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Saturday, December 15, 2018

New vessel to connect Valle Gran Rey with Tenerife

HSC Champion Jet 1 arriving in La Gomera yesterday. (Images: puentedemando.com)
The rapidly expanding ferry company Naviera Armas will be introducing yet another vessel on the route between Los Cristianos on Tenerife and Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera island from today. The high speed catamaran (HSC) Champion Jet 1 has been chartered by the Canarian ferry company Armas from the Greek/Cypriot shipping company Seajets to replace the Trasmediteranea Alcantara 2 which sailed on this route up to last night (see my recent post).
Champion Jet 1 was built in Tasmania by Incat as hull number 044 in 1997 and has just  undergone a complete refurbishment (see image below). This latest vessel on the LC-VGR route can accommodate about 750 passengers and 200 cars and offers all the usual facilities such a bar cafeteria, shop, etc. while achieving a top speed of 36 knots, which makes her faster than the previous vessel on this route and should ensure more realistic arrival times (ETAs). The 285ft long vessel with a beam of 85ft once operated in the Channel islands and later connected Poole with Cherbourg for Brittany Ferries as 'Condor Vitesse' before being sold to Seajets in Greece in 2015, where she was renamed Champion Jet 1 and operated from Piraeus and Heraklion.
Now the chartered HSC is expected to also connect Los Cristianos with Santa Cruz de La Palma once trials there have been completed and hopefully the fast ferry will connect La Palma with La Gomera as well.
Tickets for sailings between Los Cristianos and Valle Gran Rey can now be booked well in advance on the Naviera Armas website. Presently two return trips are offered on most days until the 10th of February 2019 and further schedules are expected to be published soon.
Update: This morning's first Champion Jet 1 scheduled sailing from Valle Gran Rey arrived in Los Cristianos on time, covering the distance in just 90 minutes. The previous ferry was always very late arriving at its destination. The new vessel seems to achieve the ETAs, making the service more reliable which is crucial when you have to catch a flight from Tenerife.

Free gospel music concert tonight

As part of the 2018 edition of the Gospel Canarias Festival there will be a gospel music show with The Believers Gospel Singers including drums, bass and keyboards from the US (above) in San Sebastian de La Gomera this Saturday, Nov. 15th 2018. This year's concert will be open-air on the capital's main square at 9 pm. The same group will perform the following day in Los Cristianos on Tenerife where the cover charge will be € 15, but the event is free of charge here in La Gomera. Aren't we lucky here on this little island, where so many events are free...

Friday, December 14, 2018

Art exhibition with live music

Due to the huge success last week artist Pero is repeating his art exhibition with live music in Tanya's shop in La Playa, Valle Gran Rey this Saturday from 6pm as part of the Noche en Blanco (see previous post).

Thursday, December 13, 2018

'White night' 2018 in La Playa

Above the programme for the 2018 Noche en Blanco (night in white) Christmas  promotion in the La Playa area of Valle Gran Rey which offers entertainment for young and old, live music in the streets and special offers in the shops - all this Saturday Dec. 15th 2018 from 5pm.  Another, larger Noche en Blanco will take place on Friday 21st of Dec. in the area near the harbour of Valle Gran Rey.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Roque Cano

Vallehermoso's emblematic Roque Cano, one of many such 'roques' scattered throughout La Gomera

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Flamenco Sunday lunchtime

The Sunday lunchtime music sessions continue a Ramiro's bus station bar and cafeteria in La Calera with Ulises (on left above) and friends playing their flamenco and fusion music on the 9th of Dec 2018 from around 1 pm. After that an open music session should follow as usual...

Friday, December 07, 2018

Interesting cARTon exhibition

There's an interesting art exhibition in Valle Gran Rey tomorrow night from 6 pm. Pero, especially known for his art works fashioned from discarded cardboard packaging which he calls cARTon will exhibit his latest works in Tanya's shop (Taller de Tanya) in one of the backstreets of La Playa, near the main tourist office. There will also be live music by Jelila. Pero used to be seen regularly at sunset in front of 'Bar Maria' (see image below taken on a cold January evening in 2015) with his small mobile art stall. All are invited to tomorrow's free event.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Wine Fiesta 2018

This year's wine fiesta will take place in the main square in San Sebastian de La Gomera this
Friday, Dec. 7th 2018,  from 8pm to 11pm with tastings of local wines, live music and snacks

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

New night-time taxi service

Up to now it was almost impossible to get a taxi after 10 pm in all of La Gomera and early morning departures had to be pre-booked with the taxi drivers. Thankfully now there's an all-night taxi service operating in Valle Gran Rey (see above), so getting home for up to seven passengers after a night out enjoying Valle Gran Rey's nightlife is made much easier. Don't forget to add the prefix 0034 (Spain) to the number when roaming.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Light Calima this week

Forecast of dust concentration for Thursday, Dec. 6th 2018, a bank holiday in Spain

A very stable and blocking high pressure system over the Iberian peninsula and North Africa is steering an easterly airflow over the Canary Islands and this is not expected to change for the remainder of the week. It is bringing very dry and warm air from the Sahara, and from later today some dust is expected resulting in mostly sunny weather with a light Calima (click for more information).

Thankfully the Sahara is not too hot at this time of the year and recent rains over North Africa have kept the dust down, so the effects on the Canaries should be minor, but warmer than usual temperatures, dry air with mainly fresh easterly winds, strong and gusty at times, will be felt here. Make sure to drink enough water.
The weather should return to normal over the weekend, when the winds are expected to turn back to the usual NE trade winds bringing clearer air, according to most forecasting models.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Temporary road closure (Updated)

The visitors centre will remain accessible from the northern main road through Las Rosas (above right)

The scenic road connecting the visitors centre in Juego de Bolas with the main road through the national park close to La Laguna Grande will be closed to all traffic in both directions from tomorrow Monday December 3rd 2018 until Friday from 8 am until 6 pm each day. The closure is due to resurfacing work and it is hoped that some restricted opening is possible from Wednesday 4 pm if work progresses well. Access to the visitors centre and the glass viewing platform Mirador de Abrante from the northern main road between Hermigua and Vallehermoso will not be affected.
UPDATE: The road closures have been extended until 6 pm Wednesday Dec. 12th 2018. However, this road will be open this Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

San Borondon: The Mystery Canary Island

There's even a San Borondon brand of mineral water on sale in the Canary Islands which shows the shape
of the mysterious St. Brendan's island as it was described by many who've claimed to have seen it
As promised in my last post, today I'm introducing you to a myth that has been around for centuries. Saint Brendan's island or San Borondon in Spanish is described by IslandMomma below:
...'' We stood on the northern hillside of Tenerife, overlooking the Mar de Nubes, the famous Sea of Clouds, which often circles the island’s peaks. I pointed out the peaks of the island of La Palma, which drifted above clouds on the horizon, twin, purple,  mysterious humps .

“That reminds me,” my friend said. “The other day from the boat I saw an island, but I wasn’t sure which one it was,” and he described its position. I knew that there should be no island in the direction he indictated, but I also knew exactly what he had seen.
I drew a deep, sharp breath. “You saw the magic island of San Borondon,” I whispered. A tingle of excitement ran down my spine.
It took the Crown of Castille almost a hundred years to seize all of the Canary Islands, most of the 15th century, as the chain succumbed, island by island. The conquerors were aware that throughout history myths and legends had swirled around the archipelago. One maintained that the mountain peaks were all that remained of the lost city of Atlantis. Another claimed them to be the site of the fabled Garden of the Hesperides.
In a time when active volcanoes still struck fear into human hearts, Tenerife was claimed to be the last island to fall in 1496; but was it?
To this day rumors abound of another island, one never found by the Conquistadors, and never conquered by the Spanish crown. Never found because it has the magical power to become invisible, to shroud itself in mists so that we disbelieve what our eyes see, or not to be visible at all to the human eye.
My 1978 copy of the book
It is said that St Brendan of Clonfert, a 6th century Irish monk was the first person to set foot on this ghostly isle. St Brendan, or San Borondon in Spanish, himself a figure of legend, set sail with fellow monks in a simple vessel of the sort normally used for coastal fishing in those days, a vessel not designed for distant travel. It is claimed by some that the group even reached the shores of the Americas, recording the many wonders discovered along the way, from fire-breathing dragons to miraculous columns of crystal floating on the ocean. (It was a large version of a currach with a wooden frame covered with leather in which they set sail from Co. Kerry, and British explorer and historian Tim Severin sailed a replica across the Atlantic in 1977 - Ed.)
After days and days at sea with supplies run out, dehydrated, hungry and weary,  and praying for a safe port at which to land, they saw the mists before them parting, and an island of an emerald green to rival their own Ireland appeared. Thankful, they landed, and finding the island abundant in all the supplies they needed, from fresh sweet water to luscious fruit, they feasted, and then said mass in gratitude to their benevolent god.
It seems, however, that their god was not so generous as they hoped. In the midst of the ceremony the island began to shake and tremble, and fires began to spurt from its steep mountainsides. The monks ran for their flimsy vessel, and set sail once more, fearful as the island disappeared again into the ocean mists.
Another version of the legend tells that the island was actually a gigantic, dozing sea creature, whose awakening scared our adventurers, and others speak of rivers of fire or not-so-friendly natives attacking the landing party.
Although the truths of these legends can never be proven, their substance is clear, rivers of fire or fire breathing dragons could easily be ancient explanations of volcanoes, and crystal columns on the ocean, icebergs. Saint Brendan made it back to his homeland in time, and never returned to the island that now bears his name.
Whether or not there was an additional Canary Island has now been debated for centuries. Its position, if it existed, or exists, was somewhere west of the islands which now comprise the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife – La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro as well as Tenerife island itself. There are said to be reports of sailors or islanders who have actually set foot on it, but no definitive proof that it ever existed, despite explorations, notably one in the 18th century.
There are stories in Canarian folklore which reference this mythical island, stories which involved dragons and magic gardens, and lives untainted by man’s usual preoccupations.  To hear one of these stories told by a good storyteller is to be transported to another place and time, without the aid of moving pictures or even still ones, an expert teller of tales can make you believe in just about anything so long as you are willing.
It is, of course, possible that a volcanic island emerged from the ocean at some point, but that further volcanic activity destroyed it, causing it to sink back into the depths. Me, I prefer to suspend my disbelief and think that what my friends spied on the horizon that day was the missing island. ...''
One of many old maps showing San Borondon