January of 2021 brought some unusual and sometimes spectacular weather conditions to the Canaries. Not so much by the way of wind, in fact very little, but really high waves, lots of rain and snow (!!).

We had a weather forecast for a substantial amount of rain (the Palmeros [Locals] always want rain) but more interestingly also a forecast for unusually high waves, up to 4.8 metres in height.

Now weather forecasts can be unreliable but it seems that storm “Filomena” was about to pay us a visit. A check with the “Windy” website (www.windy.com) confirmed that we were going to have substantial wave and rain activity for several days.

Here in Tazacorte marina we had one or two days of tropical style rain, including a disappointingly small amount of thunder and lightning, all interspersed with beautiful sunshine and lower than normal temperatures. On the second day of “Filomena”s visit to the Canaries we were surprised to see a reasonable covering of snow on the upper slopes of the Caldera.

In addition the usually bone-dry “Barranco de la Angustias” became a raging torrent bringing with it all varieties of uprooted trees, branches and other debris that had accumulated during the several years of “drought”.

But then the waves came…
Here are some pictures from the 10 metre high wall at the end of the marina.

The waves were also quite destructive. The wall in Puero Tazacorte has (had!) a warning marker at the end to show where it is in the dark. The waves had already been coming over the wall there, but then a bigger one came.

The sad thing is that it was a new pole in 2020 after being wiped out previously by a similar event.

The waves were relentless, but also hypnotic. This is the wall protecting Puerto Tazacorte. Admittedly it’s only 3 – 4 meters high.

The beach and restaurants were also not safe. The waves were soon big enough to swamp the low protective wall in front of the buildings. In addition to a lot of water they also bought much of the beach with them and deposited it on the promenade.

The majority of the boats were safely in the marina although subject to a substantial surge from the waves.

These brave souls decided to try and anchor outside (but behind the protection of the marina wall). They weren’t there for long.

The phenomenon with the waves continued for several weeks after these pictures were taken. Apparently it’s not unusual to have large waves, but it is strange to have such BIG ones for so long.

Categories: Sailing Blog 2021