Thursday, October 30, 2014

Serious accident in tunnel

There was a serious accident in the tunnel of Yorima on the road between Arure and upper Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera yesterday afternoon. A fifty years old male cyclist is reported to have collided with a bus inside the tunnel. Police and an ambulance as well as a doctor and a nurse rushed to the scene. The cyclist was later transferred by air ambulance to a hospital on Tenerife, where he was said to be in  'critical condition'. 

The tunnel of Yorima is about 625 metres long and does not have any illumination.

Archive image on left shows entrance to tunnel near Arure

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Over three million views in less than a year

I joined GooglePlus  less than a year ago and started sharing most posts from this blog on that medium (G+ account: Willie La Gomera). The response has been phenomenal and to date my Google plus page has been viewed more than three million times !
Thank you all for your interest, it is a great incentive to keep going...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shepherd's leap

Above video demonstrates the traditional way of rapidly moving across the often difficult and steep terrain in the rural areas of the Canary Islands with the help of a long, pointed, lance-like vaulting pole. This allows the shepherd to move faster than his goats and is called salto del pastor Canario or 'leap of the Canarian shepherd'. It is still practised on La Gomera and it is fascinating to watch farmers move across rocky terrain in the mountains with breathtaking speed when they gather stray goats. The salto is now becoming increasingly popular as an adventure sport activity and classes are on offer sporadically all over the Canary Islands to learn this ancient form of pole vaulting.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oil controversy continues. Greepeace ship arrives reports:

Spain defends Canaries oil drilling plan

People protest against oil and gas exploration by Spanish group REPSOL off the coast of the Canary Islands, on the Spanish Canar
People protest against oil and gas exploration by Spanish group REPSOL off the coast of the Canary Islands, on the Spanish Canary island of Gran Canaria on August 23, 2014
Spain on Friday launched a legal challenge to defend plans to explore for oil and gas off the Canary Islands, a popular tourist destination. Authorities in the Canaries oppose the government-backed plan by oil giant Repsol to prospect under the seabed near the Spanish Atlantic archipelago and have said they will let locals vote on the plan on November 23.
The conservative government in Madrid decided Friday to appeal to the Constitutional Court against that referendum, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said.
"This appeal motion has already been signed" by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, she told a news conference after Friday's weekly cabinet meeting.
She said the government would challenge the vote on the same legal grounds it has used to get a planned referendum on independence for the Catalonia region suspended.
In both cases, the government says the regional governments are not authorised to hold referendum-style votes.
"We are talking about matters that are in the power of the state, not of the Canary Islands government," Saenz said.
Madrid outraged the Canaries' regional government, residents and environmental groups in August by giving Repsol the all-clear to explore near the islands' coasts.
The company has been authorised to spend three years probing below the sea bed about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
Residents of the archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa fear Repsol's explorations will harm the environment and disrupt the tourism industry on which their economy relies.
Under the terms of the licence, Repsol must provide a deposit of 20 million euros ($25 million) "to cover its environmental responsibilities".
Those safeguards have not convinced the islands'  or residents, however. Protesters demonstrated across the eight inhabited  of the archipelago on October 18.
Greenpeace said its campaign boat Arctic Sunrise was heading to the island of Lanzarote on Friday evening and would also visit two other ports in the Canaries over the coming 10 days to support the protests.
© 2014 AFP 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Poster for In The Heart Of The Sea movie

Now the first official fim poster for the film 'In The Heart Of The Sea', directed by Ron Howard and shot partially on location in La Gomera, has been published by Warner Bros. The film is due for release in March of next year. It's a very impressive and stunningly beautiful poster and having had the luck to work on the set as a picture double I just can't wait to see the movie...
Poster © Warner Bros.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oil find only 200 kms away from Canaries

Opposition against oil exploration remains strong in the Canary islands despite the latest discovery of oil off Morocco. Island Connections reports:
Moroccan oil find 'changes nothing' in Canaries, says government
News of the discovery of oil off Morocco in no way changes the opposition of the Canarian people to drilling in the waters off the islands, says the regional government. 

Image: Archive
Canary Islands - 22.10.2014 
- Details emerged yesterday of what appears to be a major find by Genel Energy off Morocco and the news has, unsurprisingly, triggered conflicting views in the Canaries. While supporters of the drilling planned for waters off Lanzarote and Fuerteventura later this year say the find, which still has to be confirmed with further testing of the well, makes the explorations here of even greater interest, opponents say it changes nothing. "This is not the first time we have heard this type of news, which is often put out for stock market interests. The risks involved in the drilling there are not as serious as in the Canaries, which is why we will continue to oppose the plans" said regional president Paulino Rivero, who insisted that the stance taken by the government was "a matter of convictions" and not opportunism. Rivero called on Morocco to take the "strictest measures" to ensure the extraction of any oil found is carried out with full environmental guarantees. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weather warnings today

AEMET rain radar at 10:10 am showing heavy rain approaching La Gomera
There is an orange alert for occasionally heavy rain with accumulations of up to 90 mm in 12 hours for the western Canaries today. There are also warnings of thunderstorms today.
This is due to a developing storm between the Canaries and the Azores which will bring unsettled weather for a couple of days. The weather should have returned to normal conditions by mid-week.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rain or shine

You do get 'proper weather' in the Canaries sometimes, too. I really enjoyed reading Queenie's post on one of her excellent blogs describing a weather event that sometimes can hit these usually sun-blessed islands of 'eternal spring'. I am reproducing it below, but I've added my own photo of a heavy downpour and wild seas during a storm experienced on La Gomera last winter. Don't worry though, bad weather is rare and short-lived in the Canaries. Actually, the locals hope and pray for rain at this time of the year. To them the rain is as important as the sun is for us.

The Storm

This descriptive writing lark isn’t as easy as I imagined.  Firstly I find it particularly hard to find something to write about and then once I do I’m at a loss at how to create a vivid picture.  It makes you realise just how lacking in language you really are!

Long before technology people relied on observation to avoid being caught off guard by the elements. Despite being raised on the wild northeast coast, I was never good at predicting what was going to happen so inevitably I was taken totally by surprise.
The day started beautifully, the sky was like a dome of plasma-blue but there were those who saw the storm closing in. Within minutes of me setting off for town, the once clear sky became full of thick clouds, staining it a deadly shade of indigo. Birds silenced their song and people ran for cover as the saturated clouds start to rumble and spat out beads of water – it began as a whispering in the air but a storm was brewing.
I quickened my pace but caught the first splatter of rain when I was halfway down the road. I took refuge in a doorway, others huddled under shop awnings or sheltered in cars, their windscreen wipers furiously struggling against the increasingly pounding rain as we waited for the storm to pass but the rainfall became more intense. For a while, those who rushed off to work as they do every morning eventually made a wet scramble to stay on schedule only to be drowned and drenched.
So much rain was falling that the sound blurred into one long whirring noise.  It wasn’t the soft, sodden, swollen drops of spring; it was as if ball bearings were hitting the pavement with force. The thermometer plunged as we huddled together and shivered. For a brief moment, I thought that we might be doomed adventurers, destined to be swept away in a mighty flood but eventually, the noise lessened and we made a break for our destinations.  I hurried inside a small cafe, where the smells of strong coffee and wet woollen coats floated in the air. I chose a seat and gazed out of the steamed up windows every few seconds to check what was happening.
It was only a little after ten o’clock in the morning but the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon us as the lightning started. It never came through the menacing clouds, just lit them up from above, then the loud rumble of thunder echoed around the almost empty, lifeless streets. Any last remaining footsteps quickly disappear. The wind came in gusts; it blew with such force and swayed, like a drunken man, picking up then quickly releasing the scattered rubbish again and again. Trees surrender as the battering wind forced leaves to be torn off branches.
From the safety of my refuge I looked at the deserted street and the feeble daylight appeared to dim as the dark clouds moved across the sky. A lone dog pattered across the waste ground then threaded its way between the few surviving cars. Then as if some mighty hand had flicked a switch, the sun came out again, casting slanted beams of light across the land. An explosion of birdsong erupted from the dripping trees and it was as if the storm had never been. Steam climbed slowly from the rapidly drying ground. It rose up eerily and drifted mist-like towards the molten-gold sun. The image was so vivid that it stayed with me all the way home

Saturday, October 04, 2014

New ferry service before end of this year ?

Former ferry on the interior line operated by Garajonay Express

The long awaited reopening of the so-called 'interior line' by sea connecting Tenerife with  La Gomera's ports of San Sebastian, Playa Santiago and Valle Gran Rey could be a reality before the end of the year, according to 'well informed sources'. Fact is that the Canarian government has increased and approved the subsidies for residents' tickets. A whopping 75% of the cost of the journey between any or all of La Gomera's ports will be subsidised  by the government leaving residents with only 25% of the regular ticket price to pay. This was a announced a few days ago and should encourage the quick re-establishment of the ferry service.
Well we've had lots of rumours, 'good news and good intentions' many times before and still there's no ferry. If it doesn't arrive in the few remaining months of this year it might never come again. We keep the fingers crossed, peak season is beginning soon...