Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cruise ship season in full swing

La Gomera is fast becoming a very popular cruise ship destination and this winter season more cruise ships are visiting the island than in previous years. It now regularly happens that two cruise ships are arriving in the harbour of San Sebastian de La Gomera, forcing one to anchor outside the port and having to bring guests ashore by ship's tender. This was the case yesterday when P&O's Aurora was occupying the cruise ship berth on the pier and the Ocean Majesty anchoring just outside the harbour's mouth in glorious weather.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Benchi Express ferry winter timetable

 Benchi Express passenger ferry in the port of San Sebastian de La Gomera
The new passenger ferry which connects the La Gomera ports of Valle Gran Rey, Playa de Santiago and San Sebastian de La Gomera on the so-called  interior line has now become more reliable with three return trips a day and a fixed winter schedule (see below). Sailings are mostly on time, weather permitting. The only gripe is that some sailing don't directly connect with ferries to Tenerife, but the new ferry must firstly serve commuters between the three towns. They do serve good coffee, though, and lots of tourists too are using the service for excursions and exploring and to start or finish loop walks.
The Benchi Express winter schedule

Monday, November 27, 2017

Back to blue skies and drought

The first image shows the sky in Valle Gran Rey at dusk last night and the second was taken this morning. The low which stayed west of the Canary Islands for several days causing alarm and threatened to bring a lot of rain and wind is now dissipating. There were lots of thunderstorms near the islands still last night, but only a few scattered moderate showers came down over the weekend, and the drought continues. The high pressure over North Africa won out and the dry air from it consumed and blocked the moisture-laden air that the Atlantic depression had steered our way. Locals here were not impressed, but some are now depressed as their crops suffer.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Disco floor collapse in Tenerife leaves 22 injured

The collapsed floor seen from below. Image: Tenerife fire brigade (
22 people were injured and treated in hospital when the floor of the Butterfly Disco Pub in the Playa de Las Americas area of Adeje on Tenerife collapsed at about 2:30 am this morning when the place was full of Saturday night revellers.
Among the  injured were locals as well as tourists from France, Belgium, Romania and a 59-year-old British man. Two were seriously hurt, but miraculously no one suffered life-threatening injuries when a 40 square foot section of the disco's concrete floor collapsed under the feet of customers and all fell into the basement below. Police and local authorities are investigating the cause of the incident.
The 40 ft hole from above.  Image: Tenerife fire brigade (

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gloomy sky

The sky just before 8 am this morning. There was a lot of  lightning and some thunder in the early hours. See previous post.

...and this image was taken about 15 minutes later

Friday, November 24, 2017

Severe weather alerts Nov. 25th and 26th 2017

Latest water vapour satellite image.
A vigorous Atlantic depression of about 1000hPa has formed WNW of the Canary Islands and is slowly moving closer, while a large anticyclone is almost stationary over North Africa. The resulting southerly airstream is drawing subtropical and very humid air from near the Cape Verde Islands. Current models and predictions are for heavy showers and at times persistent precipitation to affect the western Canary Islands, including La Gomera, and for gale force southerly winds. Thunderstorms can also be expected as the very active cold fronts associated with the low pressure system clash with the warm subtropical air. The Spanish meteorological service has issued 'yellow' wind and rain warnings for La Gomera and even status 'orange' warnings for the islands of La Palma and El Hierro, all warnings valid from midnight tonight until Sunday night. (see 'Weather' on top sidebar, which I will try to keep updated regularly). An 'orange' rainfall warning for La Gomera has been added for the first half of Sunday, with amounts of up to 30 mm in one hour and 100 mm over the 12 hour period of this additional warning. A 'yellow' warning of thunderstorms for Saturday and Sunday over La Gomera was also just issued. For Tenerife 'yellow' warnings for wind have will be activated for Sat. and Sun. and a 'yellow' rainfall warning just for Sunday.
The whole situation is a bit difficult to predict as the high pressure over North Africa may
ultimately decide who gets what, if anything, in the Canaries. 
Alerta Maxima (click)
But you have been warned...
Rockfalls and landslides can be expected, especially with rain combined with strong winds after the prolonged drought. Roads may also be slippery when the dust dissolves during the first rainfalls. Be extremely cautious and avoid unnecessary journeys, walks, etc....
Update: The government of the Canary Islands has increased the alert level to the highest (Alerta Maxima) for rainfalls on the islands of El Hierro, La Palma, and La Gomera from midnight tonight until further notice. Emergency crews will be on standby and other measures, like the closure of the path from
Valle Gran Rey under the cliff to Argaga, have been taken.
+ UPDATE: Alert cancelation see 'Weather' on sidebar

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Severe drought

Percentage of available water: Less than 10% of La Gomera's average. (Muy seco = very dry)
We're entering the last week of November and the severe drought in the Canary Islands continues. Most water reservoirs and tanks are empty and agriculture is badly affected. Many farmers are desperately waiting for rain to be able to plant crops in the currently barren and parched fields. While the wells that supply drinking water on La Gomera still produce a good volume of water, even the soil in the forest of the national park is too dry for this time of the year. So please use water sparingly, even if it does rain as predicted this weekend (see 'Weather' on sidebar).

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Drive only the hours out !

Timetable at the bus station in San Sebastian de La Gomera. 'Horario Solo Salidas' normally translates as  'Departure Times Only', in case you're wondering.  At least they made the effort, though.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

You'll never row alone

To mark this year's Atlantic Challenge rowing race across the Atlantic which starts from La Gomera in about 22 days' time, an exhibition was opened in the harbour terminal of San Sebastian de La Gomera on Friday. The exhibition will feature works by various artists under the theme 'You'll never row alone - The interior journey II' and is open to the public in the upstairs lounge until January 8th 2018 and is well worth a visit.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Puppet theatre festival

An international puppet theatre festival is starting today in Valle Gran Rey at 4 pm on the Plaza San Pedro in La Playa, where there'll also be a craft fair. Various puppet performances and workshops for young an old will take place and tomorrow, Friday Nov. 17th 2017, the festival will continue in the Cultural Centre in La Calera  from 5 pm. All are welcome and all is free of charge.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Some Irish tunes in Valle Gran Rey

World music group Sarabande, who are on a visit to Valle Gran Rey at the moment, will give a final concert at Gomera Lounge in La Playa, tomorrow night, Thursday 16th Nov. 2017 at  8pm, before they return to Berlin. They do play a few Irish tunes as well as music from around the globe. They also pop up here and there for impromptu street performances (above). Below is a sample of how they sounded in the Gomera Lounge last week:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Roadworks progressing

The widening of the twisty stretch of main road to Valle Gran Rey just before arriving at the first houses of Arure village after leaving the national park, which is had been very narrow and dangerous, is progressing well. The major roadworks are ahead of schedule and the new road section should be finished early next year. However, until then you can expect delays at times during working hours as heavy machinery is at work. If you wanted to avoid this road you could take the minor and even more twisty road through Las Hayas. More...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Further growth for La Gomera's main port

Cruise ship 'Mein Schiff 4' with close to 2800 passengers in the port of San Sebastian de La Gomera yesterday
Latest statistics show further growth in both freight and passenger numbers passing through the port of La Gomera's capital San Sebastian de La Gomera. Freight handling has increased by 11,5% and passenger numbers were 6% more than during the same period last year. It is expected that more than 1,3 million passengers will have passed through the port by the end of 2017. What isn't clear from these figures is whether passengers travelling to and from the island of La Palma are counted or not. They do spend time in the port of La Gomera in large numbers and are included in the docking ferries' passenger numbers, but they don't disembark during the brief stopover.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sensationalism: Accident forces hikers to WALK home tonight, possibly due to NO major minor earthquake !

Buses delayed by the accident having discharged hikers, forcing them to go home the last bit ON FOOT !

Scene of the ''sensational'' car crash a short time ago, which led to delays on the main road into Valle Gran Rey just a while ago. There were NO injuries, but the first car is a hired car whose occupants wanted to adhere to the rules of the hire contract before moving out of the way. ''Where's the cops when you need them'' was the local comment. What caused the accident is still under investigation, but I'm sure the will blame it on the 'swarm' of extremely minor earthquakes on Tenerife soon, just to show how dangerous it is to live or holiday in the Canary Islands and quoting German scientist-cum-doomsayers again (we do get our fair share of them here, too). The printing presses may even erupt from a bullshit overload. The MEGA SENSATIONAL HEADLINE I'd propose: ''Shaken hikers forced to abandon buses  and walk home amid traffic chaos due to breaking, shaking earth - amid traffic chaos in Canaries. Officials in fluorescent vests barely coping while trying to control the fleeing masses' with my image above to prove it.  Anyway, it's all over now...

Thursday, November 09, 2017

New roundabout at Apartacaminos fit for UFOs

The new roundabout at Apartacaminos in La Gomera's national park, where the main road west (GM-2) from the islands capital ends and joins the GM-1 to Valle Gran Rey (left) and Vallehermoso (right). Gone is the old junction with the green traffic island and a new two-lane roundabout has been built. I would have preferred a one-lane roundabout with a green area in the middle, as was built in Pajaritos. Maybe the three road signs in the white traffic island are removable to create the perfect secret landing area for UFOs at night ? Some here swear they've seen them trying to land...

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

New surface on main road in national park

The new surface at Raso de la Bruma in the forest of Garajonay national park on the main road known as GM-2, which is the main connection between the east and the west of La Gomera.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Chipi-chipi rainbow

Looking north...
Last night around sunset time there was this beautiful rainbow over Valle Gran Rey, caused by a bit of chipi-chipi, which is what a soft and light drizzle is called in La Gomera. Everyone here is talking about the severe drought this year and the chipi-chipi is most welcome, even though it barely wet the ground. However, at the weather station near the highest point in the mountains a more generous 6,8 mm of precipitation was recorded yesterday while the rest of La Gomera's official weather stations didn't record any rain.
...and looking south last night

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Valle Gran Rey harbour terminal open

The doors are open as is the Valle Gran Rey office of the Armas ferry  company
The interior of the terminal building in the port of Vueltas, where there are the first public toilet facilities in Valle Gran Rey. Work on the exterior landscaping and car parking has also just begun.