Graciosa, Canary Islands | Spain

This is the second closest to Africa I have ever been! The closest was Gibraltar, but no cigar. In late-July 2015, I came across this “Wolves Workshop” on the web as I browsed through photography forums. I saw the photos, knew the speakers, and although I still didn’t really know what it was (of if it was even real), I filled out my information for kicks. I got one email back basically saying “Thanks! So excited you’ll be joining, more info soon”, but didn’t hear from them again about a reservation. I started a temporary job in August and as it was coming to a close in October, I received an email from the event planner that my “final payment was due.” What? At this point, I had zero intention of going, had forgotten about it, and had zero information, but when I talked to them, they said I still had a chance to join due to miscommunication. No flight, no ticket. With the verbal support of my family, friends, and coworkers, this once in a lifetime opportunity to go to the Canary Islands to learn from the best wedding photographers in the world was happening. I can’t believe it did. Thinking about the process gives me a huge smile on my face. I booked a flight to Spain, spent a few days in my favorite country, and by the grace of God, was able to make some connections on Facebook with people who would also be attending. Little did I know that this leap of faith would change my entire life, give me opportunities for genuine friendships with funny, humble, and talented people, and be one of the most unforgettable experiences in life so far. Not to mention, I learned so much, the island was a fairy tale, and timing in life was impeccable.

A few days prior, the Lobos and I spent a day and a half in Lanzarote, a bigger island that we flew to in order to take the bus and a ferry to Graciosa. There were two ferrys: morning and night. We got on the evening one and I remember standing at the bow. A cool breeze in my face. We saw volcanic mountains, beaches, lighthouses and no more than 20 minutes later, we approached this island. Boats everywhere, but even more undeveloped land. It was getting dark, and I remember Pablo running to greet us, we got off the boat with our luggage and were welcomed so warmly.

La Graciosa (Spanish for “graceful”) is a volcanic island in the Canary Islands of Spain, located 1.2 mi north of the island of Lanzarote across the strait named El Río. It was formed by the Canary hotspot. The island is part of the Chinijo Archipelago and the Chinijo Archipelago Natural Park (Parque Natural del Archipiélago Chinijo). It is administrated by the municipality of Teguise. The only two settlements are Caleta de Sebo in the southeastern part of the island and summer-residence Casas de Pedro Barba.

The population is about 700. Tourism is the main industry along with fishing. Every year, tourists flock to the island for its tempered climate and its sandy volcanic coasts. The island has a school, post office, supermarkets, medical center, church, pharmacy, a Bankia bank branch, port, beaches, bar-restaurants and a square.

Streets and roads on La Graciosa are unpaved sand. Motor vehicles are strictly prohibited and limited to a handful of licensed vehicles for special purposes. Access to the Island is by a 35-minute ferry crossing from Orzola on Lanzarote to the harbour in the village. There is a campsite on the Island situated on Playa del Salado at the western edge of Caleta del Sebo.

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