Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 21 July 2017

Blessing the Boats

Here in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, we are in the middle of a week-long fiesta* to celebrate the Patron Saint Carmen. The actual Saint Day is 16th July and from that date on towns and villages on the island hold their own celebrations. Here, and in Puerto del Carmen, there are churches dedicated to Nuestra Señora del Carmen, reminding us that fishing was once the main source of income. At the beginning of the week, the effigy of the saint is paraded through the town. All week we have the fair and lots of activities for young and old, and at the weekend we have live music and fireworks.

On Sunday, the saint is paraded once more, to a highly decorated boat, where she is placed in full view of the surrounding flotilla, whilst the locals and tourists watch from the prom. The old tradition is that she blesses all the small fishing vessels and the fishermen pray for bountiful catches during the coming year; these days anybody can join in. A few years ago, our friends invited us aboard their boat to join the flotilla. I’m not good on boats, but we actually had a good time.

I remember it was all fairly chaotic towards the end, when the circle broke down and it became a bit of a free for all! Sailing back towards the sunset however, gave us a view of Playa Blanca we don’t often see. At this time of year, I remember that day with fondness, and I have good memories of my friend, who sadly died the following year. She was calling out to her husband to move away from some of the boats who were ‘bigger than us’.  This year we’ll be watching from the safety of dry land.

You may have to zoom in to see the Virgin - she’s under the palm arch.
The crowds line the prom.
Organised chaos!
That’s quite close enough!
A welcome view of home. You can see that there are no high rises here, due to influence of the artist and visionary, Cesar Manrique, who was born here. That’s ‘our’ volcano, Montaña Roja.

Join other contributors to this week’s Sepia Saturday, where our prompt image was a family watching TV aboard a boat.


  1. Great photos
    Week long festivals are the best.

  2. Quite the celebration! The photo of the volcano Montana Roja is gorgeous!

  3. Nice photos and memories. It always seems like there is an awful lot of preparation needed for a day's sail and then at the end of the day a lot more work is needed before you can leave the boat. You have to be dedicated!

  4. Looks like a big challenge maneuvering the boat in the crowd. The island is beautiful from all the photos you've shared. We love local celebrations like this and always watch for them when we travel.
    In our own town we have an avocado festival ...100,000 people descend on our normally 40,000 person town. We no longer go because of the crowds. Go figure.

  5. I think the traditions of boating people come from a long memory of what the ocean is capable of. I imagine it's a great honor to be the boat that carries Saint Carmen.

  6. Those boats are full up! There is a Blessing of the Bikes up in Lake County, MI. The town fills up with bikers and they all end up at the airport where they get blessed. I never attended but you couldn't avoid the bikers in town that weekend.

  7. Oh this sounds like a really lovely event. Something actually from an old 1950s movie. Nice to know celebrations like this still take place.

  8. I've lived several places (in FL, maybe in TX) with blessings of the fleets, to encourage good fishing even though there are commercial fishing industries which probably would have most benefited...anyway, the pleasure boats are always full of people partying! These are great photos!