Monday, March 27, 2017

FERRY NEWS: New boat looking for crew

The long awaited re-opening of the so-called 'interior ferry line', sorely missed since 2012, connecting the ports of La Gomera's capital San Sebastian, Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey is back in the news once again. This time it is solid news and the new vessel to be introduced for this service can't be that far away as the shipping company Fred. Olsen has begun looking for crew for the ferry. Three ads have been placed which state that the company is offering posts as deckhands/waiters, engineers (mechanics) and a captain which preferably should be based in Valle Gran Rey as presumably the ferry will be moored there at night. Now's the time to move to Valle Gran Rey if you've got a skipper's ticket, and/or got experience aboard boats looking for a job.
I'm now pretty certain that on my next trip to La Gomera I'll be sailing to my destination aboard the new vessel. 

Above the three advertisements for jobs on the new ferry connection by the Fred.Olsen company

Friday, March 24, 2017

Another sail training ship visits Vueltas

The three-masted 'Alva' from Stockholm in the harbour of Vueltas, Valle Gran Rey yesterday.  The 44 metres long vessel is crewed by students and operated by the Swedish marine instute. Vueltas harbour is attracting more and more large sailing vessels.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hailstorms in La Gomera

Hail on road near La Hayas (Image:
There was heavy rain and hail today in some parts of La Gomera, while in others like Valle Gran Rey it was mostly sunny. The island's government has stated that all roads are open but drivers should exercise caution.
Hail and lots of water on road in the La Palmita area of La Gomera (Image:

La Calera street festival

There'll be a street festival in the La Calera area of Valle Gran Rey this afternoon, Saturday March 18th 2017, with street entertainment, food and drink, etc. Live music starts at 5 pm and all are welcome to discover the little lanes of Valle Gran Rey's historic centre behind the town hall.

Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's Day orange tree

Typical Irish... orange tree in La Gomera. Well, it has green leaves, white flowers, and orange fruit.
...and there'll be a bit of fun and music in the Bodegita del Medio at the 'baby beach' (Charco del Conde) to mark the occasion tonight, I've been told.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Trapped on freezing Teide

Mount Teide seen from La Gomera recently
More than 100 people had to spend last night in freezing temperatures at about 11.000 feet near the top of Spain's s highest mountain after the cable car to the top shut itself down at around 2pm yesterday, apparently due to a fault in its safety system. 
All afternoon until nightfall the 35 people in each of the two cabins were rescued first, after firemen, police, park rangers and helicopters had been called in to help with an abseiling system to get the trapped tourists down from the cabins suspended at about 150 feet above the ground.
One by one tourists were lowered to safety during a four hour rescue operation. Each one was placed in a harness and then dropped through the hatch of the cable car. There were no injuries but some of those rescued needed treatment for shock and altitude sickness.
Of the couple of hundred people at the top station who had been waiting to come down many were able to walk down the steep rocky slope to the base station with the help of the emergency services, but many elderly and families with children had to face a very cold night near the top at about 3.500 metres altitude as night was approaching. They were supplied with warm clothing, blankets and food. About fifty members of the emergency services including psychologists stayed with those trapped at the upper cable car station overnight. At first light today the rescue of the 103 adults and 8 children has begun with those able to walk being guided down the mountain, and the remainder being flown out with helicopters.
The reason why the cable car system's emergency stop was triggered automatically is not known yet, and as initial inspections have not revealed any mechanical faults, the company operating the cable car has stated that the cabins had not been in danger at any time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Peek over the peak

Mountain ridge in La Gomera's north-east with Tenerife in the background 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fire quickly extinguished

A minor brushfire was reported in the El Lamero area of San Sebastian de La Gomera at around 7 pm last night. The fire brigade and emergency services arrived quickly on the scene and managed to prevent the flames from spreading. They brought the flames under control despite the difficult conditions with gale force winds gusting over 80 km/h in the area last night. The fire was declared as completely extinguished at around 10 pm.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Wind and wave warnings

It is going to be very windy until about noon on Tuesday, 14th of March 2017. The Spanish meteorological service has issued several warnings of gale force northerly winds gusting to 90 km/h or more, especially on Monday (level 'orange warning). Further warnings have been issued of rough seas with combined swell and wind-driven waves to reach four to five  metres on exposed coastal stretches. Be very cautious on roads, secure that garden furniture, etc., and stay away from exposed areas !

Friday, March 10, 2017

Record temperature but warnings cancelled

During the current episode of Calima weather the concentration of Saharan dust in the air turned out to be a lot lower than had been predicted. It is however still significant, as you can see in the image above which I took around 2 pm today. Consequently the Spanish meteorological service has cancelled all dust load warnings that had been issued for most of the Canary Islands previously. That's the good news.
However, the temperature turned out much higher than had been forecast and a new record was set for the highest March temperature at Tenerife South airport yesterday, where 34,2ºC were recorded in the afternoon. Very high temperatures were reached in La Gomera, too, with La Dama in the south registering 33,1ºC and Hermigua in the north topping that with 33,5ºC. Humidity levels are very low, too, averaging around 20% only. As I write the temperature is already above 32ºC and yesterday's highs may well be surpassed later today.
High up in the mountains of La Gomera temperatures will be a bit lower, but the easterly wind will be stronger up there. Current indications are that the calima will gradually ease from Saturday evening bringing lower temperatures.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Warning of calima for a few days

The dust load forecast for Friday evening by the Barcelona Dust Forecast Centre of the Spanish met. service

The present light calima conditions are expected to worsen and a much heavier dust load in the air is expected as winds from the Sahara in the east will freshen. The already summer-like temperature is set to increase, particularly in the medium to high altitudes of La Gomera, and could reach 30ºC or even more in places. The fairly high dust concentration is expected to lead to much reduced visibility of only about 3.000 metres generally, and even only 1.000 -2.000 metres at times. A status 'yellow' weather warning of these conditions has been issued by the official Spanish meteorological service for tomorrow, Thursday March 8th 2017, and remains valid until Saturday evening. Friday is expected to be the worst day of this episode of calima conditions.
Current indications are that the dust will gradually clear later on Saturday, with a return to more normal temperatures and fresh to strong north-easterly winds from Sunday. It should remain mostly sunny in the south, and cloudy spells are expected in the north.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Man falls off palm tree he was working on

A young man of 26 years fell off a palm tree in the municipality of Vallehermoso, La Gomera, on Wednesday afternoon. He had fallen from a height of over four metres and suffered several injuries. He was transferred to the nearest health centre by ambulance and is said to be recovering well.
The accident happened as the man was working on the palm tree, presumably for the purpose of preparing it for the extraction of 'guarapo' which forms the base for local speciality food miel de palma (palm honey). The area above of the western village of Alojera where the incident occurred is renowned for its palm groves and several producers of palm honey are based in the area. 
Next time you enjoy the sweet delicacy bear in mind the hard work it takes to produce it.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

More details of dramatic rescue

The rescued  thanking their rescuers (Image:
More details have emerged of the dramatic rescue in the EL Rejo valley (see previous post). The two ladies are actually 23 years old and both are students from mainland Spain living in Tenerife. The had followed GPS instructions on their mobile phones when in the upper region of the El Rejo valley thinking their phones were showing them a shortcut to the main road through the valley after they had left the hiking path and became lost. One of them then slid about 20 metres down a steep incline and just managed to cling onto the branches of a tree above a vertical drop of 150 metres. The other girl tried to help her friend but ended up in a similar position above the gorge, also clinging to a tree. 
They had already called the emergency services on 112 at around 5 pm saying that they had left the path through the valley and were lost. They then tried to get to the main road before dark using the GPS service on their phones which subsequently lead them into their precarious trap. It was night by then and weather conditions were said to be adverse with high humidity and cold gusty winds, and they were beginning to suffer from exposure. 
A police helicopter from Tenerife set down three specially trained agents of the mountain police unit in the area in the early hours of the morning in 'very difficult conditions' who finally managed to locate the victims still clinging to the branches of trees above the gorge at around 04:20 am. At first light the rescuers began the laborious task of bringing the two ladies down the vertical drop of 150 metres to the bottom of the ravine in several stages with the aid of ropes and harnesses and from there a provisional path had been prepared to bring them to the waiting ambulance on the road where they arrived shaken but uninjured later that morning. Yesterday they visited the police headquarters in Santa Cruz de Tenerife to thank their rescuers.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Trapped hikers rescued with difficulty

Part of the El Rejo valley (Archive)
Two young tourists were brought to safety unharmed yesterday morning after an extended and difficult rescue operation in the northern fringes of La Gomera's national park. The two 22 year old ladies had become lost in the 'El Rejo' valley in the municipality of Hermigua the previous night at dusk and subsequently fell or slid down the mountainside into a position from where they couldn't find a way out. Luckily the remote location has mobile phone cover and they could call for help. The emergency services arrived and managed to locate the trapped hikers, but found they couldn't reach the victims due to the rough and dangerous terrain and lack of light. The stuck girls had to spend the night in their uncomfortable position, but food, etc., was dropped to them and mobile phone communication was maintained at all times. A special mountain unit of the Spanish police was sent from Tenerife and with the help of the local services as well as the national park's forestry department a provisional path had to be constructed to reach the stricken hikers at first light yesterday, and finally the laborious task of bringing them to safety succeeded.  The two victims were said to be unharmed but shaken by their ordeal.