Friday, February 09, 2024

Carnival season 2024

The carnival season 2024 has begun in La Gomera and the island capital San Sebastian's festivities are already in full swing. The main parade will wind its way through the streets tomorrow, Sat. 10th of February 2024, followed as usual by dancing until sunrise, see poster above for the full carnival programme, which is themed 'The Jungle'.
The capital will barely have recovered from the jamboree when the celebrations begin again across the mountains in Valle Gran Rey where this year's theme is 'Hawaii' and the  main carnival parade takes place there on Saturday, February 24th 2024 from 5pm(-ish).
See VGR programme below:

Then carnival and all aficionados move to Playa de Santiago in the deep south of La Gomera where the fun begins on March 28th, themed 'Pirates of the South', see their poster below. 
Agulo and Hermigua in the north of the island will of course have their own distinct carnivals as well, but I don't have their programmes yet. Watch this space...

Nice poster (below) out now for the carnival in Vallehermoso (March 7th-9th):

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The Trap

Above image shows part of the spectacular landscape at El Cepo near the village of Las Rosas, close to La Gomera's northern coast. 'El Cepo' translates as 'The Trap' and indeed there are many traps in the area, as there are precipitous drops and no marked paths. However, La Gomera's steep landscape contains lots of vertigo-inducing cliffs and mountain passes, so caution is always advised. 

Monday, November 13, 2023

This strange video is a must see and a great laugh

I found the above video on the web accidentally and I had to laugh so much it actually hurt. It purports to introduce first-time visitors to La Gomera and give ''essential tips'' for tourists.

It gets really mad from about 0!:15 into the video when a lioness is seen striding through the grass with the voiceover saying that La Gomera's wildlife boasts animals that are ''otherwise extinct in most places''. Now, why is this 'La Gomera lion' wearing a collar ?

No prizes for spotting the many more ridiculous errors in the video and the disjointed imagery. The voiceover and pronunciation are hilarious, too.

This video was obviously generated using artificial intelligence (AI) and confirms my reasons for always calling same artificial ignorance

There is some nice footage from La Gomera in it, too, and some factual information. But there's definitely no tuk-tuks in La Gomera bringing you into a jungle, etc., etc....

The author's travel vlog even dares to call itself ''Official Travel Guide'' and states: ''Whether you're planning your travel for 2023 or simply seeking inspiration from travel magazines, our La Gomera - Essential Tips for First-Time Visitors to the Canary Islands video is a must-watch.'' Yeah, no, essentially wrong.

Just imagine some poor innocent who doesn't know anything about La Gomera viewing this video and then deciding to visit to see the non-existent lions...

Friday, November 03, 2023

Unusual series of earthquakes

The latest tremor (above, red star marks epicentre) occurred late at night on the first of November 2023, again near the island's capital San Sebastian de La Gomera and was of 2.5 magnitude.The other markers show where and how intensely it was felt by the population.  (Source: IGN)

There has been a series of minor earthquakes reported by the Spanish agency IGN (Instituto Geografico Nacional) in or very close to La Gomera , some of which were widely felt all over the island. Most were on the eastern side near the capital San Sebastian de La Gomera. This somewhat unusual event began last Saturday night and by Monday about 15 minor quakes up to magnitude 2.8 on the Richter scale had been reported by IGN. Some of these quakes were widely felt across the island with reports of the typical low rumbling noise that accompanies earth tremors also coming from various parts of the island. Even the director of the Canarian branch of IGN, Itahiza Dominguez, called these events ''un poco anomala'' ( a bit abnormal) when asked for an explanation by the press. She also said that since the installation of the latest seismograph in La Gomera in 2017 there had been only 17 earth tremors registered by said station previously.
More than that six year total has now occurred in the past few days. However, La Gomera has been volcanically 'dead and cold' i.e. inactive for more than a million years. As it is one of the oldest Canary Islands in origin, the latest activity is unusual and probably points to tectonic movements of some kind, according to Dominguez.
The depths of the epicentres initially were between 10 and 23 kms, but the latest quakes had their origin only 4 to 8 kilometres underground.
There's a rumour going around that the seismograph was triggered by undersea cable laying preparation works for the electricity inter-connector between Tenerife and La Gomera, which is to come ashore in the municipal area of San Sebastian de La Gomera, causing the rumble similar to those heard and felt across the island. It has also been known that very heavy swells at sea pounding La Gomera's coastline will cause the sensitive seismic station high in the mountains of La Gomera's Garajonay national park to register tremors, as do rock blasting operations and tunnelling for roads. However the scientists at IGN are no fools and usually are wise to these causes. They will not report those tremors  as earthquakes and won't list them in their bulletins. 
Overall, La Gomera remains one of the safest places in the Canary Islands in general and seismically in particular. Maybe the vibrations were caused by some blown-in minstrels blowing their didgeridoos too enthusiastically...

Monday, October 16, 2023

Get a free knife just before boarding your flight

 The following article and above image appeared in Canarian Weekly last month and I'm sharing this worrying story with you below. The large knife was spotted at Fuerteventura airport, but the magazine with the free knife was probably on sale in some other airports as well:


9/21/23, 7:57 AM  By Canarian Weekly  Fuerteventura  Photo Credit: Noticias Fuerteventura

The security policies at airports following the September 11th attacks in 2001 have left us all with frustrating experiences when travelling by air. Security systems implemented over 20 years ago sometimes require us to almost strip naked before passing through a scanner, and even empty our bags.

However, having a tube of toothpaste or a pot of hair gel confiscated seems even more incredulous when after passing through security at Fuerteventura airport, you come across a newsstand selling a cooking magazine with a six-inch knife (the blade alone appears 6 inches long to me, Ed.) attached to the front, free with the publication!

Passengers were left stunned when they saw a well-known Spanish cooking magazine in departures at Fuerteventura airport, with a ‘Dafne’ kitchen knife as a free gift available to buy and take on the plane.

At the time of this publication, the magazine is still on the shelves and there has been no comment from the airport authorities. Makes you wonder why they bother to confiscate your tweezers or nail clippers! ''

Friday, September 15, 2023

I didn't expect that: ONE MILLION visits to this blog

When I started this blog in August 2012 during the devastating La Gomera fire I never expected anything and hadn't a clue about blogging. I just wanted to report what was going on here as there wasn't much information from or about La Gomera in English. The international media didn't bother checking facts, never mind sending correspondents, and just reported La Gomera's disaster as part of other fires in the Mediterranean with a bit of sensationalism mixed in.
Initially Mr. Google tempted me to allow advertising on this blog, from which I earned precisely ONE cent, before quickly realising that I didn't need  ads clutter and the possibility of maybe earning some more cents. So I pulled the advertising, but had I known that I would get to a million views in just over ten years, maybe that was the wrong decision. However I'm just as happy being poor and to still boast on the banner above: Ads-free. INDEPENDENT.
Surprisingly and unexpectedly my blog has now clocked up over one million visits (see counter on sidebar⇒) as the interest in this blog has grown over the years. While some of the clicks probably are purely accidental, the interest in the island of La Gomera has grown substantially. 
Unsurprisingly most of my readers came from English speaking countries, but was also read in every corner of the globe. Even some of the international press as well as local and Spanish media have used material from this blog, some with my permission, some without. Anyone is welcome to freely use material from this blog as long as the linked source is quoted as Indeed sometimes I use material concerning La Gomera from other media, but I always strive to clearly indicate the source with a link to same.
There's also a lot of regular readers, some of whom I may have disappointed over recent years as I don't post that often anymore. Apologies to them, but thankfully there aren't a lot of exciting  affairs in La Gomera to report, and I've always tried to steer well clear of local politics and expats' antics unless it is unavoidable.
To be honest, as I'm getting older I'm getting lazier and after nearly 1.150 posts I often don't remember what I've already covered and what not. 
So here's a call for help:
If you love La Gomera and would like to contribute, please use the comments function to contact me with a comment not to be published and your contact email and you've got yourself an unpaid job to publish posts with or without your name on this blog. Interesting images are always welcome, too. 
La Gomera is well worth the effort.
Thanks a million to you all, and special thanks  to the many readers who commented favourably and to the many new friends that I made through this blog.

               Anyway, here's to the next million or two of YOU.  Slainte, cheers y salud !

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Twin peaks and a giant's organ

Tenerife's Teide mountain, at more than 12.000 feet Spain's highest peak, seen in the background left with a rock of similar shape at La Gomera's most north-western point near the famous landmark cliffs of Los Organos. These spectacular basalt formations (below) can only be seen from the sea and a trip to Los Organos from Valle Gran on an excursion boat is highly recommended, but the seas can be rough in this windswept remote corner of La Gomera.
Partial view of Los Organos. The whole cliff, resembling a giant's church organ, is about 600ft wide and rises to 250ft tall, with enormous prismatic columns of basalt that drop down the cliff face into the sea and continue under water, all visible only from a boat in the clear Atlantic around La Gomera.

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Power outage in whole island lasting 48+ hours

La Gomera's outdated diesel powered electricity-generating station belching fumes (archive image)

A fire broke out in La Gomera's diesel powered electricity-generation plant in the island's capital San Sebastian de La Gomera during the early hours of Sunday morning. Consequently from around 3am the whole island had been without power even though the newly erected wind turbines were producing plenty of electricity. The operating company Endesa, Spain's largest energy supplier, stated that this was due to all power generated having to go through the old power station for distribution around the island and that they have over 100 people working to restore power and repair the damage, but there's no information about the extent or the cause of the fire.
The island's president Casimiro Curbelo vented his anger yesterday, stating that many components in the old generating station were outdated and should have been replaced at least ten years ago. He called for Endesa to rise to their responsibility and said that it is Endesa's duty to guarantee the power supply. He also stated ''what La Gomera is living through since the early hours of Sunday morning shouldn't be allowed in the 21st century''.
Meanwhile power has been partially restored to most parts of the island as more and more large emergency generators have been brought in from neighbouring islands with 12 more being shipped today from Cadiz in Spain. First to have their power restored were medical and other essential facilities. However even those who had their power restored today report that it is intermittent as the demand is high when for example refrigeration restarts after such a long interruption and even all the emergency generators combined can't supply peak demand in the heat of summer. For this reason most public events scheduled to take place over the next couple of weeks have been postponed. The population should ''use electricity responsibly'', i.e. use as little as possible, according to Endesa, as the supply is fragile and unstable.
Multinational Spanish company Endesa never had the best reputation in La Gomera, to put it mildly, and seem to be a prime example of how La Gomera and the Canary Islands in general are being treated badly as Spain's colony and to be exploited by Madrid and Spanish companies. Endesa had revenue of nearly 33 billion Euros last year but are very slow to invest in La Gomera's electrical infrastructure, while charging high prices. Economically unimportant La Gomera's difficult terrain and low population density just doesn't make a huge profit for a multinational utility company.

Old woes caused by old foes in La Gomera ???
I remember a few years ago there was a bundle of mains supply cables fallen to the ground from my old neighbour's house with some blank wires showing where the insulation was chafed through by the now corroded away wall bracket. The incident was reported by all neighbours immediately and many times thereafter but nothing happened even though every time it rained or when there was high humidity, noisy blue and green sparks were dancing around merrily several feet in the air and the wires began glowing ominously with louder explosive bursts showering the surroundings in orange to white glowing embers. Endesa eventually put a bit of insulating tape around 'the wound' and tied it high again while wearing 3000-Volt-proof rubber gloves. The crew were very proud of having the latter and said this protection was ''muy importante'' when working in La Gomera. A few months later a study was undertaken for new electricity lines, but only after the whole lot had fallen down again, now sparking away even more crazily in damp weather with the added effect of steam hissing from 'the wound' as well. Concerned neighbours kept reporting same to Endesa angrily, but were being assured by the emergency phone line operator that all would be fixed ''pronto'', soothingly adding ''at least you still have mains power''. Thankfully La Gomera's climate is mostly dry. 
Only about seven years later Endesa crews, who I must stress are very competent and amicable but suffering a mean employer, arrived and erected a couple of new poles with modern lines and all could breathe a sigh of relief with the electric fireworks and excitement in damp weather gone for good.

La Gomera had no electricity grid until the 1970s and much of the infrastructure dates back to those years, having been patched up here and there over the decades.
The current electricity emergency will continue for some time as the damage to equipment from Sunday's fire at the generating plant seems to be extensive. Endesa are now pointing the finger at Madrid as apparently they had previously notified the Spanish government of the poor state of the infrastructure.
The island's parliament today held an extraordinary emergency session and unanimously approved a motion calling on Endesa to cover the cost of losses suffered by business and private customers. The island's executive will defend the island's citizens' claims legally and will assist in preparing same, it was announced. An urgent demand for a reform of legislation governing the power supply of and in islands under Spanish jurisdiction will be sent to Madrid.
There'll be a lot of spoiled food going to the piggery and the dump over the coming days. Eating ice cream is definitely not recommended for a while !

Saturday, July 01, 2023

Last night's bushfire now under control

The scene of the incident, with the blue lights of the emergency services visible (image:

 There was a fire in an area of bushy vegetation and palm trees in the La Dehesa area near Chipude in the municipal area of Vallehermoso, at the foot of historic La Fortaleza table mountain. The village of La Dehesa is also home to one of only seven petrol stations in La Gomera, which was an additional fire hazard.
The fire was first reported at around 11pm last night and the emergency services were quickly on the scene, working all night to contain the fire. This morning the blaze was brought under control with 16 hectares having been affected by the fire. The Canary Islands are currently on alert for a high risk of fires due to the recent high temperatures and strong winds.
La Gomera's disastrous fire of 2012 started not too far from last night's blaze.

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Warning of heavy rains in western Canary Islands

A status orange warning of very heavy downpours, thunderstorms and strong winds has been issued for the western Canary Islands today June 7th 2023 by the Spanish meteorological agency. In La Gomera the island's government has activated its emergency plan and all hiking trails, walks and unpaved forestry tracks have been officially closed for today.
Yesterday some significant rainfalls were already recorded in many parts of La Gomera and today even heavier rain with accumulations of up to 20mm in just one hour and 12-hour totals of up to 60mm may be expected. There's also a warning of westerly winds blowing in excess of 70 km/h in exposed areas and  thunderstorm activity.
All this is due to a complex area of low pressure, presently around 994 hPa, situated NW of the Canary Islands and named storm Oscar.
Please be aware that there is a high risk of rockfalls, which will remain for a couple of days once the storm has cleared away and the sun heats up the wet mountainsides.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

The lighthouse of La Gomera

La Gomera's lighthouse Faro San Cristobal, situated a few miles north of the capital San Sebastian de La Gomera seen at sunset, with Tenerife's Teide mountain top towering in the background on left.