I can't believe it took me two trips and more than three months on Lanzarote to finally snorkel around the Telamon wreck in Arrecife's industrial zone. These are basically all my favourite things, so what was I thinking not going there on my first day??
The Telamon struck leak in 1981 during a storm about a mile northeast of the port of Arrecife.
From there it was towed off by a tuna vessel, to make sure it didn't block the harbour. There it sank to the ground and is still remaining in the same position more than 40 years later.
The wreck visible today is just the rear part of the vessel. Originally it had a total length of 140 meters, but a storm broke it in two parts.
So on my second trip to the island I finally dragged Daniel to the Telamon, also known under the much cooler name of Barca Fantasma “Ghost ship”. We drove into the harbour of Las Marmoles, between Arrecife and Costa Teguise, where we spotted the ship right away. Straight off the main road there was a dirt patch between the street and the shore where we parked and we simply walked into the water from there.
We had heard, that it is forbidden to snorkel there, so we didn't wear wet suits trying make it less obvious. According to a sign on the beach, diving INTO the vessel is not allowed, but it didn't say anything about swimming around it. Also there were yellow buoys around the wreck, so I'd assume that it's fine to go until there.
Shivering we made our way into the water. There is actually a sandy patch, so if it wasn't for the main road on one side and a buzzing power plant (?) on the other, this could be a nice beach. Although we were inside the harbour, the water was just as clear as in Puerto del Carmen.
The wreck lies about 200m from the shore (depending on the tide) and although there was a bit of a current it was an easy swim there.
From up close, the boat was so much bigger than I thought and the rusty broken-off ribs really worked well for the name “ghost ship”. We could have easily swum through there to see the main hall from inside, but it didn't feel safe to swim between all these sharp edges. So we remained outside and swam around. The front looks kinda intact, the sides have big holes and the entire rare is broken off. The second half of the boat wasn't visible.
I've heard stories about squatters who inhabited the boat for a while. Treading water right in front of it, I was jealous. The inside must have at least 50 rooms, there is a giant deck in the front and even a view point like in the movies. With a tiny rowing boat, it must be easily accessible. A pirate's dream.
It is being considered to dismantle the wreck at some point, to make sure it doesn't dissolve into the ocean. So you better get there quickly.
How to get there
The wreck lies in a bay between Arrecife and Costa Teguise and is easily accessible by car. Just drive out of Arrecife on Ctra. las Calettas and you will see the ship right from the street. You can simply drive on the dirt road right in front of the bay and park there.
What do i need?
We went in late February without a wet suit. I was doable, but quite cold. We'd definitely recommend fins, as the current was quite strong and you don't want to get pushed against the rusty vessel.
Is it legal?
Yes! According to the sign on the beach it's not allowed to dive into the wreck, but going around it seems to be fine.