Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dramatic video of ferry crashing into pier

The Naviera Armas ferry 'Volcan de Tamasite' crashed into a pier in port of Las Palmas on Gran Canaria last night after it had just left the inner harbour of Puerto de la Luz.
Thirteen passengers on board a ferry were injured when the large ferry slammed into a concrete quay at the port of Las Palmas. A spokesperson for Naviera Armas, the Canary Islands company that operates the ferry, said that a "loss of electrical power" caused the accident. Emergency services said five of the injured were taken to hospital with minor injuries. 
The above video shows the ferry hitting the breakwater head-on, sending huge chunks of the concrete protective wall tumbling down onto the service road of the pier.
The company also said that the ferry was able to dock under its own power following the accident as the fault had lasted only two minutes and that the stranded passengers had been accommodated in hotels. However, there were some very angry scenes directly after the accident with passengers screaming and shouting at staff and demanding to be brought ashore or rescued immediately.
According to local media there has also been a diesel leak from the vessel due to the accident and the port of Las Palmas has put emergency measures in place to contain the spill and clean it up before it could reach the inlet of a nearby seawater desalination plant.
The ferry company Naviera Armas has stated that the damaged ship is structurally sound and only damaged a section of the prow which will be repaired promptly, but revised timetables for their ferry sailings will apply until this vessel is back in service.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

German chancellor Merkel in La Gomera again

Merkel in La Gomera 2016 (Image: Darias/La Opinion)
German chancellor Angela Merkel is spending her Easter holidays in La Gomera again, together with her husband Joachim Sauer. This is the now the fifth time the 'world's most powerful woman' is spending her spring holidays on the island amid tight security. She is known to enjoy walking and exploring La Gomera's national park and ancient forest. She's also said to be fond of a local specialty called potaje de berros which is a soup made with watercress. The German chancellor arrived by ferry in La Gomera on Good Friday for a week's peace and quiet. The above image was snapped by a local couple who spotted Merkel by chance when taking some shots of nature in La Gomera's national park with their mobile phone during the German leader's last visit in 2016. It is said to be the only photo that was published of any of her five visits and appeared in the Canary Islands daily La Opinion. The German chancellor is staying at the island's largest hotel among many average tourists and is reported to be enjoying a normal relaxing holiday without much special attention.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

Above twin lambs had just been born when we took this photo here in Ireland yesterday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Orca sighting off La Gomera

La Gomera, and especially an area in the Atlantic just off the southern coastline, forms part of one of best whale watching destinations in the world, where you can experience the sight of over 20 species of whales and dolphins in their natural habitat.
Throughout the whole year there is a 90 percent chance of observing a variety of marine mammals and also turtles and flying fish. This is probably because the biodiversity here is extremely rich and especially attractive to cetaceans.
Some of these mammals live here on a permanent basis and among them are many species of dolphins such as bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins or common dolphins. Furthermore there is a uniquely large population of pilot whales living here permanently.
Other marine mammals congregate here temporarily while passing through his part of the Atlantic. A couple of days ago Jose Miguel, the skipper of both 'Tina' and 'Speedy' whale watching boats operating out of Valle Gran Rey's Vueltas harbour, spotted and filmed a small group of orcas in the area and posted the above video on his Facebook page. Orcas are rarely seen in the area, but have been encountered near La Gomera before.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Huge drinking water loss

Water tap in La Calera, Valle Gran Rey
In contrast to some of the other Canary Islands, La Gomera has an abundant supply of water. While the many open reservoirs are exclusively used for irrigation of the crops in summer, nearly all the drinking water and the domestic supply comes from wells and springs that produce water of excellent quality. Rainfall replenishes these, but the forest that covers the top of the island produces additional water when the mist and fog that are carried across the mountains by the trade winds condensate on the trees and percolate through the ground to feed the springs. 
However, the past winter brought very little rain to La Gomera and a recent survey revealed that half of La Gomera's drinking water available through the public water supply is lost and wasted because of an ageing and often faulty infrastructure. Measurements have shown that there are numerous leaks between source and households. The town of San Sebastian is now introducing 2.500 pressure reducing valves and diffusers in a measure which is expected to save 44.000 litres of precious water per day.
Other towns like Valle Gran Rey have also begun to replace old and leaking pipes, but it will take a long time until the full amount of water entering the distribution system will actually be contained within the grid and available to consumers. 
The water survey included water reservoirs and it was found that agriculture uses 82% of all available water, while about 18% is for human consumption, including the 6,3% used by the tourism sector. More than three quarters of all available water on the island of La Gomera comes from underground sources.
The island's capital San Sebastian is the only town so far which uses treated and purified waste water for the irrigation of its public parks and green areas, saving 0,6% of all available water. 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Bar Maria to become fast food outlet

Above is the architect's proposal for Casa Maria in La Playa (Image: Martin Hartmann)
Legendary Bar Maria, which has been a popular meeting point at the beach in La Playa in Valle Gran Rey since the 1960's, has finally been sold for an undisclosed sum. The bar and restaurant has been closed since Maria herself died two years ago and was put up for sale subsequently. It has now been revealed that it was acquired by the McDonald's chain of fast food restaurants, who spotted the obvious commercial potential of this landmark building. 
Maximiliano Carne-Deres, the spokesperson for McDonald's in the Canary Islands, has stated that his company was particularly impressed with the large number of revellers gathering at Casa Maria around sunset time and the large amount of hungry and thirsty hillwalkers and hikers arriving in the area every day from the mountains. Mr. Carne-Deres stressed that the proposed refurbishment will blend in well with the already existing  infrastructure across the road, which includes a steak-house. He added that the McDonald's colours of yellow and red would go well with the sunset at the beach in front of the building, which is known as 'Playa Maria'. Ronald McDonald, the chain's emblematic happy clown, once erected at the premises would also ''form a harmonious combination with the many drummers and fire-jugglers who perform there at sunset, whom we intend to support and sustain with food vouchers''.
However, the island's government have attached certain conditions to the new licence and planning permission, namely that the former small front bar at the premises shall be retained  and must continue to serve alcoholic beverages ''to maintain the jovial ambience for which the location has established a tradition'', and that the fast food outlet will have to include some local produce in the menu. 
In response to these conditions Mr. Carne-Deres has revealed that the bar will remain separate from the restaurant to be run as a joint venture with the Tenerife-based Dorada beer company and that this will form the first 'McBar' in the world. For the menu a new burger called 'McCabra' (sic) with goat (=cabra) meat and smoked goat's cheese will be available as a new up-market option of fresh local produce on the menu when the fast food restaurant opens its doors at the former Bar Maria on April 1st 2018. Aren't you just ''lovin' it'' ?

Monday, March 27, 2017

FERRY NEWS: New boat looking for crew

The long awaited re-opening of the so-called 'interior ferry line', sorely missed since 2012, connecting the ports of La Gomera's capital San Sebastian, Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey is back in the news once again. This time it is solid news and the new vessel to be introduced for this service can't be that far away as the shipping company Fred. Olsen has begun looking for crew for the ferry. Three ads have been placed which state that the company is offering posts as deckhands/waiters, engineers (mechanics) and a captain which preferably should be based in Valle Gran Rey as presumably the ferry will be moored there at night. Now's the time to move to Valle Gran Rey if you've got a skipper's ticket, and/or got experience aboard boats looking for a job.
I'm now pretty certain that on my next trip to La Gomera I'll be sailing to my destination aboard the new vessel. 

Above the three advertisements for jobs on the new ferry connection by the Fred.Olsen company

Friday, March 24, 2017

Another sail training ship visits Vueltas

The three-masted 'Alva' from Stockholm in the harbour of Vueltas, Valle Gran Rey yesterday.  The 44 metres long vessel is crewed by students and operated by the Swedish marine instute. Vueltas harbour is attracting more and more large sailing vessels.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hailstorms in La Gomera

Hail on road near La Hayas (Image:
There was heavy rain and hail today in some parts of La Gomera, while in others like Valle Gran Rey it was mostly sunny. The island's government has stated that all roads are open but drivers should exercise caution.
Hail and lots of water on road in the La Palmita area of La Gomera (Image:

La Calera street festival

There'll be a street festival in the La Calera area of Valle Gran Rey this afternoon, Saturday March 18th 2017, with street entertainment, food and drink, etc. Live music starts at 5 pm and all are welcome to discover the little lanes of Valle Gran Rey's historic centre behind the town hall.

Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's Day orange tree

Typical Irish... orange tree in La Gomera. Well, it has green leaves, white flowers, and orange fruit.
...and there'll be a bit of fun and music in the Bodegita del Medio at the 'baby beach' (Charco del Conde) to mark the occasion tonight, I've been told.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Trapped on freezing Teide

Mount Teide seen from La Gomera recently
More than 100 people had to spend last night in freezing temperatures at about 11.000 feet near the top of Spain's s highest mountain after the cable car to the top shut itself down at around 2pm yesterday, apparently due to a fault in its safety system. 
All afternoon until nightfall the 35 people in each of the two cabins were rescued first, after firemen, police, park rangers and helicopters had been called in to help with an abseiling system to get the trapped tourists down from the cabins suspended at about 150 feet above the ground.
One by one tourists were lowered to safety during a four hour rescue operation. Each one was placed in a harness and then dropped through the hatch of the cable car. There were no injuries but some of those rescued needed treatment for shock and altitude sickness.
Of the couple of hundred people at the top station who had been waiting to come down many were able to walk down the steep rocky slope to the base station with the help of the emergency services, but many elderly and families with children had to face a very cold night near the top at about 3.500 metres altitude as night was approaching. They were supplied with warm clothing, blankets and food. About fifty members of the emergency services including psychologists stayed with those trapped at the upper cable car station overnight. At first light today the rescue of the 103 adults and 8 children has begun with those able to walk being guided down the mountain, and the remainder being flown out with helicopters.
The reason why the cable car system's emergency stop was triggered automatically is not known yet, and as initial inspections have not revealed any mechanical faults, the company operating the cable car has stated that the cabins had not been in danger at any time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Peek over the peak

Mountain ridge in La Gomera's north-east with Tenerife in the background 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fire quickly extinguished

A minor brushfire was reported in the El Lamero area of San Sebastian de La Gomera at around 7 pm last night. The fire brigade and emergency services arrived quickly on the scene and managed to prevent the flames from spreading. They brought the flames under control despite the difficult conditions with gale force winds gusting over 80 km/h in the area last night. The fire was declared as completely extinguished at around 10 pm.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Wind and wave warnings

It is going to be very windy until about noon on Tuesday, 14th of March 2017. The Spanish meteorological service has issued several warnings of gale force northerly winds gusting to 90 km/h or more, especially on Monday (level 'orange warning). Further warnings have been issued of rough seas with combined swell and wind-driven waves to reach four to five  metres on exposed coastal stretches. Be very cautious on roads, secure that garden furniture, etc., and stay away from exposed areas !

Friday, March 10, 2017

Record temperature but warnings cancelled

During the current episode of Calima weather the concentration of Saharan dust in the air turned out to be a lot lower than had been predicted. It is however still significant, as you can see in the image above which I took around 2 pm today. Consequently the Spanish meteorological service has cancelled all dust load warnings that had been issued for most of the Canary Islands previously. That's the good news.
However, the temperature turned out much higher than had been forecast and a new record was set for the highest March temperature at Tenerife South airport yesterday, where 34,2ºC were recorded in the afternoon. Very high temperatures were reached in La Gomera, too, with La Dama in the south registering 33,1ºC and Hermigua in the north topping that with 33,5ºC. Humidity levels are very low, too, averaging around 20% only. As I write the temperature is already above 32ºC and yesterday's highs may well be surpassed later today.
High up in the mountains of La Gomera temperatures will be a bit lower, but the easterly wind will be stronger up there. Current indications are that the calima will gradually ease from Saturday evening bringing lower temperatures.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Warning of calima for a few days

The dust load forecast for Friday evening by the Barcelona Dust Forecast Centre of the Spanish met. service

The present light calima conditions are expected to worsen and a much heavier dust load in the air is expected as winds from the Sahara in the east will freshen. The already summer-like temperature is set to increase, particularly in the medium to high altitudes of La Gomera, and could reach 30ºC or even more in places. The fairly high dust concentration is expected to lead to much reduced visibility of only about 3.000 metres generally, and even only 1.000 -2.000 metres at times. A status 'yellow' weather warning of these conditions has been issued by the official Spanish meteorological service for tomorrow, Thursday March 8th 2017, and remains valid until Saturday evening. Friday is expected to be the worst day of this episode of calima conditions.
Current indications are that the dust will gradually clear later on Saturday, with a return to more normal temperatures and fresh to strong north-easterly winds from Sunday. It should remain mostly sunny in the south, and cloudy spells are expected in the north.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Man falls off palm tree he was working on

A young man of 26 years fell off a palm tree in the municipality of Vallehermoso, La Gomera, on Wednesday afternoon. He had fallen from a height of over four metres and suffered several injuries. He was transferred to the nearest health centre by ambulance and is said to be recovering well.
The accident happened as the man was working on the palm tree, presumably for the purpose of preparing it for the extraction of 'guarapo' which forms the base for local speciality food miel de palma (palm honey). The area above of the western village of Alojera where the incident occurred is renowned for its palm groves and several producers of palm honey are based in the area. 
Next time you enjoy the sweet delicacy bear in mind the hard work it takes to produce it.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

More details of dramatic rescue

The rescued  thanking their rescuers (Image:
More details have emerged of the dramatic rescue in the EL Rejo valley (see previous post). The two ladies are actually 23 years old and both are students from mainland Spain living in Tenerife. The had followed GPS instructions on their mobile phones when in the upper region of the El Rejo valley thinking their phones were showing them a shortcut to the main road through the valley after they had left the hiking path and became lost. One of them then slid about 20 metres down a steep incline and just managed to cling onto the branches of a tree above a vertical drop of 150 metres. The other girl tried to help her friend but ended up in a similar position above the gorge, also clinging to a tree. 
They had already called the emergency services on 112 at around 5 pm saying that they had left the path through the valley and were lost. They then tried to get to the main road before dark using the GPS service on their phones which subsequently lead them into their precarious trap. It was night by then and weather conditions were said to be adverse with high humidity and cold gusty winds, and they were beginning to suffer from exposure. 
A police helicopter from Tenerife set down three specially trained agents of the mountain police unit in the area in the early hours of the morning in 'very difficult conditions' who finally managed to locate the victims still clinging to the branches of trees above the gorge at around 04:20 am. At first light the rescuers began the laborious task of bringing the two ladies down the vertical drop of 150 metres to the bottom of the ravine in several stages with the aid of ropes and harnesses and from there a provisional path had been prepared to bring them to the waiting ambulance on the road where they arrived shaken but uninjured later that morning. Yesterday they visited the police headquarters in Santa Cruz de Tenerife to thank their rescuers.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Trapped hikers rescued with difficulty

Part of the El Rejo valley (Archive)
Two young tourists were brought to safety unharmed yesterday morning after an extended and difficult rescue operation in the northern fringes of La Gomera's national park. The two 22 year old ladies had become lost in the 'El Rejo' valley in the municipality of Hermigua the previous night at dusk and subsequently fell or slid down the mountainside into a position from where they couldn't find a way out. Luckily the remote location has mobile phone cover and they could call for help. The emergency services arrived and managed to locate the trapped hikers, but found they couldn't reach the victims due to the rough and dangerous terrain and lack of light. The stuck girls had to spend the night in their uncomfortable position, but food, etc., was dropped to them and mobile phone communication was maintained at all times. A special mountain unit of the Spanish police was sent from Tenerife and with the help of the local services as well as the national park's forestry department a provisional path had to be constructed to reach the stricken hikers at first light yesterday, and finally the laborious task of bringing them to safety succeeded.  The two victims were said to be unharmed but shaken by their ordeal.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Road improvements near Arure

The village of Arure  (Archive)

The main road which leads through the mountain village of Arure and on to Valle Gran Rey is to be improved very soon. There is a stretch of road just before arriving at the first houses of Arure after leaving the national park which is currently very narrow with lots of dangerous bends where trucks and buses going in opposite directions can't even pass each other, often leading to delays and minor accidents. The added complication in this mountain area at about 3.000 ft altitude is the often reduced visibility due to mist and fog.
Now this length of road of about 1.300 metres is to be widened and the worst bends will be straightened to improve road safety. The government of the Canary Islands will spend 1,5 million Euros on the project and has already put the works out to tender with a stipulated time for execution of nine months. The sensitive environment so close to the national park will be respected by sticking as much as possible to the existing route and any palm trees that are in the way will be replanted close by. The works are badly needed on this busy road which is the main artery supplying Valle Gran Rey, the second most populous municipal area of La Gomera and the most visited by tourists. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Carnival season 2017 in La Gomera

In the island's capital carnival has begun

The carnival poster of Playa de Santiago and Alajero
Carnival headquarter of VGR is in La Playa this year
Vallehermoso's carnival poster

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Further harbour improvements

The terminal building in Vueltas, Valle Gran Rey
The recently constructed terminal building in the outer harbour of Vueltas, Valle Gran Rey, is to be brought into service soon, according to the island's president Casimiro Curbelo. He announced a further investment of 310.000 Euros for the harbour yesterday and the terminal will get the necessary connections to services as well as landscaping and furnishings. 
Lets hope there will be public toilets open at all times as currently there are none in the whole Valle Gran Rey area which serves a population of around 5.000 and is the main tourist attraction of La Gomera. Public toilet facilities are extremely scarce in La Gomera in general and should be provided a.s.a.p. to avoid further unhygienic 'wild toilets'.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Rains force road closures

The steep and winding scenic road through 'EL Rejo' valley
Today's abundant rains have caused some traffic disruption in La Gomera. Apart from minor debris on the roads there was a larger landslide affecting the scenic 'El Rejo' road which connects the main north road and the main west road through the national park. This landslide is said to be not as significant as previous ones, but has forced the closure of this road past the volcanic cone of the same name. The road will be closed until further notice, pending the clearance of debris and a detailed inspection. For locals and visitors normally using this short-cut the closure means very long detours.
In San Sebastian the road past the main beach to the harbour called 'Avenida Maritima' is temporarily closed until flooding caused by heavy rain has subsided, which is expected to happen soon.
There were also flight delays at La Gomera's airport due to the rain and poor visibility.
UPDATE Thursday Feb. 16th 2017:
All roads are now open again, but caution is still advised as always after rain when the sun heats any remaining loose material which then expands and may fall onto roads and paths.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hope on the horizon for some rain

The 'Rainbow' enhancement of today's 12 noon satellite image
While the remainder of today should be mostly sunny with few cloudy intervals, there is some hope for badly-needed rain for tomorrow, particularly during the first half of the day. A minor Atlantic depression of 1004 hPa is approaching and will soon be to the north of the Canary Islands near Madeira while filling before finally dissipating. 
There is already a lot of convective precipitation and thunderstorm activity around the low centre, but once again most of that rain is likely to pass to the north of the Canaries. There is however a good chance that La Gomera and the western Canary Islands will get some good showers and/or spells of rain, potentially even heavy ones, from late tonight until Wednesday evening.
We've also got an upper level low sitting over the same area which should aid the convective precipitation and a forming trough.  Warnings of some heavy downpours in parts of La Palma and Tenerife have been issued.
There's also the risk of some scattered thunderstorms, but the good news is that this time the winds will only be light to moderate from a mostly southerly direction. 
The weather should dry up late on Wednesday with a return to mostly sunny conditions and moderate north-easterly winds forecast for the remainder of the week.
This winter season has been much too dry in La Gomera and let's hope that this small depression will deliver some precious water before the dry weather returns.
To be on the safe side, mountain areas and ravines should be avoided tomorrow, though.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Weather gradually improving

Rough seas at La Puntilla, Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera, today.

La Gomera escaped the worst of the rain this morning as this passed just to the north of the Canary Islands. However, some very strong winds were recorded here and the weather station in the mountains at Alto Igualero recorded sustained wind speeds of well over 90 km/h with gusts of up to 144 km/h between 5am and 9am. The strong winds lead to some power outages, but no major damage was reported. However, torn branches and debris are still to be expected on roads, and as always during and for quite some time after wind and rain, rocks and soil may be dislodged and fall. Caution is advised !

The eagerly awaited abundant rainfalls failed to materialise and the accumulations during the short periods of pecipitation were pretty poor. 
Seas were, and still are, pretty rough but apparently did not disrupt ferry services. The warning for high waves will be lifted at 6 pm.
All other warnings have now ended and the weather is gradually improving with good sunny periods. There should be some more showers, possibly heavy and squally, during the remainder of Sunday, however.
A further few scattered showers could still arrive on Monday and Tuesday, mainly affecting the north of the island and the mountain areas.
Winds are forecast to become variable light to moderate on Monday and Tuesday and it should be mostly sunny generally.
Current indications are that another Atlantic depression may affect the Canaries on Wednesday with some hope of badly needed rain, but that could once again just pass us by without giving much, if any, precipitation. It is expected to dissipate anyway 😩.
Caution is advised and La Gomera's emergency plan remains activated today (Image:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bad weather imminent

A deceptively beautiful but disturbed looking sky at 4pm on Saturday 11-02-2017
This is just a quick update on the weather situation for La Gomera (see previous post):

Today, Saturday 11-02-2017 turned out better than expected but the forecast for tomorrow, Sunday 12-02-17, has worsened considerably and severe weather is imminent, bringing gale force winds, locally heavy downpours, isolated thunderstorms and rough seas. Appropriate weather warnings come into effect from midnight tonight and altogether 7 (seven !) weather alerts at levels from levels 'yellow' to 'orange' have been issued by the Spanish met. office for La Gomera. I won't bore you with all the details, mostly concerning time, and will just give you the synopsis:
From very early morning until late afternoon severe winds and heavy downpours can be expected, as well very rough seas. Synopsis of alerts for La Gomera :
  • Westerly winds may well gust to 90 km/h in exposed areas 
  • Combined swell and wind-blown waves may reach 15-18 ft on exposed coasts
  • Heavy rain is expected with intensities of up to 20 mm/h with localised flooding
  • The combination of rain and wind may cause landslides and rockfalls
Official warnings by Spanish met. office

The government of the Canary Islands has issued separate alerts and ...
  • all public recreational areas, parks, campsites, etc., have been closed.
  • it is advised to secure outdoor furniture, flower pots, etc, etc,...
  • all outdoor events, sporting fixtures, outdoor markets, etc., have been cancelled.
  • unnecessary travel and outdoor activity should be avoided
  • extreme caution is advised generally
With a bit of luck it might not turn out to be as bad after all, but you have been warned...
Anyway, the weather should greatly improve from Sunday afternoon.
The current situation showing that the secondary low will reach 992hPa very rapidly while the main low maintains 994hPa

Friday, February 10, 2017

A windy and rainy weekend in store

Some forecasting models predict this scenario for 6am Sunday morning
SEE latest update (click this)

Wet and windy weekend weather is forecast to affect the Canaries from midnight tonight, even though the sun is shining and there are only a few clouds in Valle Gran Rey as I'm writing this.

A storm depression of 988 hPa is west off the Portuguese coast now and beginning to track south, bringing it closer to the Canary Islands. The depression is expected to be of 994 hPa tomorrow and north of these islands, before moving a bit further away to the north-northeast early on Sunday with an expected 992 hPa. Some models predict that the main depression may spawn-off a secondary but short-lived low very close and just to the north of us (see chart above), which would complicate the situation and may bring higher potential for precipitation.
What all this means is that La Gomera and the rest of the Canaries will be in for spells of rain during Saturday and on Sunday until afternoon. Some of the rain may be heavy in places and isolated thunderstorms can be expected as several frontal systems will pass through the islands. Further, strong westerly winds are expected with gale gusts and seas will be rough with a combination of 3-4 m swell and wind-blown waves.
The following status 'yellow' weather alerts have been issued for La Gomera:
Saturday, Feb. 11th 2017: 
From 00:00 am until 6 pm: Westerly winds gusting to 75 km/h or more in exposed areas.
Sunday, Feb. 12th 2017: 
From 00:00 am until 12 noon: Rain intensity up to 20mm/hour
From 3 am until 3 pm: Winds gusting to 80 km/h or more in exposed areas.
+++ A status 'orange' alert for Sunday from 4 am to 11 am: Gusts of 90+ km/h
The Canarian government has also issued weather alerts and La Gomera's government has called for extreme caution.
While the above weather forecast is not dramatic and not unusual for this time of the year, please bear in mind that the situation is still developing, possibly changing at any time, and that local phenomena and conditions can always spring a surprise.
Please do not put yourself at risk by hiking or walking in the mountains and postpone any such activity until at least a day after the weather has improved. Avoid unnecessary travel and if you must venture out, do so with extreme caution as there's bound to be debris on the roads, and falling stones and rocks are likely due to the wind and rain, especially after the long dry spell we've had. 
Late Sunday and Monday the worst will have passed but the weather will still be unsettled. Also note that warnings may be changed at short notice.
...and the just-issued OPC forecast chart for Sunday noon has confirmed a secondary low of 996hPa (below)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Passenger numbers increase

The port of San Sebastian de La Gomera
The port of San Sebastian de La Gomera recorded 1,3 million passenger movements in 2016, an increase of 6,6 %, while total traffic figures were up by 4 %. Almost 90.000 of the passengers representing an 15,8 % increase came aboard cruise ships during 74 visits by such vessels.
The movement of goods and merchandise through the port showed a 4,8 % higher number than in 2015 with over 150.000 tons processed through the port's facilities while the amount of bulk materials and liquids increased by 6,3 % last year, representing an additional 25.000 tons.
And just to bore you stiff with more statistics, La Gomera's main port handled a total of 2.870 vessels berthing there last year. 
All impressive figures for a small island with a population of just 20.000 !

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

New ferry to arrive this summer ?

Archive image of a former operator of the sorely-missed ferry connection, the 'Garajonay Express', in late 2005.
According to La Gomera's president Casimiro Curbelo the new vessel to operate the interior ferry line connecting the ports of La Gomera's capital San Sebastian, Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey ''will arrive in La Gomera this June or July'' (2017). Curbelo made the announcement when addressing the Canarian parliament yesterday about the necessity to upgrade and improve the port of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey. We're keeping the fingers crossed !

Friday, February 03, 2017

Water circus in La Gomera

A new type of circus performance opened in San Sebastian de La Gomera last night. Circus 'Alegria' presents their show 'Aqua Circus' again tonight, Feb. 3rd 2017, and twice daily on Saturday and Sunday. The troupe of acrobats, entertainers and performers arrived here with numerous articulated trucks and erected a huge marquee. The water circus uses 24.000 litres of water in a basin that forms the stage where water jets are choreographed to the specially written music during the show which is set among seafarers and pirates of the 18th century. Discounted tickets are still available on their website. Below is their short promotional video:

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Irish record Atlantic crossing from La Gomera

Gavan Hennigan celebrating his arrival in Antigua with the Irish tricolour (Image:
Irishman Gavan Hennigan from Galway has done it. He arrived in Antigua in less than 49 days and 12 hours after starting his solo row across the Atlantic from San Sebastian de La Gomera, placing him third overall of the 12 competing boats and first in the solo class. The only two boats to beat his time in the Talisker Atlantic challenge rowing race were manned by teams of four rowers, making his solo effort all the more remarkable. He also smashed all previous Irish records for Atlantic crossings by rowing boats.
“The last seven days have been relentless. At times, I’ve rowed up to 19 hours a day and yesterday when I woke up, I decided it was time to finish this. I’ve rowed for the past 14 hours straight. I gave that my all,'' said the exhausted but happy Gavan, the only Irish rower in the race.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Watching the world go by

This cat was watching the world go by from its perch on a bit of old scaffolding above the road in La Calera.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Sunday Sessions continue...

The bus station with bar in La Calera
Most Sundays at Ramiro's bus station bar near the bridge in La Calera there's live music or informal sessions and sing-songs, mostly starting from around lunchtime and sometimes continuing until sunset. From this Sunday a few regular visitors with various instruments will meet there again - probably not only on Sundays - to have a session and sing-song just for the fun of it, which is called a parranda in Spanish. One of them, an English musician and singer, has even written a new song about the event and all going well you can hear its premiere there tomorrow. Well done, Fred !

Friday, January 27, 2017

A beautiful beetle

I spotted this well-preserved VW 1500 'beetle' car in La Playa, Valle Gran Rey, yesterday. This historic Volkswagen petrol-guzzler dated from 1966 with an original Tenerife registration. It attracted a lot of attention and I wasn't the only one taking photos.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Rare musical performance

As part of the 33rd Festival de Musica de Canarias the 'Duo Antwerp' will perform in the Casa de la Cultura in La Calera, Valle Gran Rey, this Friday, January 27th, at 7 pm. The duo play two rarely-heard instruments, namely the marimba and the bass clarinet. To quote the organisers:
''Duo Antwerp is formed by two outstanding performers: Adilia Yip on the marimba and Daniel Belloví on the bass clarinet, who always believe in the enormous potential of this unique combination. Through original works from contemporary composers and classical arrangements, the Duo extends the amazing possibilities of marimba and bass clarinet in both musical interpretation and high technical level. Every concert of the Duo is an enjoyable music experience full of creativity and cultural excursions.''

Tuesday, January 24, 2017