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Friday, October 20, 2017

Car ferry in Valle Gran Rey

First of all let me apologise for not having posted any updates this week, but the storm resulting from hurricane Ophelia which hit Ireland on Monday left me without broadband internet until this morning. There's another storm named Brian arriving here later today, so I might lose the internet again as all the infrastructure has been weakened by the previous blow...
The big news on La Gomera is that the first ever regular car ferry arrived in Valle Gran Rey yesterday and was open to the public. There were cheers and applause from the local population who'll now be able to bring their cars to Tenerife and back without driving through the mountains and the national park.
The connection will now be served initially by the large high speed catamaran HSC Alboran and not the HSC Volcan de Teno as previously reported. The later vessel is still in Cadiz and rumour has it that this is being held by the Spanish security forces for a possible takeover of Catalonia. They've even commissioned cruise ships...
Anyway the car ferry Alboran, owned and operated by Naviera Armas will now connect Valle Gran Rey with Los Cristianos in about 90 minutes and can be booked on the Armas website and services are to begin from this weekend. More details and to follow soon, if I have got broadband. Here some images from yesterday's presentation of the service (courtesy of Vino Tinto shop in Vueltas). I'm hoping to travel on it soon and also on the new passenger ferry Benchi Express with special posts on this blog to follow...

Friday, October 13, 2017

New ferry connection ''in a few days''

Well, you still can't book the new Naviera Armas car ferry connection from Tenerife to Valle Gran Rey, but the recent post on the company's Facebook page (below) states ''In a few days we start !!!! Valle Gran Rey, welcome to our route network''. However, as of this morning the vessel is still in Cadiz. Hurry up, I want to book...
Ferry Valle Gran Rey poniéndose “guapo”.
En unos dias, comenzamos!!!!!
Valle Gran Rey, bienvenidos a nuestra red de rutas.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Fast car ferry to connect Valle Gran Rey with Tenerife

The wave-piercing fast catamaran HSC Volcan de Teno which will connect Valle Gran Rey (Image: Naviera Armas)

The shipping company Naviera Armas has announced that it will introduce a new ferry service between Los Cristianos on Tenerife and Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera. The direct service between the two ports will be served by their high speed catamaran Volcan de Teno with a top speed of 38 knots (about 70 km/h ) and a capacity of more than 900 passengers and up to 290 vehicles on the cargo deck. It is not clear yet whether this service will also connect neighbouring El Hierro island after stopping in Valle Gran Rey, but this would make economic sense.
The service is to begin in the middle of next month (October 15th, 2017) according to local press reports. The super fast catamaran (HSC) was built in 2000 by Incat in Tasmania and was acquired by Armas last year. The company has just announced the new service through their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but as yet there's nothing on their official booking website.
The Canarian Naviera Armas shipping company has also placed an order worth 74 million Euros for a much larger wave-piercing HSC with the same shipyard and this vessel is currently under construction.
After the recent introduction of the new Fred. Olsen vessel Benchi Express which will serve the 'interior ferry line' of La Gomera this is further very welcome news as it will now offer direct cargo services to Valle Gran Rey which in turn should ease traffic congestion in the national park considerably.
I'll keep you informed when more details emerge, and I'm hoping to be one of the first passengers on the new service...
+UPDATE:
It has now emerged that the new car ferry high speed service will not connect with the island of El Hierro, but will exclusively serve the connection between Los Cristianos on Tenerife and La Gomera, and will connect La Gomera's south-western port of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey for the first time regularly with a car ferry. Naviera Armas have also stated that their existing ferry service served by their slower vessel 'Volcan de Taburiente' which also connects the island of La Palma with San Sebastian de La Gomera and Los Cristianos will continue on that route. El Hierro will continue to be served from Los Cristianos seperately by another Armas vessel.
Wow, for more than five years there wasn't any ferry service to Valle Gran Rey and now there shall be two! Just at the right time, too, because there are major road works with traffic delays being undertaken near Arure on the only road into VGR.
More details on the new car ferry service soon...
Part of the interior of 'Volcan de Teno' (Image: ferrybalear)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Festival 'Atlantico Sonoro' 2017

The 13th edition of the festival 'Atlantico Sonoro' is taking place in the town of Vallehermoso on La Gomera this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22nd and 23rd 2017
On Friday the Festival begins in the town square with a dance and acrobatics spectacle at 9 pm, followed by live music. On Saturday  from 11am there will be a wide range of demonstrations and workshops of alternative therapies, massage, yoga, music, percussion, dance and much more. At night there will be a concert from 10 pm  with two live bands. All the events are free of charge. More details here: www.atlanticosonoro.com

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Minor earthquake close to La Gomera

EventoFechaHora GMTHora Local
(*)
LatitudLongitudProfundidad
(km)
MagnitudTipo Mag.
Int. max.
Localizacion
es2017ldmmo17/09/201720:49:0321:49:0328.1755-17.11682.0 mbLg   E AGULO.IGM
A minor earth tremor of 2.0 on the Richter scale occurred at a depth of nine kilometres close to La Gomera's north-eastern coast at around 9 pm on Sunday night, Sept. 17th 2017.
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.

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 was registered by the seismic station situated in the mountains above the town of Agulo with an epicentre so close to La Gomera.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Another sad anniversary on September 11th

The monument close to Los Roques on La Gomera island with trees burnt in 2012 in the background

The whole world now remembers 9/11, but on La Gomera the date is remembered for another very sad incident which happened in 1984. On the 11th of September 33 years ago twenty people died in a forest fire near Roque Agando, a landmark rock formation in La Gomera's mountains above the village of La Laja where a forest fire had broken out. The spot is on an exposed ridge and the victims were trapped there when the wind suddenly changed direction enclosing them in fire and intense heat. Among the victims were local volunteer firefighters and some people from Tenerife, including a former mayor of Puerto de la Cruz. The tragedy is one of the worst fire-related disasters in all of Spain ever and a sad-looking rusty steel monument near the spot lists all 20 names of the victims. The area around Roque Agando which stands at the eastern end of the national park was ablaze again  during the devastating fire of 2012, but thankfully there were no casualties in that major fire.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Welcome aboard the new ferry

Images from yesterday's presentation of the new Benchi Express ferry  in Valle Gran Rey.(Exclusive images courtesy of VINO TINTO)

The half-open upper deck can accommodate 100 passengers
The lower passenger deck seats 150 passengers. There's food on the counter of the cafeteria on right...
Today, Sunday, September 10th 2017, the vessel can be viewed again by the public as follows:
San Sebastián:          from 09:00 to 11:00
Playa de Santiago:    from 12:00 to 15:00
Valle Gran Rey:         from 16:00 to 19:00
The president of the government of the Canary Islands speaking at the official presentation of the new vessel and the interior ferry line in the new port terminal of Valle Gran Rey in Vueltas yesterday. (This image: gomeranoticias.com)

Saturday, September 09, 2017

New ferry arrives in Valle Gran Rey


The moment of arrival of the new Benchi Express ferry in Valle Gran Rey a short while ago...

...where she has tied-up at her newly-installed floating berth in Vueltas for the first time, ready for the official presentation ceremony to follow. (Exclusive images courtesy of VINO TINTO)

Friday, September 08, 2017

New ferry to begin service next week. Presentation to go ahead in VGR this Saturday. Revised viewing times

The damage to the new Benchi Express vessel reported yesterday has now been repaired in record time with the help of specialists from the Catalan shipyard that built the ferry. The Fred. Olsen ferry line has announced that the vessel will begin scheduled services on the interior ferry line between San Sebastion de La Gomera, Playa de Santiago, and Valle Gran Rey from the middle of next week and tickets are on sale now.
The introduction ceremony for the purpose-built ferry in Valle Gran Rey will now go ahead as planned on Saturday.
The viewing times when the vessel will be open to the public have however been changed again and the vessel will now open its doors (and hatches, I suppose) on Sunday, September 10th 2017 as follows:
San Sebastián:          from 09:00 to 11:00
Playa de Santiago:    from 12:00 to 15:00
Valle Gran Rey:         from 16:00 to 19:00

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Damage to new ferry delays schedule

The new Benchi Express ferry which was to begin regular service from the 10th of September 2017 sustained 'minor damage to the hull' during berthing trials in the port of San Sebastian de La Gomera last night.
The Fred. Olsen ferry company has stated that this will delay the begin of scheduled services, and the presentation of the new vessel in the other two ports it will serve, by 'several days, maximum one week' until repairs have been carried out. 
The new vessel will however be open to the public in the port of San Sebastian over the weekend at the times and dates indicated in the image above.
I will keep you informed on this blog...
+UPDATE:
The damage to the new Benchi Express vessel reported yesterday has now been repaired with the help of specialists from the shipyard that built the ferry. The Fred. Olsen ferry line has announced that the vessel will begin scheduled services on the interior ferry line between San Sebastion de La Gomer, Playa de Santiago, and Valle Gran Rey from the middle of next week and tickets are on sale now.
The introduction ceremony for the purpose-built ferry in Valle Gran Rey will now go ahead as planned on Saturday.
The viewing times when the vessel will be open to the public have however been changed again and the vessel will now open its doors (and hatches, I suppose) on Sunday, September 10th 2017 as follows:
San Sebastián:          from 09:00 to 11:00
Playa de Santiago:    from 12:00 to 15:00
Valle Gran Rey:         from 16:00 to 19:00

NEW FERRY ARRIVED IN LA GOMERA - OPEN TO PUBLIC

The new ferry just off San Sebastian de La Gomera with Tenerife in the background (Image: eltambor.es)
After several stopovers in other Canary Islands ports the brand new Benchi Express ferry joining the fleet of the Fred. Olsen Express ferry company has finally arrived in La Gomera and will begin to service the island's interior ferry route from Sunday, Sept. 10th 2017, connecting La Gomera's ports of San Sebastian, Playa de Santiago, and Valle Gran Rey.

Prior to commencing the service the ferry will be introduced and open all its doors to the public free of charge as follows:

Today, Thursday 7 th of Sept.:
in San Sebastián from 11:30h to 12:30h, in  Playa de Santiago from 14:30h to 16:00h, in Valle Gran Rey from 18:00h to 19:30h
Friday 8th de Sept: Valle Gran Rey 11:00h to 13:15h,  Playa de Santiago 16:00h to 17:30h, and in San Sebastián 18:00h to 19:30h
Sunday 10th of Sept.: San Sebastián 09:00h a 10:00h / Playa de Santiago 12:55h a 14:00, and in Valle Gran Rey 14:40h a 16:30h
On Saturday there will be an official ceremony of presentation and introduction of the vessel with many important Canary dignitaries present, which is open to the public and will take place in the harbour of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey, the new vessel's home port.
Reduced ticket prices when booking the new service from/to Los Cristianos on Tenerife:
You can now book tickets from Los Cristianos through to Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey and vice versa at a much reduced rate on the Fred. Olsen website. Before selecting the main journey between Tenerife and La Gomera, which will give you times and prices, click on one of the two blue bars below that (one for Playa de Santiago, the other for Valle Gran Rey), and new times and prices for the combination of the two ferry trips will appear. This will give you the combined journey at a bargain price.
+UPDATE:
Damage to new ferry delays schedule
The new Benchi Express ferry which was to begin regular service from the 10th of September 2017 sustained 'minor damage to the hull' during berthing trials in the port of San Sebastian de La Gomera earlier today 'due to strong winds'.
The Fred. Olsen ferry company has stated that this will delay the begin of scheduled services, and the presentation of the new vessel in the other two ports it will serve, by 'several days, maximum one week' until repairs have been carried out. 
The new vessel will however be open to the public in the port of San Sebastian over the weekend
++UPDATE 2:
The damage to the new Benchi Express vessel reported yesterday has now been repaired with the help of specialists from the shipyard that built the ferry. The Fred. Olsen ferry line has announced that the vessel will begin scheduled services on the interior ferry line between San Sebastion de La Gomer, Playa de Santiago, and Valle Gran Rey from the middle of next week and tickets are on sale now.
The introduction ceremony for the purpose-built ferry in Valle Gran Rey will now go ahead as planned on Saturday.
The viewing times when the vessel will be open to the public have however been changed again and the vessel will now open its doors (and hatches, I suppose) on Sunday, September 10th 2017 as follows:
San Sebastián:          from 09:00 to 11:00
Playa de Santiago:    from 12:00 to 15:00
Valle Gran Rey:         from 16:00 to 19:00
The new vessel's wheelhouse with skipper 'Mel' Garcia Bethencourth (Image source: puentedemando.com)