About Me

Me, in my friend Patsy's garden
Me, in my friend Patsy’s garden

I came to La Palma with a six-month contract to work at the observatory as a software engineer, and immediately fell in love with the place. Then I fell in love with a tall, dark, handsome Palmeran, who I met in the Isaac Newton Telescope (under the stars, in the heart-shaped island). My six-month stay has lasted twenty-four years so far, and I still feel smug every time I see a plane leaving, because I get to stay. I whole-heartedly recommend the island for a holiday. Browse this website to find out why.

La Palma has amazing night skies. When I got made redundant from my job at the observatory, I retrained as a tour guide, specialising in

My official card as a starlight guide
My card

astronomy, called a Starlight Guide. I mostly show groups around the professional telescopes at the Observatory at the Roque de Los Muchachos, but I also enjoy showing people the other glories of our miniature continent. If you want to treat yourself to a knowledgeable and entertaining guide for a day or half day, email me at sheila@sheilacrosby.com.

 

I started writing fiction at middle school in Leeds and never stopped. So far I’ve published 50 short stories and three books. There’s a non-fiction guide to the astronomical observatory at the Roque de Los Muchachos (A Breathtaking Window on the Universe ), an anthology of children’s stories inspired by La Palma’s starry skies (The Seer’s Stone), and a science fiction anthology (The Dodo Dragon and Other Stories). I’m currently working on a whodunnit set in the observatory. (You can read more about my writing here.)
You can also find me on and Twitter

All this leaves me far too busy for my hobbies of cleaning the house and doing laundry, although I do usually find time to cook. And there’s always time to sit on the balcony with a glass of wine and admire the view, or to chat with my friends, the ravens.

Carmelo the raven on my arm looking at 'The Seer's Stone'
Look Carmelo, I put you in a book!

This article has 23 Comments

  1. Hi there Sheila

    It’s nice to see this site in English. My father is a Palmero from Barlovento who moved to Australia 40 years ago. Where are you from? I’ve managed to get to the islands three times in my life and I really love the place.

    Regards

    Abel

  2. I’m originally from Leeds in the north of England, but these days I’m a Palmeran remould.

  3. Hi We are coming to La Palma between Xmas and new Years and looking for some astronomy tourism, can you help in this? Ive been studying astronomy for the last 2 years at UCL so this would be really exciting to see some dark skies.

  4. Hi Phil,

    even though our website is only in German, translate.google.com will help, you are most welcome!

    Hi Sheila, your website is beautiful, best regards from Rinpoche!

  5. Hi Sheila,
    I am planning to come to La Palma to do some astrophotography, and would like to set everything up within the grounds of our holiday villa, rather then drive to the miradors. I am having trouble locating properties that are reliably above the clouds (I think about 1500 metres elevation ) and only found one which is booked in for the next year ! Can you suggest some accommodation that is above the clouds ? Many Thanks.

    Kind Regards

    Andrew

  6. Hi Sheila:
    We are a husband and wife, we are both Canadian (my husband is German, he speaks fluent German, I am of English, Welch decent,) I do speak some Spanish. We have a ranch in the Monashee Mountain Range of Western Canada, we are planning a trip to the Canary Islands, La Palma is on our list of a possible future retirement home. We have been looking at the homes for sale on the internet, but feel it is best to look at them while we are there before we proceed to purchase. When we arrive into La Palma we would like to have a local contact with a person such as yourself that is living on La Palma to get as much information about the Island and areas of the Island.

    Would it be possible to meet with you when we arrive?
    I have tried to find an expat blog on La Palma with people that speak English, the only site I have found is all German Speaking, I have written in English to that site, the moderator replied saying someone will talk to me about La Palma but so far I have never had anyone answer me.
    Our oldest son and his wife will also be coming to La Palma hoping to find a retirement home.
    Also, I have a small French Bulldog (our sweet little baby) that I will be bringing, do you know if the planes from Tenerife will take her inside the cabin?
    I hope to hear from you soon
    Sheri Schroeder

  7. Hi Sheila

    We have been to La Palma several times and love it. Last time was about 4 years ago so another visit is long overdue! We went to El Hierro last winder and loved it there too.

    We are thinking of staying in Puerto de Tazacorte next time but was wondering if the strange open air swimming pool has been refurbished or re-developed yet? I always thought it a shame as it spoiled the area.

    Grateful for any info.

    Lorraine

  8. I haven’t been to Tazacorte for quite some time, but they’d made a start on it. Certainly the UFO-type thing in the middle has been removed. I’ll ask around.

  9. My name is Carlos, a native Spanish teacher (with QTS and a Degree in English Language) I live in Villa de Mazo. I have tons of experience teaching Spanish. I lived in London for 6 months and I’d like to boost my English skills (I want to come back to the UK some day) Besides, I teach English here in Spain and want to be a better teacher everyday. We could have a chat over a coffee. What about 30 mins in English and 30 in Spanish? If you are not interested in this language exchange, please tell anyone who might be.

  10. Were a number of volunteers along with beginning a new plan in your group. Your blog provided us with worthwhile facts for you to works of art about. You’ve performed an impressive procedure and also all of our overall class will likely be happy for you.

  11. Dear Sheila,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Spain, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,
    Joyce

  12. Hello sheila
    We will be in la palma soon, so was looking at internet posts about the island and saw the devils dance video you put up. Thats what I call a fiesta! i had a great laugh over the action with the fizzing devil falling over, etc. I have bought some new binoculars for the trip and am looking forward to seeing the heavens above the island and meeting people. Maybe we will meet as we plan to visit the observatory.

    Hubert, from Northumberland.

  13. Hi Sheila,
    Hope you are well – how lucky are you to live on La Palma!

    Way back in 1975 I was a site- tester with ROE and spent 6 months living, mainly, in a hut near Fuente Neuva (just down from Muchachos) and also in a house we all rented in Los Llanos. When up the mountain we had to cart our water from the fuente and all of our supplies were carried on our back or delivered by mule …exciting times. In those days it took us 3 to 4 hours to walk up to the site – and now you can drive all of the way!!

    Having raved about the island for 40 years I am about to share the magic of La Palma with my wife – we arrive at Santa Cruz on 02 November 2015 and will stay on the island for 10 days.

    It would be really great if we could meet up and share stories – and of course buy a book from you!

    I look forward to hearing from you…I have just followed you on Twitter!

    Salud

    Neil

  14. Hi, a great informative website, My wife and I shall be visiting this idyllic place at the end of October this year 2015, Do you know if there are any event on the island in the first week of October? and what is the weather normally like at this time of year?

    Regards
    Keith (Cheshire UK)

  15. Hi Keith,

    Sorry, I’ve been mad busy and I’ve only just seen this.

    I’m a little confused. Are you coming at the end of October or the beginning? Anyway, there’s not much use in me telling you about the first week at this stage. I don’t know of any particularly good fiestas in October.

    In October, and for most of the year, the weather depends on where you are on the island. So far, October has been wetter than usual (at least it’s fairly
    warm rain!). If youy have a hire car or you’re near a bus line, you can usually get out of the rain by heading towards the south and west of the island. We just had a big depresion roll in fromt he Atlantic,a nd it was raining everywhere on the island, but I thnk that’s pretty much over now. You might be able to get your beach towel out in Tazacorte or Puerto Naos now.

    You might like to check out the tourist board’s website: http://www.visitlapalma.es/en/

  16. Dear Sheila,

    So lovely to hear your story of how you came for a while, but ended up making your life on the island. Love the picture of you and Carmelo the bird (raven?). My little boy Freddie (only 6) is DYING to meet you because he wants to know all about the stars and telescopes, on one of your tours. I’m bringing my family to live in La Palma for a year (arriving August), might I ask your non-public email address so I can communicate with you direct? I’m sure you are too busy, but you might know someone who could assist: I need advice about primary schools, a family house to rent and so on and you might be able to suggest someone from the Isaac Newton group – or elsewhere – who might help. Thanks so much. Looking forward to meeting you – and Carmelo…

  17. Dear Sheila

    I am visiting La Palma next year in january . I am intending to travel by public bus . But I cannot find a map of the different routes .( I already have the time schedules but no map ).
    Can you help me finding a site with an accurate map of the busroutes .

    Many thanks
    Dorine

  18. Hi Dorine,

    I thought that the bus company had one on their website, but I can’t find it. I’ll ask the bus company. If they can’t help, I might manage a blog post with a map before January.

  19. Hi Sheila,
    We will be visiting La Palma between Xmas and New Year’s this year. We would love to both visit the observatory and also go out (with you? another guide?) with a telescope to observe. Our kids are studying astrophysics and ornithology, so those are two priorities for us when we are there, so suggestions on how to optimize our time there is most welcome!

  20. Book the observatory visit and stargazing in advance at http://astrolapalma.com. I suggest trying to do both towards the beginning of the week, in case bad weather means that either or both needs rescheduling.

    Of course the birds don’t take appointments, but if you visit a variety of habitats, you should see a variety of birds. I recommend carrying some cat food or biscuits around because both ravens and red billed choughs see tourists as a good source of food. And if you eat at Bar Demetrio in Los Tilos forest, you’re almost guaranteed to see Canary chaffinches.

    Enjoy!

  21. Hi Sheila

    I read your post on yoga. This Christmas holiday we will be visiting La Palma. Do you know any good yoga places around the island? Looking forward to our weeks of!

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