In March 2017, I visited the unique volcanic Canary island of Lanzarote with my friend. I had never been to Lanzarote but booked to visit for a bit of sun coming out of the UK winter. My plan was to relax, enjoy the weather and to do some scuba diving as friends had recommended it as a great place to dive during the UK's winter.
Having dived abroad in summer, in and around the Mediterranean, this was a chance to dive somewhere new. Lanzarote, although a Spanish island is actually located in the Atlantic Ocean, so I'd get the chance to experience the crystal clear waters for the first time.
Lanzarote is the most easterly of the Canary islands, and lying off the coast of northwest Africa, is known for its all year round warm weather. Perfect, if like me, the idea of diving in the UK, even on a spring or autumn day doesn't inspire, because you know that you'll be cold before you even hit the water. I have now come to terms with the fact that I really am a "fair weather diver" and I have great respect for those friends of mine who take their annual Christmas dip at a nearby UK quarry.
I booked to dive with Safari Diving in Puerto del Carmen. Well, all I can say is Wow! The diving experience was something entirely different. Walking down to the dive shop from our hotel, I was really looking forward to getting into the water.
Whether walking straight into the sea from the beach or climbing in from the harbour wall steps, it was so easy to quickly get under the surface and start exploring the unique underwater world. Because of the time of year, the underwater visibility was beyond anything I was expecting or had experienced before. I enjoyed some great dives, getting the chance to see some amazing marine life, including groupers, schools of barracuda, octopus and even a seahorse or two.
Each dive brought a different experience of new fish, plant life or caves to explore. Even the offshore drift I experienced on one of my dives, that had me working hard as I pulled myself along the seabed towards the beach at the end of the dive, was quickly forgotten as my aching arms tucked into my lunch of tapas, squid and a Mahou beer.
During a day off from diving, I decided to take a boat trip from the harbour in Puerto del Carmen across to the Isle of Lobos, close to Fuerteventura. This is a mainly uninhabited island that is home to a nature reserve and the Punta Martiño lighthouse. Sold as a dolphin route trip, there was the chance to spot dolphins on the way to the island. Unfortunately, I didn't see any, however the experience of skimming across the water, at times with no land in site and then seeing the islands appear on the horizon was unforgettable and provided some great views.
Whilst on the island I took the hiking path to the top of La Caldera mountain before heading to the harbour at El Puertito to sit and rest, enjoying the quiet and solitude that this tiny island gives the visitor.
After this relaxing day, I headed back to Lanzarote for some more diving and to check out some local cycling and hiking tour companies.
In the evenings it was time to relax, watching the sunset over the harbour and enjoy watching the locals playing 'Canarian Bowls'
So, if you are looking for a short break away from the cold UK winter, Lanzarote would be an ideal choice. From enjoying days on the beach and great food beside the ocean, there is also a wealth of outdoor adventure activities for you to try from scuba diving to cycling to short hiking tours and a wide range of boat trips.