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Roque Teneguía and a line on the sea

A line on the sea

La Palma sits in the trade winds. Most days of the year we have a stiff breeze from the northwest. That creates most of the island’s climate: the wind hits the island at Barlovento (which means “windward”) and gets flows uphill. As it rises, it cools down and forms clouds. Sometimes it rains, and Barlovento is the wettest part of the island with a metre of rain per year. By…

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Close up of the root of Rabbit's foot fern, Davallia canariensis

Rabbit’s foot fern

This is the Rabbit’s Foot Fern Davallia canariensis, which likes to grow in the warmer and damper parts of the island. It particularly likes dry stone walls, barrel-tile roofs and cliffs. As you can see, the name comes from the root, which is very pretty. I believe that the Awara used to make gofio from it, and so did more modern Palmerans when there was nothing better available, although I’m…

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Footpaths on La Palma

La Palma has a network of well-marked footpaths, most of which are centuries old.  As late as the 1960s, walking was still a major form of transport for the islanders, The whole network of hiking trails on the island comes to over 1,000 km, and between them they pass through just about every kind of scenery on the island: lava fields, pine forests, lush laurel forests, farmland and village centres….

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Belmaco Cave, the Royal Palace in Mazo

  Before the Spanish invasion, Belmaco Cave was the home of the kings of Mazo. The first rock carvings were found in the 18th century, which was the start of archaeology in the Canary Islands. Today, it’s open to the public. The entrance is on the other side of the road. A little farther inside, there’s a small, two-story building housing various artefacts, like shell spoons and bone punches, and…

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Tobacco in La Palma

I don’t smoke, so everything I know about Palmeran cigars is from hearsay. But they seem to have a very good reputation. Certainly Winston Churchill was known to be a fan, and certainly they get shipped off to the Spanish royal family. Most of the tobacco farms on the island are in Santa Cruz, Breña Baja, and especially Breña Alta. Typically, the crop is grown in tiny fields and given…

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