Thursday, February 23, 2017

Road improvements near Arure

The village of Arure  (Archive)

The main road which leads through the mountain village of Arure and on to Valle Gran Rey is to be improved very soon. There is a stretch of road just before arriving at the first houses of Arure after leaving the national park which is currently very narrow with lots of dangerous bends where trucks and buses going in opposite directions can't even pass each other, often leading to delays and minor accidents. The added complication in this mountain area at about 3.000 ft altitude is the often reduced visibility due to mist and fog.
Now this length of road of about 1.300 metres is to be widened and the worst bends will be straightened to improve road safety. The government of the Canary Islands will spend 1,5 million Euros on the project and has already put the works out to tender with a stipulated time for execution of nine months. The sensitive environment so close to the national park will be respected by sticking as much as possible to the existing route and any palm trees that are in the way will be replanted close by. The works are badly needed on this busy road which is the main artery supplying Valle Gran Rey, the second most populous municipal area of La Gomera and the most visited by tourists. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Carnival season 2017 in La Gomera

In the island's capital carnival has begun

The carnival poster of Playa de Santiago and Alajero
Carnival headquarter of VGR is in La Playa this year
Vallehermoso's carnival poster

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Further harbour improvements

The terminal building in Vueltas, Valle Gran Rey
The recently constructed terminal building in the outer harbour of Vueltas, Valle Gran Rey, is to be brought into service soon, according to the island's president Casimiro Curbelo. He announced a further investment of 310.000 Euros for the harbour yesterday and the terminal will get the necessary connections to services as well as landscaping and furnishings. 
Lets hope there will be public toilets open at all times as currently there are none in the whole Valle Gran Rey area which serves a population of around 5.000 and is the main tourist attraction of La Gomera. Public toilet facilities are extremely scarce in La Gomera in general and should be provided a.s.a.p. to avoid further unhygienic 'wild toilets'.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Rains force road closures

The steep and winding scenic road through 'EL Rejo' valley
Today's abundant rains have caused some traffic disruption in La Gomera. Apart from minor debris on the roads there was a larger landslide affecting the scenic 'El Rejo' road which connects the main north road and the main west road through the national park. This landslide is said to be not as significant as previous ones, but has forced the closure of this road past the volcanic cone of the same name. The road will be closed until further notice, pending the clearance of debris and a detailed inspection. For locals and visitors normally using this short-cut the closure means very long detours.
In San Sebastian the road past the main beach to the harbour called 'Avenida Maritima' is temporarily closed until flooding caused by heavy rain has subsided, which is expected to happen soon.
There were also flight delays at La Gomera's airport due to the rain and poor visibility.
UPDATE Thursday Feb. 16th 2017:
All roads are now open again, but caution is still advised as always after rain when the sun heats any remaining loose material which then expands and may fall onto roads and paths.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hope on the horizon for some rain

The 'Rainbow' enhancement of today's 12 noon satellite image
While the remainder of today should be mostly sunny with few cloudy intervals, there is some hope for badly-needed rain for tomorrow, particularly during the first half of the day. A minor Atlantic depression of 1004 hPa is approaching and will soon be to the north of the Canary Islands near Madeira while filling before finally dissipating. 
There is already a lot of convective precipitation and thunderstorm activity around the low centre, but once again most of that rain is likely to pass to the north of the Canaries. There is however a good chance that La Gomera and the western Canary Islands will get some good showers and/or spells of rain, potentially even heavy ones, from late tonight until Wednesday evening.
We've also got an upper level low sitting over the same area which should aid the convective precipitation and a forming trough.  Warnings of some heavy downpours in parts of La Palma and Tenerife have been issued.
There's also the risk of some scattered thunderstorms, but the good news is that this time the winds will only be light to moderate from a mostly southerly direction. 
The weather should dry up late on Wednesday with a return to mostly sunny conditions and moderate north-easterly winds forecast for the remainder of the week.
This winter season has been much too dry in La Gomera and let's hope that this small depression will deliver some precious water before the dry weather returns.
To be on the safe side, mountain areas and ravines should be avoided tomorrow, though.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Weather gradually improving

Rough seas at La Puntilla, Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera, today.

La Gomera escaped the worst of the rain this morning as this passed just to the north of the Canary Islands. However, some very strong winds were recorded here and the weather station in the mountains at Alto Igualero recorded sustained wind speeds of well over 90 km/h with gusts of up to 144 km/h between 5am and 9am. The strong winds lead to some power outages, but no major damage was reported. However, torn branches and debris are still to be expected on roads, and as always during and for quite some time after wind and rain, rocks and soil may be dislodged and fall. Caution is advised !

The eagerly awaited abundant rainfalls failed to materialise and the accumulations during the short periods of pecipitation were pretty poor. 
Seas were, and still are, pretty rough but apparently did not disrupt ferry services. The warning for high waves will be lifted at 6 pm.
All other warnings have now ended and the weather is gradually improving with good sunny periods. There should be some more showers, possibly heavy and squally, during the remainder of Sunday, however.
A further few scattered showers could still arrive on Monday and Tuesday, mainly affecting the north of the island and the mountain areas.
Winds are forecast to become variable light to moderate on Monday and Tuesday and it should be mostly sunny generally.
Current indications are that another Atlantic depression may affect the Canaries on Wednesday with some hope of badly needed rain, but that could once again just pass us by without giving much, if any, precipitation. It is expected to dissipate anyway 😩.
Caution is advised and La Gomera's emergency plan remains activated today (Image:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bad weather imminent

A deceptively beautiful but disturbed looking sky at 4pm on Saturday 11-02-2017
This is just a quick update on the weather situation for La Gomera (see previous post):

Today, Saturday 11-02-2017 turned out better than expected but the forecast for tomorrow, Sunday 12-02-17, has worsened considerably and severe weather is imminent, bringing gale force winds, locally heavy downpours, isolated thunderstorms and rough seas. Appropriate weather warnings come into effect from midnight tonight and altogether 7 (seven !) weather alerts at levels from levels 'yellow' to 'orange' have been issued by the Spanish met. office for La Gomera. I won't bore you with all the details, mostly concerning time, and will just give you the synopsis:
From very early morning until late afternoon severe winds and heavy downpours can be expected, as well very rough seas. Synopsis of alerts for La Gomera :
  • Westerly winds may well gust to 90 km/h in exposed areas 
  • Combined swell and wind-blown waves may reach 15-18 ft on exposed coasts
  • Heavy rain is expected with intensities of up to 20 mm/h with localised flooding
  • The combination of rain and wind may cause landslides and rockfalls
Official warnings by Spanish met. office

The government of the Canary Islands has issued separate alerts and ...
  • all public recreational areas, parks, campsites, etc., have been closed.
  • it is advised to secure outdoor furniture, flower pots, etc, etc,...
  • all outdoor events, sporting fixtures, outdoor markets, etc., have been cancelled.
  • unnecessary travel and outdoor activity should be avoided
  • extreme caution is advised generally
With a bit of luck it might not turn out to be as bad after all, but you have been warned...
Anyway, the weather should greatly improve from Sunday afternoon.
The current situation showing that the secondary low will reach 992hPa very rapidly while the main low maintains 994hPa

Friday, February 10, 2017

A windy and rainy weekend in store

Some forecasting models predict this scenario for 6am Sunday morning
SEE latest update (click this)

Wet and windy weekend weather is forecast to affect the Canaries from midnight tonight, even though the sun is shining and there are only a few clouds in Valle Gran Rey as I'm writing this.

A storm depression of 988 hPa is west off the Portuguese coast now and beginning to track south, bringing it closer to the Canary Islands. The depression is expected to be of 994 hPa tomorrow and north of these islands, before moving a bit further away to the north-northeast early on Sunday with an expected 992 hPa. Some models predict that the main depression may spawn-off a secondary but short-lived low very close and just to the north of us (see chart above), which would complicate the situation and may bring higher potential for precipitation.
What all this means is that La Gomera and the rest of the Canaries will be in for spells of rain during Saturday and on Sunday until afternoon. Some of the rain may be heavy in places and isolated thunderstorms can be expected as several frontal systems will pass through the islands. Further, strong westerly winds are expected with gale gusts and seas will be rough with a combination of 3-4 m swell and wind-blown waves.
The following status 'yellow' weather alerts have been issued for La Gomera:
Saturday, Feb. 11th 2017: 
From 00:00 am until 6 pm: Westerly winds gusting to 75 km/h or more in exposed areas.
Sunday, Feb. 12th 2017: 
From 00:00 am until 12 noon: Rain intensity up to 20mm/hour
From 3 am until 3 pm: Winds gusting to 80 km/h or more in exposed areas.
+++ A status 'orange' alert for Sunday from 4 am to 11 am: Gusts of 90+ km/h
The Canarian government has also issued weather alerts and La Gomera's government has called for extreme caution.
While the above weather forecast is not dramatic and not unusual for this time of the year, please bear in mind that the situation is still developing, possibly changing at any time, and that local phenomena and conditions can always spring a surprise.
Please do not put yourself at risk by hiking or walking in the mountains and postpone any such activity until at least a day after the weather has improved. Avoid unnecessary travel and if you must venture out, do so with extreme caution as there's bound to be debris on the roads, and falling stones and rocks are likely due to the wind and rain, especially after the long dry spell we've had. 
Late Sunday and Monday the worst will have passed but the weather will still be unsettled. Also note that warnings may be changed at short notice.
...and the just-issued OPC forecast chart for Sunday noon has confirmed a secondary low of 996hPa (below)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Passenger numbers increase

The port of San Sebastian de La Gomera
The port of San Sebastian de La Gomera recorded 1,3 million passenger movements in 2016, an increase of 6,6 %, while total traffic figures were up by 4 %. Almost 90.000 of the passengers representing an 15,8 % increase came aboard cruise ships during 74 visits by such vessels.
The movement of goods and merchandise through the port showed a 4,8 % higher number than in 2015 with over 150.000 tons processed through the port's facilities while the amount of bulk materials and liquids increased by 6,3 % last year, representing an additional 25.000 tons.
And just to bore you stiff with more statistics, La Gomera's main port handled a total of 2.870 vessels berthing there last year. 
All impressive figures for a small island with a population of just 20.000 !

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

New ferry to arrive this summer ?

Archive image of a former operator of the sorely-missed ferry connection, the 'Garajonay Express', in late 2005.
According to La Gomera's president Casimiro Curbelo the new vessel to operate the interior ferry line connecting the ports of La Gomera's capital San Sebastian, Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey ''will arrive in La Gomera this June or July'' (2017). Curbelo made the announcement when addressing the Canarian parliament yesterday about the necessity to upgrade and improve the port of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey. We're keeping the fingers crossed !

Friday, February 03, 2017

Water circus in La Gomera

A new type of circus performance opened in San Sebastian de La Gomera last night. Circus 'Alegria' presents their show 'Aqua Circus' again tonight, Feb. 3rd 2017, and twice daily on Saturday and Sunday. The troupe of acrobats, entertainers and performers arrived here with numerous articulated trucks and erected a huge marquee. The water circus uses 24.000 litres of water in a basin that forms the stage where water jets are choreographed to the specially written music during the show which is set among seafarers and pirates of the 18th century. Discounted tickets are still available on their website. Below is their short promotional video:

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Irish record Atlantic crossing from La Gomera

Gavan Hennigan celebrating his arrival in Antigua with the Irish tricolour (Image:
Irishman Gavan Hennigan from Galway has done it. He arrived in Antigua in less than 49 days and 12 hours after starting his solo row across the Atlantic from San Sebastian de La Gomera, placing him third overall of the 12 competing boats and first in the solo class. The only two boats to beat his time in the Talisker Atlantic challenge rowing race were manned by teams of four rowers, making his solo effort all the more remarkable. He also smashed all previous Irish records for Atlantic crossings by rowing boats.
“The last seven days have been relentless. At times, I’ve rowed up to 19 hours a day and yesterday when I woke up, I decided it was time to finish this. I’ve rowed for the past 14 hours straight. I gave that my all,'' said the exhausted but happy Gavan, the only Irish rower in the race.