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Friday, July 15, 2022

Body discovered in Tuesday's fire outbreak

The scene of the fire near Playa del Ingles (Image: Bomberos Valle Gran Rey)

A fire broke out in Valle Gran Rey on Tuesday afternoon around 4pm. The small area of scrubland affected is close to the minor road between La Playa and Playa del Ingles, near art gallery Oasis. The local voluntary fire brigade arrived quickly on the scene and the fire was subsequently brought under control. However, when the area was checked more thoroughly a male body was discovered. Rumour has it that the fatality is a Swiss citizen and that a small gas container had exploded. Another person is said to have narrowly escaped the flames uninjured. The Guardia Civil police continue to investigate the incident.

Friday, July 08, 2022

Tuna fair in Playa de Santiago tomorrow

Tomorrow, Saturday July 9th 2022, Playa de Santiago in La Gomera's south will host a 'Tuna Fair' from 10am with cookery demostrations, fish and wine pairings, free tapas, children's events, market stalls, live music and surprises. All is themed around fresh tuna, as Playa de Santiago's port is where most of La Gomera's tuna catch is landed and all along the south coast you can still see the ruins of several tuna canneries.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Police station moved to the harbour of Valle Gran Rey

La Gomera's president Casimiro Curbelo speaking at the opening of the new Guardia Civil post (Image: gomeraverde.es)

Valle Gran Rey's Guardia Civil police station has recently moved from its previous location in La Playa to the harbour of Valle Gran Rey. The refurbished building on the pier in front of the fishermen's co-op once housed the office of the 'Garajonay Express' direct ferry, but had been vacant for years since the termination of said ferry connection. Now the Guardia Civil police have relocated to what is meant to be their permanent station in Valle Gran Rey, and NOT to 'Casa Maria' as I reported as an April fool's joke last year..., but who knows if the Policia Canaria or some other Spanish police force is not eyeing that vacant building to cover the western side of Valle Gran Rey ?

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Friday, April 08, 2022

Ferry 'Benchi Express' to run soon again

The 'Benchi Express' passenger ferry entering the harbour of Playa de Santiago a few years ago

The reopening if the so-called interior ferry line between the ports of Valle Gran Rey, Playa de Santiago and San Sebastian de La Gomera will soon become reality when the purpose built ferry owned and run by the Fred. Olsen ferry company will re-establish the service. The 'Benchi Express', a catamaran type passenger ferry, suspended all services with the beginning of the pandemic in March 2019 and the vessel was first mothballed and later serviced the connection between Playa Blanca in Lanzarote and Corralejo in Fuerteventura, where post-pandemic tourism recovered first. It has a capacity of 250 passengers and boasts a cafeteria and kennels for pets, but again it will not sail to Tenerife. However its sailings will be timed to connect with the large Fred. Olsen car ferry to Los Cristianos in Tenerife with three voyages in both directions per day . Tickets will be again be sold online and through special vending machines in Valle Gran Rey and Playa de Santiago. These will also give up to date information on sea and weather conditions and real-time arrival and departure times. It was announced by the Fred Olsen ferry company and the Canarian minister for transpot that the vessel will come back into service uniting the three La Gomera ports on the 1st of July this year.

Friday, April 01, 2022

La Gomera's stone circle to be moved


One of La Gomera's main visitor attractions is mythical La Laguna Grande in the centre of Garajonay National Park, and indeed in the centre of the island, high up in the mountains surrounded by ancient forests.
La Laguna Grande offers a small interpretative centre that explains the flora and fauna of the national park, a restaurant which is rented and run by the Fred. Olsen ferry company, public toilets, a playground, and barbecues and ovens which are popular with locals often bringing their extended families for day-long celebrations and parties. The area is also included in nearly all coach tours, bringing day trippers from Tenerife and cruise ship excursions. The popular spot is also often chock-a-block with rental cars, bikers and hikers.
 Now a major re-development of La Laguna Grande has been announced which will see the small car park between the open green area and the restaurant extended, providing three times more space. As it is now this car park always quickly fills, resulting in too many cars being parked along the dangerous main road above the area, where the coaches also must park because they cannot turn below. Trees there beside the GM-2 cannot be felled to create more parking along this main east-west artery because all flora and fauna is protected in the national park. 
 Further to this recently approved development it has been announced that the stone circle (see image above) will be moved to the beautiful park around another of the island's main attractions, the Torre del Conde in the island's capital San Sebastian de La Gomera. It had previously been suggested by the Spanish minister for culture to move the monument to a museum in mainland Spain ''to give it more protection from the elements and human interference'', but thankfully La Gomera's president Casimiro Curbelo intervened and he stated that La Gomera will not tolerate these stones leaving the island. There were also well-attended protests held in San Sebastian de La Gomera and during one of those the crowd formed a large 'human stone circle' (cadena humana de piedra) around the Torre del Conde, demanding the monuments be re-erected in front of the tower:
       The 'human stone circle' protest in San Sebastian de La Gomera recently (This image: gomeranoticias.com)

 The compromise solution now is to move the lot to the island's capital where it can be better monitored and protected, as well as making it more accessible to locals and visitors. The associated cup-marked standing stone/boulder (image below) will also be moved there. The whole operation will be supervised by a team of archaeologists and historians, to make sure the exact same alignment will be observed and that no damage is done.
 The existing small playground in the green of Laguna Grande will be augmented with a new themed amusements park with various additional rides and pleasure gardens which ''will reflect the many myths and legends associated with La Laguna Grande''. Work on the project is to begin after Easter when low season begins. It is hoped that both the newly-developed attractions and the relocated stone alignment will be open to the public again on April 1st 2023, according to Cabildo de La Gomera, the island's government. Funding has been made available with part-funding coming from the EU who praised the project as eco-friendly and a ''show-piece sustainable development which also will reduce traffic and emissions in Garajonay National Park''.

Monday, March 14, 2022

La Gomera to generate 70% of its energy from wind

Ship arriving with parts for wind turbines in San Sebastian de La Gomera's port
Parts for the new wind turbines arriving in the port of San Sebastian de La Gomera last month (Image: gomeranoticias.com)

Finally the planned construction of wind tubines in La Gomera is going ahead and the arrival last month of the first large parts for the wind turbines heralds the end for the ageing and very smelly diesel generator driven power station in the island's capital San Sebastian de La Gomera.
The new large windmills will be constructed in three wind parks in the mountains above the capital, one of them near 'El Camello'. This desolate spot once had indeed camel stables, then it housed a discotheque and nightclub, and after that had closed down refugees from Africa were housed there in container homes.
The three wind parks, once completed, will generate up to seven megawatts of electricity and should cover 70% of the island's 10MW average demand.
The plan to generate all of La Gomera's electricity from renewable sources was drawn up in 2019 and the arrival of the first segments of the windmills was hailed as a historic moment by the authorities.
The aim is to become 100% self sufficient in electricity generation and the next step in the island government's plan is the construction of solar photovoltaic parks to augment wind energy and to provide stability of the grid. Some of the diesel generators will probably remain on stand-by.
The new windmills will hopefully be a lot more reliable and sturdy than the only two previous turbines near Epina that never worked very well. One of them even got blown down in a storm a few years ago (more here...).

Saturday, February 12, 2022

New 2€ coin to feature La Gomera island


Since the end of January the Spanish national mint has begun producing commemorative two Euro coins which will not show the portrait of the king of Spain on the reverse side. Instead these new 2 Euros (above) will show La Gomera's emblematic and iconic Roque Agando (more here...) together with examples of the fauna in the island's 1.8 million years old laurisilva forest. Both can be found in Garajonay national park, the stunningly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site which covers about 11% of the entire island, and to which the new coins are dedicated.
The Spanish king probably won't mind, as he has visited La Gomera and admired its national park on several occasions.
The new coinage will come into circulation ''in the first quarter of 2022'' according to the official decree issued two months ago, so keep your eyes on any 2 Euro pieces in your change from now on. This should also be of interest to numismatologists as the 2022 commemorative issue dedicated to La Gomera will be strictly limited in numbers by the national mint.

Friday, January 07, 2022

La Gomera's oldest citizen

La Gomera's oldest citizen is Antonio Navarro from the harbour village of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey. Born the 29th of December 1914, he just celebrated his 107th birthday and he still clearly remembers all the events and experiences during his long life. Congratulations !
Antonio once imported clothes and shoes to Valle Gran Rey and he also built apartments to rent out to tourists. This accommodation is still officially listed as 'Apartamentos Navarro' today and available to book.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Fishing or leaping ?

The above image shows the statue near the picnic area at the Embalse de La Encantadora, the large irrigation-water reservoir near Vallehermoso in La Gomera's north-west. The lake-like reservoir contains plenty of fish, and permits for angling are available for a small fee from the local town hall. Should you catch anything, you can cook it right there as the lovely picnic area boasts ovens and barbecues, basic kitchen facilities (all under a traditional roof) and clean toilets. Most times there's even a large stack of firewood supplied for use by the public and all these facilities are free of charge. A great place for parties, too, but please inform the locals and the town hall of your plans if a larger crowd is expected to attend. The locals nearby are very helpful and it might be a good idea to invite them. They do make good wine there, you know...
The statue of the aboriginal Gomeran stands on a small headland jutting out into the artificial lake very close to the picnic area.
However, he's not holding a fishing rod, nor some type of spear. The long pole he grips was and still is used for the so-called 'salto del pastor' (shepherd's leap), a means to speedily traverse the rough and steep terrain of La Gomera. There's more about that tradition, with a video of how it's still done today here...

Thursday, October 28, 2021

BREAKING: Clocks to go back two years this weekend


It's that time of the year again (see previous post) and there's
BREAKING NEWS, as reported by Waterford Whispers News below:

''AUTUMN is well and truly underway with the biannual changing of the clocks to take place this coming weekend, however, this year will be slightly different to previous years as the clocks go back a record 24 months to the year 2019, WWN can report.

“Due to Daylight Saving Time, we normally put our clocks back 60 minutes on the last Sunday in October, but due to the worldwide Covid pandemic we have decided instead to reclaim the last two years,” explained Director of Clocks Going Back, David O’Clock, “hopefully this will give everyone back the time they’ve lost and there’s absolutely no need to thank us. You’re welcome”.

The move will see October 31st, 2021, become October 31st 2019, sparking mixed emotions from across the world.

“I personally think it’s a great idea,” stated Taoiseach Miche├íl Martin, who was due to hand over his leadership position to Leo Varadkar in December 2022, “this will be a great way to restart the roaring 20s all over again and give us time to get our party back up the polls”.

“I’d rather we change the trajectory of the earth using rocket boosters, so we crash and burn into the sun than relive another moment of 2020,” voiced one concerned man, “what sick fuck suggested this?”

Despite conflicting feelings over the two-year clock change, the Tokyo Olympics and Euro Football championships could be relaunched again in June, depending on if the clocks don’t go forward again by two years in March.

“Look, we’ll see how this goes for the time being,” David O’Clock added, “if the next year is worse than the previous two then we might just skip forward by three years to 2022 – leave it with me”. ''

© Waterford Whispers News  
(except image and heading, that's La Gomera Whistles News)