Saturday, October 25, 2014

Oil controversy continues. Greepeace ship arrives reports:

Spain defends Canaries oil drilling plan

People protest against oil and gas exploration by Spanish group REPSOL off the coast of the Canary Islands, on the Spanish Canar
People protest against oil and gas exploration by Spanish group REPSOL off the coast of the Canary Islands, on the Spanish Canary island of Gran Canaria on August 23, 2014
Spain on Friday launched a legal challenge to defend plans to explore for oil and gas off the Canary Islands, a popular tourist destination. Authorities in the Canaries oppose the government-backed plan by oil giant Repsol to prospect under the seabed near the Spanish Atlantic archipelago and have said they will let locals vote on the plan on November 23.
The conservative government in Madrid decided Friday to appeal to the Constitutional Court against that referendum, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said.
"This appeal motion has already been signed" by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, she told a news conference after Friday's weekly cabinet meeting.
She said the government would challenge the vote on the same legal grounds it has used to get a planned referendum on independence for the Catalonia region suspended.
In both cases, the government says the regional governments are not authorised to hold referendum-style votes.
"We are talking about matters that are in the power of the state, not of the Canary Islands government," Saenz said.
Madrid outraged the Canaries' regional government, residents and environmental groups in August by giving Repsol the all-clear to explore near the islands' coasts.
The company has been authorised to spend three years probing below the sea bed about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
Residents of the archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa fear Repsol's explorations will harm the environment and disrupt the tourism industry on which their economy relies.
Under the terms of the licence, Repsol must provide a deposit of 20 million euros ($25 million) "to cover its environmental responsibilities".
Those safeguards have not convinced the islands'  or residents, however. Protesters demonstrated across the eight inhabited  of the archipelago on October 18.
Greenpeace said its campaign boat Arctic Sunrise was heading to the island of Lanzarote on Friday evening and would also visit two other ports in the Canaries over the coming 10 days to support the protests.
© 2014 AFP 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Poster for In The Heart Of The Sea movie

Now the first official fim poster for the film 'In The Heart Of The Sea', directed by Ron Howard and shot partially on location in La Gomera, has been published by Warner Bros. The film is due for release in March of next year. It's a very impressive and stunningly beautiful poster and having had the luck to work on the set as a picture double I just can't wait to see the movie...
Poster © Warner Bros.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oil find only 200 kms away from Canaries

Opposition against oil exploration remains strong in the Canary islands despite the latest discovery of oil off Morocco. Island Connections reports:
Moroccan oil find 'changes nothing' in Canaries, says government
News of the discovery of oil off Morocco in no way changes the opposition of the Canarian people to drilling in the waters off the islands, says the regional government. 

Image: Archive
Canary Islands - 22.10.2014 
- Details emerged yesterday of what appears to be a major find by Genel Energy off Morocco and the news has, unsurprisingly, triggered conflicting views in the Canaries. While supporters of the drilling planned for waters off Lanzarote and Fuerteventura later this year say the find, which still has to be confirmed with further testing of the well, makes the explorations here of even greater interest, opponents say it changes nothing. "This is not the first time we have heard this type of news, which is often put out for stock market interests. The risks involved in the drilling there are not as serious as in the Canaries, which is why we will continue to oppose the plans" said regional president Paulino Rivero, who insisted that the stance taken by the government was "a matter of convictions" and not opportunism. Rivero called on Morocco to take the "strictest measures" to ensure the extraction of any oil found is carried out with full environmental guarantees. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weather warnings today

AEMET rain radar at 10:10 am showing heavy rain approaching La Gomera
There is an orange alert for occasionally heavy rain with accumulations of up to 90 mm in 12 hours for the western Canaries today. There are also warnings of thunderstorms today.
This is due to a developing storm between the Canaries and the Azores which will bring unsettled weather for a couple of days. The weather should have returned to normal conditions by mid-week.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rain or shine

You do get 'proper weather' in the Canaries sometimes, too. I really enjoyed reading Queenie's post on one of her excellent blogs describing a weather event that sometimes can hit these usually sun-blessed islands of 'eternal spring'. I am reproducing it below, but I've added my own photo of a heavy downpour and wild seas during a storm experienced on La Gomera last winter. Don't worry though, bad weather is rare and short-lived in the Canaries. Actually, the locals hope and pray for rain at this time of the year. To them the rain is as important as the sun is for us.

The Storm

This descriptive writing lark isn’t as easy as I imagined.  Firstly I find it particularly hard to find something to write about and then once I do I’m at a loss at how to create a vivid picture.  It makes you realise just how lacking in language you really are!

Long before technology people relied on observation to avoid being caught off guard by the elements. Despite being raised on the wild northeast coast, I was never good at predicting what was going to happen so inevitably I was taken totally by surprise.
The day started beautifully, the sky was like a dome of plasma-blue but there were those who saw the storm closing in. Within minutes of me setting off for town, the once clear sky became full of thick clouds, staining it a deadly shade of indigo. Birds silenced their song and people ran for cover as the saturated clouds start to rumble and spat out beads of water – it began as a whispering in the air but a storm was brewing.
I quickened my pace but caught the first splatter of rain when I was halfway down the road. I took refuge in a doorway, others huddled under shop awnings or sheltered in cars, their windscreen wipers furiously struggling against the increasingly pounding rain as we waited for the storm to pass but the rainfall became more intense. For a while, those who rushed off to work as they do every morning eventually made a wet scramble to stay on schedule only to be drowned and drenched.
So much rain was falling that the sound blurred into one long whirring noise.  It wasn’t the soft, sodden, swollen drops of spring; it was as if ball bearings were hitting the pavement with force. The thermometer plunged as we huddled together and shivered. For a brief moment, I thought that we might be doomed adventurers, destined to be swept away in a mighty flood but eventually, the noise lessened and we made a break for our destinations.  I hurried inside a small cafe, where the smells of strong coffee and wet woollen coats floated in the air. I chose a seat and gazed out of the steamed up windows every few seconds to check what was happening.
It was only a little after ten o’clock in the morning but the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon us as the lightning started. It never came through the menacing clouds, just lit them up from above, then the loud rumble of thunder echoed around the almost empty, lifeless streets. Any last remaining footsteps quickly disappear. The wind came in gusts; it blew with such force and swayed, like a drunken man, picking up then quickly releasing the scattered rubbish again and again. Trees surrender as the battering wind forced leaves to be torn off branches.
From the safety of my refuge I looked at the deserted street and the feeble daylight appeared to dim as the dark clouds moved across the sky. A lone dog pattered across the waste ground then threaded its way between the few surviving cars. Then as if some mighty hand had flicked a switch, the sun came out again, casting slanted beams of light across the land. An explosion of birdsong erupted from the dripping trees and it was as if the storm had never been. Steam climbed slowly from the rapidly drying ground. It rose up eerily and drifted mist-like towards the molten-gold sun. The image was so vivid that it stayed with me all the way home

Saturday, October 04, 2014

New ferry service before end of this year ?

Former ferry on the interior line operated by Garajonay Express

The long awaited reopening of the so-called 'interior line' by sea connecting Tenerife with  La Gomera's ports of San Sebastian, Playa Santiago and Valle Gran Rey could be a reality before the end of the year, according to 'well informed sources'. Fact is that the Canarian government has increased and approved the subsidies for residents' tickets. A whopping 75% of the cost of the journey between any or all of La Gomera's ports will be subsidised  by the government leaving residents with only 25% of the regular ticket price to pay. This was a announced a few days ago and should encourage the quick re-establishment of the ferry service.
Well we've had lots of rumours, 'good news and good intentions' many times before and still there's no ferry. If it doesn't arrive in the few remaining months of this year it might never come again. We keep the fingers crossed, peak season is beginning soon...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Old road into Valle Gran Rey to be opened again

The present road leading down to the tunnel of Yorima and on to Valle Gran Rey
Entrance to tunnel near Arure
There is only one road leading in and out of Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera. This road is more like a twisted, winding mountain pass as it starts a height of about 3000 feet and then winds down to sea level along a rockface in the steep ravine that is upper Valle Gran Rey. In the nineties two long tunnels were driven through the rock to shorten the journey and make it much safer. The old road was skirting this rocky outcrop, hanging precariously over the abyss below. While this narrow, twisted strech offered spectacular views it was also prone to rockfalls and accidents and the tunnels made it much safer and shortened the road by half. However, the tunnels are a nightmare for pedestrians and cyclists as they are not illuminated and the footpath is very narrow.
The island's government recently decided to reopen the abandoned old road around the lower tunnel (625 metres) for cyclists, pedestrians and tourists who want to enjoy the breathtaking views. It will also provide an alternative route in case of an accident in the tunnel as this road is the vital artery that feeds Valle Gran Rey. Work on the old road of 1,3 kms around the tunnel of Yorima has already begun and the whole project will cost an estimated 120.000 Euros.
Work in progess on the old road (This image:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

La Gomera's wines receive boost

The 'Tenerife News' recently reported the following:

A toast to La Gomera wine

La Gomera wants to become better known for its wine.
The island’s Cabildo has signed an agreement with the local Wine Board which will cover special promotions, incentives, events, training and job creation. The aim is to increase demand, both on the island and throughout the Canaries, for La Gomera wine.
It is also hoped to encourage more farmers to take up wine cultivation, both for their own livelihoods and to protect and enhance La Gomera’s agricultural land-scape.
The bodega managed by the Cabildo has also launched a “Vintage 2014″ campaign. Grapes are said to be in good condition and a bigger than expected yield is expected of at least 40,000 kilos.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Stephen Hawking to open Tenerife festival

The 'NEWS IN THE SUN' reported a few days ago:

Stephen Hawking Arrives In Tenerife

September 15, 2014
Stephen Hawking arrived in Tenerife on Saturday aboard the luxury cruise liner  Oceana and will stay on the island for nearly a month as a guest of honour at the Starmus Festival.

Mr Hawking  will deliver the opening speech of the conference during this second edition of the Starmus Festival, which has the theme “Beginnings: The Making of the Modern Cosmos”.
The event will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, Abama in Tenerife from the 22 to 27 September 2014 .
Hawking will be accompanied by a variety of internationally renowned speakers, including astronauts, cosmonauts, astronomers, cosmologists, chemists, biologists and Nobel Prize winners. The theoretical physicist will also join the round table discussion to be held in the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), at the Observatory of the Roque de los Muchachos on the island of La Palma. More details here

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New video of large stingray being fed and fondled

Here's a recently produced video of the amazingly tame stingray that regularly comes to the steps into the water in the harbour of Vueltas in La Gomera's Valle Gran Rey. The large ray always gets fed and petted by the children of the harbour town and local fishermen supply the fish for the stingray's breakfast.
Filmed by: © Henner Riemenschneider (Gekko Vision)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Passenger terminal planned for port

The planned terminal building  (Image source:
The director responsible for infrastructure of the Ports Authority of the Canaries (Puertos de Canarias) has unveiled the design for a planned passenger terminal building for the port of Valle Gran Rey in the outer harbour of Vueltas. The large 392 sqm terminal is to be built and finished next year at a projected cost of 444.000 Euros. 
The modern concrete building will house a cafe/cafeteria, public toilets, offices, waiting areas and more. It will serve the travellers on the expectedly reopening ferry connection between V.G.R., P. Santiago, San Sebastian and Tenerife and will also provide facilities for the anticipated increase in visitors from cruise ships visiting the port as well a the general public visiting the popular harbour area.

It is expected that the contracts for building the terminal will go to tender soon and will be adjudicated before the end of this year.
Approximate location of planned facility (red arrow)

Friday, September 05, 2014

News update

So now the kids have gone back to school and with the arrival of September the summer is slowly ending. I'm still in Ireland and enjoying an unusually excellent summer. Yesterday I  enjoyed myself on a huge golden beach and the temperature was a balmy 23 degrees in perfect weather conditions. 
While away I was in constant contact with La Gomera and followed all the news from there. So what has happened on La Gomera during my absence ?
Not all that much, really, and this summer was as quiet if not more quiet than previous years and I didn't miss much, I think.
News summary:
The good news is that there were no major fires during the past two months. There were a few minor fires that were put out by the emergency services very quickly. The latest and largest fire was fought successfully in Alajero last Sunday, but 18 hectares of scrub and some palms fell victim to the flames. The Air Tractor hydro-plane which was stationed on La Gomera's small airport in early July helped to extinguish the fires and it will remain on stand-by until the end of October.
The annual highest tides of August coupled with a strong Atlantic swell brought some very big waves which forced the closure of the promenade along the beach of Playa de Santiago for a time.
Vueltas, the harbour village of Valle Gran Grey is yet another step closer to the beginning of the eight month of works that will pedestrianise and improve the shopping streets there as the tenders for the work have been adjudicated now. Vueltas is well-known for its quirky little shops and boutiques and also boasts many restaurants that offer fresh fish from its harbour and much more.
Two councillors in Valle Gran Rey have resigned their posts in the local government due to 'differences with the mayor'.
Mobile phones in most parts of Valle Gran Rey seem to be working again after the main mast was sabotaged during bonfire night. A provisional mast was erected near the bus station by the Movistar phone operator until a permanent solution can be found.
The one-night rock festival in San Sebastian was a great success.
The access road to Valle Gran Rey's black-sand beach Playa del Ingles is to get street lights powered by photovoltaics.
Finally the improvement works in the harbour of San Sebastian are making good progress and the extension of the pier will be ready to welcome even larger cruise ships when the season begins in late autumn.

IF anything exciting or important happens on La Gomera, I promise to report it here on this blog immediately... but, as they say: NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS !
Teneriffe's Mount Teide seen from La Gomera (Photo taken in June 2014)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


...just in case you're wondering:
summer has been perfect on La Gomera so far this year. Not too hot and just beautiful.
So this is a good time to take a break and go in search of imperfection. 
I'm back in Ireland for the time being with the promise that I'll report anything important that might happen on La Gomera on this blog - if and when it happens. 
UPDATE 15-08-12:
Nothing of any great importance to report - summer continues quietly and La Gomera rests. Ireland is having a VERY busy tourist season this summer, by the way.
Meanwhile you can meet me at one of the places below:


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Pedestrianisation of Vueltas a step closer to reality

Vueltas seen from the new pier
The long overdue revamp of the harbour town of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera is to go ahead finally with some modifications to the original plans
The work to be carried out will cost just over 600.000 Euros and an official announcement has been published inviting contractors to tender for the job. The duration of the construction phase is set at eight months and the work is to be carried out in three distinct phases to minimise traffic disruption. It is expected that work will begin later this summer.
Politicians, officials and  Canarian TV on a walkabout discussing the plans with residents in the centre of Vueltas recently

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mobile phone blackout caused by 'bonfire'

St. John's  bonfires went out of control in Valle Gran Rey last night causing destruction
The council's recycling yard for organic material in flames, illuminating the whole mountain behind it
First the council's large recycling yard for dry organic material waiting to be shredded went up in a huge blaze (as happened midsummer several times in previous years) and the local  voluntary fire brigade had to attend to prevent the flames from spreading further. 

Mobile phone support equipment destroyed
The 'bonfire' at the mobile phone mast of Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera
Then just after midnight a bonfire at a place called Juan Rejon in the La Calera part of lower Valle Gran Rey apparently spread to metal sheds housing the electronic equipment for the lower valley's controversial mobile phone mast. Flames and a pall of thick black smoke emanated from the site which can only be accessed via steep paths and several sets of rocky stairs. By the time the fire brigade had arrived on the scene the mobile phones in lower Valle Gran Rey were without coverage and this morning it was evident that all the equipment was completely burnt down. 
Not much left of the equipment (behind red facade)
La Calera's controversial mast
before last night's fire
The council yard still burning 12 hours later
Neighbours in the area have been fighting for years for the relocation of the mast and associated equipment. They claim that the mast has caused a dramatic increase in disease rates around it and that it was erected illegally. The equipment had been sabotaged several times in previous years, leaving lower Valle Gran Rey without mobile phone reception for long periods of time. Mobile coverage went dead once again last night after a couple of years of reinstated service. I expect Valle Gran Rey to be without mobile cover for quite some time. The exact cause of last night's fire is still being investigated as arson is suspected.
N.B.: You can get a signal from the mast up in the mountains all along the centre of the floor of the valley. A good spot is the bus station.
Meanwhile the organic material in the council's recycling yard was still burning and smouldering at lunchtime while loud bangers were being fired into the sky to celebrate the fiesta of San Juan. Two fire brigade teams are still working to quench the flames and Canarian TV was seen filming.
Another unwanted 'bonfire' along an embankment half a mile further up the valley is under control but a unit of the fire brigade is needed  to extinguish remaining hot spots. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

St. John's night in Canary Islands

One of the bonfires with fireworks in Valle Gran Rey a few
years ago, where a 'fake house' was burned as a bonfire

If you see fires in the Canary Islands tonight, don't be alarmed - they're bonfires as it is St. John's night, or 'la noche de San Juan' in Spanish. As is the custom in Ireland, here in the Canaries bonfires are lit in honour of St. John. This custom even pre-dates Christian times as it also marks the longest days of the year.
Every district, townland and village lights their own fire(s) and there are competitions for the most spectacular fires. I've seen whole houses constructed from pallets, old doors, etc., complete with old furniture and straw-stuffed 'inhabitants' being burned on St.John's night. The people party around the fires with music, food and drink and often set off fireworks. The fires nowadays are strictly controlled and permits have to be applied for at the local town hall. The burning of tyres, plastics, and other hazardous material is prohibited and the fires have to be within certain safety guidelines. The fiesta de San Juan continues for several days in some parishes.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Beautiful old cave dwelling

This La Gomera cave dwelling with its natural canopy of rock is above the main road leading North from the capital.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Palm honey petition

''I like miel de palma'' logo
After the Madrid government and the EU finally closed the door on the name miel de palma (= palm honey) for La Gomera's concentrated sap of the palm tree, the islands producers of the delicious traditional delicacy and the islands government have started a campaign to maintain the name under which it has been known since time immemorial. As it stands, regulations may allow it to be called mieldepalma only in one word, but in reality a new name would have to be found when it is widely known only as 'miel de palma' or 'palm honey'. The campaign strives to obtain an exemption from the regulations or a change of the legislation to maintain the name. After all 'soya milk' isn't milk produced by soya-munching cows either. Please sign the government-sponsord petition and help save a very old tradition.
An outraged local producer of palm honey was quoted as saying: '' What next ? They will probably prohibit the word honeymoon !''
For further information on the production of palm honey and the controversy read: Palm Honey Problems
Canary Palm trees on La Gomera

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lichens on rock

Lichens are widespread on La Gomera. Those above I spotted on a rock in the Garajonay national park. Many varieties of lichens found on trees and rocks here have become extinct in most of Europe because of pollution. They need an extremely healthy environment to thrive, especially clean air and a clean supply of moisture.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Petrol or Diesel ? No thank you !

Plenty of energy for free in the Canary Islands
There are several public charging points for electric cars all over La Gomera. The fairly new one below is about a mile west of Hermigua on the main road to Agulo. Here you can charge your car with a mix of solar and wind power. All we need now is affordable electric cars.
Wind and sun power this electric car charging-point

Monday, June 16, 2014


The Canary Islands chiffchaff (Phylloscopus Canariensis) is probably the most common bird in the archipelago and can be encountered almost anywhere. Chiffchaffs love to come out when it has rained or when the garden has been watered to wash themselves in the drops left on the leaves of trees and shrubs. These insect-eating warblers are called mosquiteros locally and do useful work picking bugs off fruit trees.

Canary Islands chiffchaff (Phylloscopus Canariensis)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

First oil explorations to last 100 days

The 'Rowan Renaissance' as seen by opponents (click)
The first two oil explorations in waters near the Canary Islands in an exploration area just about 40 miles east of the popular holiday resorts of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura have been allowed by the Madrid government for a duration of 45 days each and the rest of the time of a maximum total of 100 days will be needed for repositioning the rig. These facts came to light when the obligatory enviromental impact study was published a couple of weeks ago. This also revealed that depending on the outcome of the initial sampling further exploratory drilling will be allowed at another site nearby for 180 days as this will be in very deep waters. The vessel to be hired by Spanish oil giant REPSOL to carry out the drilling is called 'Rowan Renaissance'', an exploration vessel which recently had to abandon drilling off Namibia due to problems with ship's the blow-out preventer. 
There is strong opposition to oil drilling in the Canary Islands and 72% of the population are opposed to exploration leading to many thousands taking to the streets in protest recently. About 200.000 have already signed the main petition against oil, which is sponsored by nearly 50 organisations. Many individual celebrities, politicians, entire councils and the Canarian government are also opposed to oil drilling here and all are calling for a referendum on the issue, which the Madrid government insists they're not entitled to hold. The debate is heating up daily...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Big Game Fishing Competition this weekend

The annual game fishing competition is held in La Gomera's waters this weekend and more than 30 teams have entered their boats this year. They mostly hunt for white and blue marlin, tuna and swordfish off the southern and south-western coasts. The prestigious international event has seen record-breaking catches in previous years. All the fish caught is released back into sea alive after having been recorded. Only some tuna is landed at the cometition base port San Sebastian and donated to charities.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fiesta time again in Valle Gran Rey

Click programme to view
This weekend it is the Fiesta San Antonio in Guada (upper Valle Gran Rey) on La Gomera at the church within the bend of the main road that wraps 180 degrees around it. Expect the usual mix of procession, entertainment and dancing all night to pop-salsa bands this Friday and Saturday. Food and drink will be available as usual.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cars trapped on ferry last night

Image of the ferry and the assisting crane. Source:
The Armas ferry sailing from San Sebastian de La Gomera at 5pm yesterday docked on time in the port of Los Cristianos on Tenerife at 6pm. The roll-on roll-off ferry Volcan de Taburiente berthed bow-to at the port and when attempting to open the bow and the extendable car ramp that also serves as a second door in the bow interlocked with the half-open bow due to 'technical problems'. This left the cars and trucks aboard trapped on the vehicle decks  for more than five hours. 
A large mobile crane was bought to the scene which eventually managed to lift the heavy bow to free the mechanism, which allowed the vehicles inside to finally disembark more than five hours after docking. Passengers intending to travel on the return sailing to La Gomera at 7:30pm were left stranded in Los Cristianos.
The ferry company Naviera Armas now had to suspended all sailings of the ferry Volcan de Taburiente, but intends to provide a replacement service until the ship has been repaired.
The same ferry had damaged the ro-ro ramp in the port of Los Cristianos last week due to heavy weather, and in April a truck went on fire on its car deck resulting in another disruption of the schedule of sailings.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Coach on fire in national park last night

Images: (2 above)
and (1below)
A coach went on fire on the main road through the forest of La Gomera's Garajonay national park between 7 and 8 pm last night. The private bus was travelling in the direction of the island's capital. All passengers could leave the coach unharmed in time before the fire spread and they were taken to their destination by a replacement vehicle. The incident happened in a thickly forested area between La Laguna Grande and Pajaritos. Fire brigades had to  concentrate their efforts to prevent the fire from spreading to the dry vegetation on both sides of the road as some of it had caught fire already. The bus burnt out completely and the road was closed for a while with diversions in place. The latest news late last night was that the situation is completely under control and that the fire has been put out. A unit of the fire brigade remained on the scene of the incident to keep watch. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Gorilla escape drill misfires on Tenerife. Overdressed?


The story below happened in Loro Parque on Tenerife last Wednesday and was widely reported in the international media. Here is how The Independent summarised it:
''A man dressed in a gorilla suit has been shot with a tranquiliser dart by a panicked vet who thought a real ape was on the loose in Tenerife.
The unlucky zoo attendant had been charged with dressing up as a gorilla for an escape drill and apparently played his part a little too well on Monday.
In an suspected communication failure, police were called to the Loro Parque theme park in Puerto de la Cruz to reports of an escaped gorilla.
The 35-year-old man was running around in the suit as part of the planned training exercise at the time and a confused vet reportedly shot him in the leg with enough sedative to knock out a 200kg animal.
According to La Opinion de Tenerife, the 35-year-old suffered an allergic reaction to the drug and was taken to hospital in a serious condition and given an antidote.
Health and safety authorities are investigating the accident and the tranquiliser gun and sedative have been confiscated by police...''
However, a few days later the zoo, trying to save face, denied the victim was dressed as a gorilla as the The Telegraph reported: 
''A Spanish zoo has denied that one of its keepers was wearing a gorilla suit when  mistakenly shot with a tranquilliser dart by veterinary staff. Authorities at the Loro Parque on the Canary Island of Tenerife insisted late on Thursday it was a simple accident that occurred during a routine emergency drill."A routine exercise to simulate the escape of a gorilla from its enclosure was carried out on Monday during which a zookeeper was accidentally hit by a tranquilliser dart that vets use in these instances," said the statement issued by the Canary Island zoo. "The zookeeper was immediately treated by emergency services and admitted for observation to the University Hospital, Tenerife."...''

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Anti-oil demonstrations on all Canary Islands tonight

Click to enlarge
Many organisations, trade unions, political parties, local authorities, artists and public figures have called on the public to support the demonstrations against planned oil exploration near the eastern islands and to demand a referendum on the issue. The peaceful demonstrations will take place on all islands including tiny La Graciosa tonight, Saturday June 7th, at 6pm. The demonstrations will call for a referendum on the issue and also for more support for tapping sustainable, renewable clean energy which the islands have in abundance. The mottos of the demonstrations tonight will be 'one single voice against prospecting' and 'Canaries Say No'. Recent opinion polls have shown that more than 70% of the Canarian population are opposed to oil exploration in the vicinity of these islands.
UPDATE Sunday June 8th, 2014:
There was a massive turnout last night and tens of thousands of people took to the streets. Members of the Canarian government such as the president and the vice president joined the protesters.There were secondary demonstrations in mainland Spain and as far away as New York and Berlin in support of the Canarian demand for a referendum on oil exploration. On small La Gomera it is estimated that up to 800 people took part. 

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Canary Islands to get firefighting plane this summer

A water-bomber in action 2012

A fire-fighting plane for the Canary Islands will be permanently stationed at La Gomera's small Playa de Santiago airport for the duration of the dry summer season. The airport is very quiet with only a couple of commuter flight to Tenerife and back daily. All the islands with important forests are reached very quickly from there and the forested national park of La Gomera which suffered a devastating fire in 2012 is close by. There is also an ample supply of water at the island's airport allowing a rapid response to any fire. The amphibious water-bomber is to be on stand-by there from the first of July until the end of October.