Ship building in Santa Cruz de La Palma

October 15, 2019

Santa Cruz used to be the third biggest port in the Spanish empire, after Cadiz and Antwerp. So perhaps it’s not surprising that it also used to be quite a big shipyard. Some 90 ships were built there between 1809 and 1948. In fact I was recently told that the chestnut trees weren’t introduced for the chestnuts: they were mostly for the wood, for shipbuilding. One of the biggest was…

Read More >>

Happy Birthday, Teneguia!

The eruption of Teneguía, Fuencaliente, 1971
October 8, 2019

  The oldest rocks on La Palma are 3,000,000 years old, which is very young for geology. But the youngest rocks are just 48 years old, and it’s their birthday this month. The Teneguía volcano erupted during October and November of 1971. My husband was a teenager at the time, and he remembers going to see it from the San Antonio volcano, and he remembers hearing the deep rumbles at…

Read More >>

A Memorial to the Tazacorte Martyrs

The underwater memorial to the Tazacorte martyrs off the coast of Tazacorte, La Palma. Photo: Christian Carlos Tdo. Rguez
July 11, 2019

The Tazacote martytrs have an unusual memorial – 18m underwater at Malpique, the site where they drowned. There are 40 crosses, one for each of the victims. The memorial was created in 2000, and I’m told that it’s easy to visit even for novice divers. The photo was taken by Christian Carlos Tdo. Rguez who is a local diving instructor and ecologist.

Read More >>

Water filters

February 15, 2019

Some of the older houses still use these water filters and coolers in summer. You put the water into the bowl at the top, made of a porous stone (I think it’s volcanic tuff). The water filters through, and drips into the bottom bowl, which isn’t porous. Obviously this filters out any impurities, and because some of the water evaporates, the rest cools down. The stand for the wooden bowls…

Read More >>

Local history: The Tazacorte Martyrs

Tazacorte martyrs: The martyrs go to heaven
March 2, 2018

In 1570, a party of Jesuit missionaries were on their way from Portugal to Brazil. They broke their journey in Puerto de Tazacorte. It was an unplanned stop: they’d been heading for Santa Cruz de la Palma, but the winds were against them. On arrival in Tazacorte, Fr. Acevedo was amazed to find that the owner of the estate was an old friend from Oporto, don Melchor de Monteverde y…

Read More >>

Water Mines on La Palma

January 19, 2018

Although La Palma has more water than the other Canary Islands, many farmers used to be desperately poor and frequently hungry. The only water for irrigation was rainwater, and obviously they had no control over how much they got. Then somebody suggested digging into the hillside to find water. (If anybody knows who, please tell me.) The idea is that much of the rainwater seeps into the ground, and runs…

Read More >>