions (the Latin name for which is translated as ‘sea dog’), or they were named after the Egyptian god Anubis, who had the head of a dog.
The Canary Islands were originally settled by the Guanches, and throughout history, many nations have fought over the territory. In 1982, the Canaries became an autonomous region of Spain, and since 1986 have been a member of the European Union under special conditions.
The nature of the Canary Islands is astonishing in its splendor and diversity: frozen volcanic lava, relict forests, black sand beaches, cliffs and gorges, an ocean that displays all its power and provides an opportunity to meet an incredible number of whales and dolphins.
The Canary Islands have a marked difference in climate between south and north – the southern islands are dry, while the northern ones are wet and lush with greenery.
But overall, the Canaries’ moderately hot, dry climate, with most days of sunshine and water temperatures never dropping below 20C, provides unique conditions to call the Canaries “islands of eternal spring”. The weather is warm and clear throughout the year and the change of seasons is almost imperceptible.
The Canary Islands are located in an area of sustained northerly trade winds. Most of the year they blow from the northeast, but in the case of a cyclone, the wind direction can change to the southwest. Many marinas are oriented to a particular wind direction, which can make entering them difficult.
The standard wind force in the Canaries is a 4 or 5 Beaufort, but when the dry, hot Sirocco wind blows in from the Sahara Desert, the force can reach 10. This is accompanied by sand and dust storms, with the decks of the yachts covered in a layer of brownish-red sand. In the waters around the Canary Islands, there are characteristic areas of wind acceleration, especially between the high western islands where the wind speed increases 2-3 times to over 40 knots.
Christopher Columbus made a stopover on the island of Homer during his voyage in search of India and, following the discovery of the Americas, the Canary Islands have been an important stopover point on his journey from Europe to the New World. From November onwards, the Canary marinas begin to fill up dramatically with large numbers of yachts. To avoid idling over the winter, charter companies based in the Mediterranean in the summer months move their yachts here. Boaters bound for the transatlantic Caribbean are also starting to flock here, as it’s the ideal stopover to fully prepare their boats technically and to stock up on fuel and provisions for the long haul. Keep in mind that the Marinas are pretty much full this time of year and the anchorages in the Canaries are not ideal, as the rocky seabed, deep water and rough seas leave very few chances of finding a safe place to anchor. Nor are there many marinas in the Canaries. They cost less than the Mediterranean marinas in general but are inferior to them in terms of service and comfort. But they do have electricity, water, toilets and showers.
To reach the Canary Islands, flights arrive at all international airports on the archipelago – Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.
A Schengen visa is required to visit.
The Canary Islands is a part of Macaronesia.
The islands of Macaronesia belong to three states – Spain, Portugal and Cape Verde. belong to three states – Spain, Portugal and Cape Verde.
The islands of Macaronesia are of volcanic origin and belong to 5 main archipelagos:
Internationsl Airports at the Canary Islands
Canary Islands wind and weather forecast
How long does it take to sail from Spain to Canary Islands?
It takes around 42 hours to sail from Spain continent to Canary Islands.
What is the capital of Canary Islands?
There are two capitals of Canary Islands - Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.