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Santa Cruz de la Palma: First Landfall in the Canaries

By Mike Mc Hurley — last modified Jun 14, 2016 03:22 PM

Published: 2016-06-09 23:00:00
Countries: Canary Islands

This was my first landfall after an 18-day passage from Calais in May 2016.

Easy landfall, deep water all around, and harbor entrance is straightforward. No response from La Palma Port Coontrol on VHF channel 6, and no response from the marina on channel 16, perhaps because I was speaking English. I later found out that the marina monitors channel 13, not 16.

The Marina office - as with most offices and stores on the entire island - closes at 2 p.m. and re-opens at 5 p.m. Closed all day Sunday. But when I arrived at the marina after 2 p.m., one of the staff was present and very helpful to take my lines and tie me alongside the fuel dock until the office re-opened and I could get sorted in a slip.

Clearance

The Immigration office is located inside the port terminal building on the pier where cruise and ferry passengers embark. If you are not a citizen of an EU country, you will be sent here to pass through border control. Be aware that stays longer than 3 months for non-EU residents will require a short-term visa, available from the local office of the Spanish government, nearby, upon proof of adequate finances and health insurance.

Marina

The Marina requires vessel ownership documents, passport, and vessel insurance. The people here couldn't be nicer. The docks are floating and brand new, very robust.

The marina was only about 1/3 full when I arrived. The marina complex is brand new and very impressive. Several restaurants and stores have opened here, but most are now closed, including a really lovely Spar Express grocery store that closed the week after I arrived. Now one bar/grill and a nice casual men's and women's clothing shop are all that remain open within the marina.

Guests of the marina are allowed to use a beautiful, brand new yacht club next door with formal dining, spectacular indoor and outdoor pools, and a fitness center with small boat and kayak rentals.

The marina, although protected, has a fairly significant swell, but this is nothing that should dampen anyone's spirits after making the passage here from Europe. However, heavy dock lines will be needed. Chafe guards will be necessary for all dock lines, as will be fenders on one side for the boat.

There is a very well stocked chandlery right in the marina with affordable prices and a decent array of spares and supplies.  They also sell the spring-loaded dockline snubbers you'll see on  many of the boats  here. You'll defintely need two or three of these to dampen the strain of the swell on your dock lines and deck fittings. Marina guests are given an additional ten percent discount, but you will need to ask for it.

The wifi is very good, ad the showers and bathrooms, accessible only to marina guests, are brand new, spa quality, cleaned twice daily whether they need it or not, and are immaculate. There is a nice washer and a dryer for laundry for 4 Euros each.

Marina guests are given card keys, and these control access not only to the showers, but to the marina itself, which is securely locked with a large barred gate after 11 p.m. The marina has security on duty 24 hours. Very safe place.

The Town & Island

The town is right outside the marina entrance with a wide array of grocery stores, restaurants, shops, hardware stores, electronics stores, and just about all you would need. An outdoor market sets up in the parking lot outside the marina on some Sundays. There is a McDonald's right next door . . . if you really must. Car rentals are easy and inexpensive at several locations right outside the marina, about 25-30 Euros a day.

There is bus service to the airport that leaves every half hour on weekdays, every hour on weekends, from a stop across the street, and it is possible to go all over the island by bus.

The island is absolutely stunning, with elevations to nearly 8,000 feet, rainforests, waterfalls, and tropical pools. There are two black sand beaches within walking distance of the marina, one close on the harbor, and a much larger and prettier one up the road near the hotels in Baja Brena.

Marine Services

There does not appear to be much activity involving work on boats. A working boatyard with a Travel Lift capable of hauling out large yachts is located within the harbor, separate from the marina. There are one or two large sailboats on the hard there, and there is an office in the yard. I have not explored it. I don't know what mechanical help might be available, but this is a working port dealing with daily cargo and ferry boat arrivals, so I imagine the usual diesel and mechanical and electrical repairs and servicing would be available upon request.

Nice people. Affordable prices. Very glad I came here.

Mike Hurley

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