Tuesday, July 30, 2013

La Gomera's new local boat service with glass bottom catamaran 'Yani' (updated)

'Excursiones Yani'
in the harbour of
Valle Gran Rey
Contact: Phone

Original Post:
On La Gomera a new glass bottom catamaran will start a regular connection between the harbours of Valle Gran Rey in the southwest, Playa de Santiago in the south, and the island's eastern capital San Sebastian de La Gomera. 
The 2-decks 70-seater 'Yani Primera' which is powered by two Yanmar 255hp engines and operated by 'Viajes Yani' will begin sailings this week already. The comfortable excursion boat will also offer whale and dolphin watching tours and gives passengers the unique experience of observing La Gomera's marine fauna through windows below the waterline.
The brand new boat is entering Valle Gran Rey's very competitive boat excursion market where several companies like 'Tina' and 'Speedy', 'Amazonia' and 'Oceano' are offering responsible and conservationist whale and dolphin watching, but 'Yani' is the first company to offer a regular connection between the three ports of La Gomera since the 'Fred. Olsen' high speed ferry ceased operating this route in early 2012. The only criticism that was voiced by those who've seen the timetable (below) is that it doesn't give you much time in any of the three ports unless you go back by bus or stay overnight, but hopefully 'Yani' will realise this and change the schedule to attract passengers. This new service is a step in the right direction, but it is still far away from a regular daily passenger ferry and without any subsidies the fares are attractive to tourists only.
Whale and dolphin spotting/watching  excurions from Valle Gran Rey on Mondays and Wednesdays will depart at 10.30 am and on Sundays these also sail from Play de Santiago at 9.15am with a pick-up in V.G.R. at 10.20am.
Regular services will be available on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as follows:
    -From Valle Gran Rey at 8am to Playa Santiago (arr. 8.45am), and continuing
     from Playa Santiago at 9am to San Sebastian (arr. 9.30am).
    -From San Sebastian at 11.30am to Santiago (arr. 12noon) and continuing
     from Playa Santiago at 12.10pm to V.G.R. (arr. 12.55pm).
 Sundays: Two sailings just between V.G.R. (dep.8am + 1.45pm) and P.Santiago (dep.9.15am + 3pm).
Fares: --- V.G.R. - San Sebastian: € 18 one way/ € 30 return --- P.Santiago - V.G.R.: € 12 single 
         --- San Sebastian - P.Santiago: € 8 single --- Whale watching tours cost € 30   
Apparently my prayers were heard and 'Yani' have introduced a second sailing on the regular route between the 3 ports on the route, so that passengers will have some time at their destination. I'll post the new times/revised timetable as soon as I can get it all confirmed. Meanwhile, if you're in a hurry you can phone 'Yani' on 0034-639889122 to find out more. They do speak English, I'm told. Demand for tickets appears to be strong, particularly from Playa de Santiago. More as soon as I can get the hard facts....
... and the latest hard facts are that I spoke to Yani who told me that the initial timetable still 'more or less' applies and that a revised timetable will be released when the the introductory phase has passed. For the autumn season he hopes to have a revised timetable that will suit all. In the meantime intending passengers will need to phone 0034-639889122 for reservations and enquiries. Calls can be made in English and German, as well as Spanish. Or go down to the boat in the harbour directly - and remember the song 'Don't pay the ferryman until…'
Final UPDATE Jan. 5th, 2014: 
Yani has not proved to be a 'real' regular ferry service up to now and has become more of an excursion boat. Connections between the ports are fewer than expected and some connections have been dropped altogether. We still hope to get Garajonay Express back soon to have a regular ferry service.

Great to have a regular connection !


Neil Comfort said...

Hi Willie - we are staying in Valle Gran Rey for a couple of weeks and planning a whale watching tour. Would you recommend any particular operator? I read some great reviews for Tina online - couldn't find anything for Yani but it sounds like it's only just started. The glass bottom is very tempting!
Any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Happy to email directly if you prefer.

Willie La Gomera said...

Hi and thanks for your comment.
I do not recommend any particular operator as I can watch the cetaceans anytime with friends. You've mentioned two major companies already and I just add another:
Anyway, you can watch and book once you're here - they all are recommendable and it is just a matter of what type of trip you want and what type of comfort you prefer.

Sacha's Scribbles said...

We used these guys to travel from SS to VGR and it was a great way to see La Gomera from a different angle (and maybe dolphins too).
I have added a page about them on TripAdvisor here: