Thursday, January 31, 2019

Closer but insignificant quake off north coast

Just a few days after the locally felt tremor off the north-western coast of La Gomera another seismic tremor averaging just 1,6 (with a peak value of 2,2 mbLg at GOM station) on the Richter scale was registered less than 25 hours ago a short distance off La Gomera's north-north-eastern coast in a depth of 15.2  kms. Quakes of such a minor strenght are inappreciable and happen frequently in and around the Canary Islands, but are rare near La Gomera's coastline. Read more...

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Film castings in La Gomera again

La Gomera's island government through their La Gomera Film Commission has announced castings for extras and secondary actresses for the shooting of a Neflix series here in spring. The first casting will take place in the visitors centre near the beach in the island's capital on the 4th of February 2019 and the following day in the tourist office in La Playa, Valle Gran Rey. See poster above for the times. They're looking for women of all ages over 18 and for girls  between 8 and 12 years old. All applicants must bring copies of their Spanish DNI, or their foreigners registration number (NIE), their social security number and a document showing that they have a bank account. Selected budding film stars will be paid and the work which is handled here by Sur-Film is insured. More information can be had by contacting above email address. 
This time males need not apply. The above image was taken during the casting for Ron Howard's 'In The Heart Of The Sea' in 2013 when I was very lucky to get a lot of work as a double.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The beer ship is back

Above: The three-masted 200ft sail training ship Alexander von Humboldt II, sometimes nicknamed 'the beer ship', heading for Vueltas, the harbour of Valle Gran Rey, at about 8:30 am this morning. Read more about the vessel...

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Fred Olsen now offering service to Spanish mainland

The Fred. Olsen ferry company is now connecting the Canary Islands with Huelva on the Spanish mainland in competition with FRS-Iberica which sail the same route, previously operated by Naviera Armas ferries and still listed in their schedule. Queenie's Tenerife blog has more:
''Fred Olsen Express has launched a new triangular route to mainland Spain, with the collaboration of the Baleària shipping company and now links the port of Huelva with the two main ports of the Canary Islands, Puerto de la Luz on Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
This new route will be operated aboard the ship ‘Martín i Soler’, owned by Baleària. The ship is to depart the Puerto de la Luz, in Las Palmas, every Tuesday and Sunday, at 12 noon and will take 44 hours to reach its final destination the Andalusian port of Huelva, after a 4-hour stopover in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
The ship will set sail from the Peninsula on Fridays at 8:00p.m. and head to Gran Canaria where it will have a four-hour stopover then return to its moorings in Tenerife.
The route will offer various services including a restaurant, bar, shop, internet connection, outdoor areas, a children’s area and a pool as well as cabins and various seating options either tourist or superior.''

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Minor earthquake felt in La Gomera

The red star (left) shows the epicentre of the minor earth tremor
A minor earth tremor averaging 2.8 on the Richter scale occurred at a depth of only eight kilometres in the Atlantic very close to La Gomera's west-north-western coast at around 11:10 pm late Tuesday night, January 22nd 2019
This is nothing to worry about, as La Gomera's former volcanoes are long extinct and the island has not experienced any volcanic activity for far more than a million years, being one of the oldest islands in the Canaries. La Gomera existed long before the volcanically very active neighbouring island of El Hierro was even born. However, the abundant seismic activity in and around the Canary Islands rarely comes as close and in such shallow depth as Tuesday night's minor earth tremor.
Generally volcanic activity in the Canaries is of a 'mild nature', but magma movements deep under and around the Canary Islands cause regular tremors. It is however a rare occurrence that such a quake is registered by the seismic station situated in the mountains of the national park with an epicentre so close to La Gomera, and last night's tremors were felt by the population in La Gomera's sparsely populated west and north, see the pointers in the map above, which the show locations of verified reports published by the Spanish National Geographic Institute (IGN). This quake also registered at all seismic stations in neighbouring islands, with the peak value 3.9 having been recorded at the station in La Gomera (EGOM)  a few seconds before 23:10h, at the start of the tremor.
The last minor quake recorded close to La Gomera was recorded in September 2017, see previous post...
EventoFechaHora UTCHora Local
MagnitudTipo Mag.
Int. max.
es2019apdcj22/01/201923:09:4723:09:4728.2262-17.50792.8 mbLg 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Meet my neighbour

There's kestrels nesting near where I live in Valle Gran Rey and the other day one of them took a break on my power line just a few feet away from me to let me snap him while keeping a watchful eye on me. At night a huge owl sometimes perches on the same power line.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Wave of bicycle thefts

There's been a spate of bicycle thefts in Valle Gran Rey in recent times. Last weekend the robbers were at it again. The above picture shows what was left of our bicycle on Saturday morning. Both wheels were gone as were the handlebars with all brake and gear levers. The frame remained locked to a lamp post in an area which is normally considered safe. To add insult to injury, the bike had been serviced by a local bike store with new tyre fitted just a few days before. When reporting the crime to the Spanish police (Guardia Civil in La Playa) we met a cycling enthusiast who had brought his own bike on the plane with him for his holidays in La Gomera, only to have it brazenly stolen from outside a bar in La Playa where he had spent only a short time inside on Friday night. The complete bike was taken while there were lots of people in the busy lane where it happened and the bike was locked securely, or so he thought. There have been several more reports of bicycles either completely vanishing or of valuable parts being stolen from them in recent times.
While La Gomera is still relatively free of crime and nearly all its inhabitants are very honest and trustworthy, the above incidents are a worrying trend. However, La Gomera is a relatively small island and sooner or later the perpetrators will be caught and brought to justice. The times of only a few years ago when hardly anybody bothered to lock their bicycles and when a bike disappeared it had just been 'borrowed' by someone a bit too lazy to walk from pub A to pub B where it was found intact the following morning, seem to be gone though.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Earthquake felt in Tenerife and Gran Canaria

The red star shows the epicentre and the pointers indicate locations where the quake was reportedly felt
A 4.2 magnitude earthquake was felt his morning at 6.36am according to the Spanish National Geographic Institute (IGN). The institute's stations spread across the Canaries registered a seismic movement with its epicentre located in the Atlantic between the islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife, at a depth of 14.3 kilometres.
The tremors which lasted about one minute were felt in several municipalities of both islands and some people there were woken up by the quake. According the National Geographic Institute’s records, the earthquake reached a peak magnitude of 4.6 within a few seconds of starting. Another three very minor quakes were detected in the same area at between 1.7 and 1.9 magnitude before the stronger one. There were no reports of any damage.
The sea area between these two islands experiences minor earthquakes very regularly and today's slightly stronger one would still be seen as part of normal seismic activity in this area, so please ignore any alarmist reports that some irresponsible media sources have published (e.g. The Express (UK) ran the sensationalist headline: ''TENERIFE EARTHQUAKE: Atlantic smashed by 4.2 magnitude quake near La Palma volcano''.) Yeah La Palma, where doom to 'smash' us all is supposedly brewing below the surface, had to be mentioned again. Sorry but the only word for that headline, and for the La Palma doomsday scenario hype of a few years ago, is BULLSHIT !

Thursday, January 17, 2019

A welcome return to normal winter weather

Valle Gran Rey at 9 am this morning after a light shower
This winter all of December and the first half of January easterly dry winds with spells of Calima have dominated the weather in The Canary Islands, worsening the general drought. Finally the winds have returned to the more normal northerly directions, clearing the air and bringing some well-scattered light showers today. Even though high pressure is set to continue to dominate our weather, some more light to moderate showers of short duration are expected which will mostly affect northern areas, but the odd one might also fall in the south. This weather pattern is forecast to continue over the coming days. Moderate to fresh northerly winds will bring the temperature down a bit, but there will be good sunny periods, too, especially in the south where the temperature will reach the low twenties in the afternoon. The sea temperature still averages 20-21ºC around La Gomera, so it's not too cold for a swim.

A reminder: Please save water, as even La Gomera's abundant water supply is not an infinite resource and there hasn't been any significant rainfall for more than five years...

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Three concerts of classical music

As part of the 35th edition of the International Music Festival of the Canary Islands three concerts of classical music will be on offer in the Casa de La Cultura near the town hall in La Calera, Valle Gran Rey. All three events (see above) start at 8 pm and tickets at 15 Euros each are available at the door. The first concert by the string quartet 'Quiroga' takes place today, January 16th 2019.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Hiker falls to death

Vueltas harbour seen from  La Merica mountain (Archive)
The emergency services were alerted yesterday afternoon after a hiker had fallen from a cliff on La Merica mountain in Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera. In a difficult operation the body of a female hiker was recovered with the help of a search and rescue helicopter and brought to the harbour of Vueltas. The victim was reported to have fallen from a great height into a ravine with difficult access.  Her male partner was said to have been brought off the mountain by rescue helicopter, too, suffering from shock.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Tobacco to the dependent !

I spotted the above sign in a supermarket in San Sebastian de La Gomera recently. What it says in Spanish is that you you should ask the shop assistant (dependienta) for any tobacco products from the locked display, but that got lost in translation. The German version below the English one is even worse as it literally says ''Please tobacco to the addict, thanks''.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Epiphany fiesta programme 2019

In Spain and some Latin American countries, the 6th of January is called El Día de los Reyes (The Day of the Kings). It marks the day when the Three Kings or Magi, as related in the second chapter of the gospel of Matthew, arrived to worship and bring their gifts to the baby Jesus after following a star in the sky.  In Spanish tradition on January 6th (Epiphany) the kings  Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar (representing Arabia, the Orient, and Africa) arrived on horse, camel and elephant, bringing respectively gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Children (and many adults) polish and leave their shoes ready for the Kings' presents before they go to bed on the eve of January 6. The next morning presents will appear under their shoes as the kings  take the role of Santa Claus here. Most towns in Spain arrange colorful parades representing the arrival of the Reyes Magos to town a day or two before, so children can see them on their camels or carriages and hand them letters listing their wishes.  Wine, snacks, fruit and milk are left for the Kings and their camels. In Spain, children typically receive presents on this day, rather than on Christmas day, though this tradition has changed a bit in recent years, and children now receive presents on both days.
In Valle Gran Rey the Kings begin their tour in the mountain village of Las Hayas on Jan. 5th at late afternoon and then continue through all the villages and barrios of the valley to collect the letters addressed to them with their wish list.
V.G.R.'s oldest church is in El Guro and dedicated to Los Reyes. Every year the Fiesta de Los Reyes in honour of them takes place there and this year the proceedings begin on Jan. 6th when the 'Ramo' (an elaborate offering of local agricultural produce) is made in the morning at the cultural centre in La Calera, from where the procession to the chapel of Los Reyes starts at midday with the typical dance steps and chants. After arrival there's a mass in the chapel in El Guro followed by folk music and later dancing to the usual salsa bands and general partying until the early hours of the following day. The usual food and drink stalls will have plenty of stock...