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Tenerife, San Miguel Marina: Detailed Review

By Deyan — last modified Dec 10, 2012 04:51 PM

Published: 2012-12-10 00:00:00
Countries: Canary Islands

This is a pleasant marina with a very easygoing, sometimes too easygoing atmosphere. All the staff are like a family, taking part in different choirs and always smiling. This is a very rare place in the sense that it's not geared to milk you of as many dollars as possible - an attitude not often encountered anywhere these days. Having spent more than a month there in intermittent intervals I feel I can write an adequate review. This is a somewhat detailed review with important and useful details interspersed throughout.

Arrival at the Marina

First off, the marina is still in the process of enlargement, with more concrete and pontoons on the way, as well as drilling to make it deeper in the not yet developed area behind the red buoys. The entrance is marked by red and green beacons - there is a channel to follow starting immediately after the breakwater. On entry you should leave all red buoys to your left. It's a good idea to look out for vessels going in the opposite direction, since the entrance is not very wide for two-way traffic, especially if one of the vessels is a catamaran. Once in there's ample space to manoeuver or go in circles for that matter - something that you might have to do - read on.

The reception pontoon/fuel dock is located to the right, in front of the office, which also houses the bar. This is the only two storey building in the marina and being almost on the tip of the breakwater is easy to spot. If your boat has a draft of 2,5 meters or more you cannot enter during low water springs.

Berthing

As I said, the staff, especially the marineros (locally called "sailors"), are extremely easygoing, I would say too relaxed. This might sound strange until you enter the marina and find out that you can't spot a place to berth and not a marinero in sight. All of them do their job in a dedicated and friendly manner but are somewhat sluggish - allow for a couple of minutes delay and don't enter further looking for a berth on your own, especially if there's more than 15 knots of wind. If you're not arriving during the October/November/December busy season then berthing is quite straightforward, since you will easily spot a number of possible places to tie up to. Calls on channel 09 are not acknowledged 100% of the time.

I was there during the above mentioned busy months and witnessed various quite frustrating and inadequate actions, some including damaged boats. This is the reason for the following more detailed information regarding berthing possibilities.

The reception pontoon is almost constantly occupied by a yellow tourist submarine, which takes up almost two thirds of the pontoon. This submarine goes out twice daily and is accompanied by a small pilot boat. During autumn 2012 the first tour started at eleven till about one, one-thirty, followed immediately by a second tour until three. All this is relevant information if you are arriving during busy season, because chances are you will not be able to berth anywhere. Rafting up to the submarine is possible and is often practiced - it has a substantial rub rail, albeit at the waterline. If you have no other choice put your fenders as low as possible and raft up.

The long pontoon on the inside of the breakwater has at least eight places in the beginning with pick-up/mooring lines - something you will not notice easily. These places  start at the beginning of the pontoon and end where there are four or five water jets parked. Often yachts and cats have no other choice but to raft up to vessels on the breakwater pontoon.

Something to keep in mind is that the distance between the finger pontoons (on the left after entry) is not adequate. Especially with a lack of space the tendency is to put big boats in small berths. Maneuvering to a berth on the finger pontoons can be a problem with the prevailing winds always abeam.

The marina is often visited by completely inexperienced crews who have chartered a yacht to or from La Gomera. These need to be closely watched as it will probably be their first berthing during which the skipper will suddenly discover that it's not as easy as parking a large car. Expect complete chaos and lack of coordination. These boats are not to be confused with the yachts of the RYC Sailing School which have very experienced skippers on board closely watching what their students are doing.

If you have to enter or leave a berth in the current First Pontoon (one more is under construction) under strong winds there is a possibility for cutting through the buoys of the channel. We did this twice after consulting exactly between which buoys and pilings it was safe to pass. DO NOT attempt to cut across for any reason without first verifying with the office. There are some locals who do this but they are very well aware of the situation on the bottom.

If berthed on any of the finger pontoons watch out if the wind starts blowing from the south. Even in 15 knots the individual fingers do not have pilings and take a southern wind surprisingly hard. While I was there one off the fingers almost broke off! Check your lines if you berthed with a north wind as a change of direction will probably mean that your bow might now be scraping the pontoon.

Location

I find some of the descriptions of the marina location somewhat inadequate. The fact that it is not situated in a town, but next to a golf course makes it all the more peaceful and pleasant. This is definitely the most secure marina in the Canaries - not because of any special measures, as a matter of fact there are no keys or cards to the gates. The reason is that it's out of town and except English or German tourists and the crews themselves there isn't anybody else there.

Facilities

  • Internet is available for free in the bar, but there's also a prepaid "hotspot"  wireless service with unlimited traffic for 30 euro a month. The signal is good in the whole marina, download speed was about 100 kB/s. There's also a computer with internet in the washing area, which accepts coins - the price was one or two euro and hour.
  • Bathrooms and washing are adequate and relatively clean. There are two washing machines and one dryer - one cycle for each is about 5 euros.
  • There is a travel lift and if you have to haul out for a day or two it looks like an extremely easy place to accomplish.
  • As mentioned above, the marina office is located on the first floor of the two storey building at the head of the breakwater. The first floor also doubles as the submarine safari office and shop. In the office you will find Rafael, commonly known as Rafa. He's extremely kind and helpful. This is the reason why he's exceptionally busy, but always willing to help with finding parts or finding a service.
  • There's diesel at the pump and camping gas bottles exchanged at the office.

Local Services

  • Rent a car is available from Tenerife Rent a Car starting from 35EU a day. They will bring the car to the marina and pick it up from there at no additional charge. I used their service many times and they're quite good.
  • Las Chafiras, up on the freeway is about 6 euro away by TAXI and has many auto shops as well as well stocked hardware stores and two powerboat shops.
  • There are two supermarkets nearby, the bigger one being Mercadona. It's a medium sized supermarket (by European standards). The TAXI ride is 6 euro. A second, small mini market is closer by, next to the Aguamarina hotel, about ten minutes walk.
  • Beside the marina is a small rocky beach, above which there are good dining opportunities with good food and reasonable prices.

Getting Around

The TAXI ride to the airport - Tenerife Sur - is around 15 Euro. There are buses to Los Cristianos - numbers 470 and 483, as well as to Santa Cruz. The bus stop is above the Aguamarina hotel, about ten minutes from the marina - ask for directions at the hotel since the layout of the streets is insane. There's a bus about every hour or so - forget about the schedule as the drivers themselves do not know how to follow it. Bus number 470 takes about an hour to get to Los Cristianos because it passes through Las Galletas. 480 takes about 15 minutes, costs around 3 euro.

Hope you find this information helpful.

Deyan

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