Monday, April 27, 2015

Minor oil slick threat could reach La Gomera

...BUT let me stress that this is just a relatively small amount of fuel oil spilled from a sunken large fishing vessel, and NOT a major slick from a tanker. Nasty all the same but sadly happening regularly all over the world when vessels sink. has more details:

Canary Island oil slick threatens Tenerife and La Gomera 
 thinkSPAIN , Sunday, April 26, 2015 
AN OIL slick of several kilometres wide is spreading out of control towards other islands in the Canaries, warns the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The fuel spillage from the Oleg Naydenov, a Russian fishing vessel which caught fire in the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and was towed out to sea to prevent damage to other ships in the harbour, was said to be moving south-west away from the islands, but other patches have been seen in the last 48 hours.
Initially threatening Maspalomas beach in Gran Canaria, the oil slick is now spreading towards Tenerife and La Gomera.
The WWF has called for 'urgent steps' to be taken to protect the 'exceptional natural wealth' in the area, near the towns of Abona and Punta de Rasca in the south of Tenerife, whilst tourism authorities fear the spilled fuel will pollute beaches on these three and other islands.
Given that the Canary Islands' main income is from beach tourism, contamination of this nature could be disastrous for the economy.
Patches of fuel on the water surface of between four and five kilometres in width were seen yesterday (Saturday) to the west of the Cabo Descojonado in Gran Canaria, but coastguard workers have now upped vigilance in Tenerife and La Gomera as the oil is spreading rapidly towards them.
Decontamination forces have scooped out 40 cubic metres of fuel, and say most of it is on the surface.
They have also bailed out over 200 kilos of spilled fuel from the beaches in Veneguera, Mogán and La Aldea in Gran Canaria.
Huge rocks which were impossible to clean have been removed altogether to be disposed of.
Veneguera lives largely off fishing and is mostly untouched by mass tourism – and many residents only eat what they are able to catch, meaning they are now facing potential ruin and a shortage of food.
So far, two Loggerhead turtles and six different types of birds have been found coated in oil.
Two of the birds have died, but one of the turtles has been successfully treated and released into a clean part of the sea whilst at least one other bird is said to be recovering well and should be able to fly again within about a week.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Jumping through fire

Following an old custom the fires are lit in the town of Agulo on La Gomera in honour of the town's patron saint San Marcos on April 24th every year, and many of the town's population are rising to the challenge and jump over the bonfires. Visitors are welcome to join in tonight and there's even a version with smaller fires for the children. If you're a bit older or just not as daring, you can wait until the fires have burnt down a bit and try the 'light' version. The organisers recommend to cover your hair and avoid wearing flammable synthetics.

After the spectacular fire-jumping, there'll be dancing all night and and plenty of cold drinks to quench the resulting thirst..

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Maria of Playa Maria

Yesterday I reported the death of Maria and I just found a very poignant obituary written by one of her grandchildren, Marcos Brito, who is a DJ and music producer living in London, on his Facebook page. He wrote the following:

Marcos Brito :  
Thank you for the tomato jam ♡ 
My grandmother, Maria, passed away Thursday evening, after being ill for sometime. Her life was well-lived and her choices and hard work have had such a massive impact on so many people over the course of her life, from the family she raised - my father, my aunt and uncle, to extended family and friends that you she touched, to the many many thousands of tourists that have stayed at her pension house or dined at her restaurant or even just enjoyed a beer at sunset from the bar over the past 50 years - as one of the first commercial buildings in the area, Casa Maria helped develop the existing tourism in Valle Gran Rey - one of the important sources of economy for the people of Valle Gran Rey. The beach where her home lay was named 'Playa Maria' after her. All she did was work, she was a true slave to the kitchen - which made her an excellent cook and she has made some great dishes in her time, including always making my favourite whenever I visited - tomato jam. She never went to the beach that was metres from her front door, the nearest she got was walking out to feed the seagulls the food leftovers at sunset. Even the seagulls loved her. She was as famous as they get on her island. Many people will miss her. I will miss her and all that she brought to this life. xxxxxxxxxx
I took this photo at Bar Maria just a few years ago after a lovely chat with her ©

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Maria deceased

Maria of the landmark bar and sunset meeting spot Bar Maria (aka Bar las Jornadas and Casa Maria) in La Playa has died on Thursday afternoon. For many years she was the host and cook in the most popular bar in Valle Gran Rey and was loved by all who ever had the pleasure of meeting her. 

The bar was run by her son Pepe in recent years, but was closed just a couple of days before her death as the lease had ended. The future is uncertain as several family members now have inherited  the property and have so far not come to an agreement whether to sell or keep it in the family.  Anyway, Maria will be missed by all. R.I.P.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Canarian folk in concert

A concert of Canarian folk music by the group 'Amalgama', with special emphasis on the traditions of La Gomera, will take place in the cultural centre near the town hall in La Calera, Valle Gran Rey this Saturday, April 18th 2015, at 8 pm. All are welcome.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

I'm back home in Ireland and it's been exceptionally warm and sunny here for the past few days. Below are some snapshots taken yesterday.
Nothing much new on La Gomera, but I will keep in touch with the island while in Ireland and will report anything interesting on this blog if and when it happens...

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Market and music

Playa de Santiago in La Gomera's south will host a market today in the town's square by the sea with activities for young and old, wine tasting, plus live music from bands and artists such as 'Almogrote Band', Reblujina (Rock), and more. DJs will also perform and the event will last from this  morning long into the night. 
All are welcome and the event is free of charge.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Thousands evacuated... city built on rock and roll declared unstable reports:

AN ESTIMATED 400,000 people have been evacuated in one of the largest operations the United States has ever seen, after the city of Cleveland, Ohio was deemed too unstable to live in due to poor foundations.
Structural engineers took just three weeks to deliver their findings after a tip off from songwriter Bernie Taupin, who made claims that the entire city was built on “rock and roll”.
An emergency meeting was called by Cleveland city council last night in light of the report, which advised members that the entire 82.47 sq mile area should be evacuated immediately as it was declared structurally unsafe to live on.
Mr. Taupin claimed that himself, and four other men, originally built this city, built this city on rock an’ roll. Built this city, they built this city on rock an’ roll.
US president Barack Obama later declared Cleveland as a ‘national disaster zone’ and ordered 10,000 troops to the Ohio state to deal with the crisis.
Temporary shelters have already been made available on the outskirts of the city in a bid to ease the steady flow of now homeless people.
Engineers believe the entire city may have to be destroyed in order to secure a sound foundation for future developments.
“I just can’t understand why these buildings haven’t crumbled to the ground yet.” said one expert. “The vibrations alone from rock and roll should have destroyed them.”
Police have so far arrested eight people, including the band, Starship, who openly sang about the poor construction 30 years ago.