The Dragon Tree Viewpoint

July 15, 2018

  There’s a rather nice viewpoint in Puntagorda, on the main road at km 78. Its most obvious attraction is the dragon tree, leaning much further over than the tower at Pisa. > But when I was last there, I was charmed by a tame red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax barbarus. They’re relatives of rooks and crows, but this particular sub-species only lives on La Palma where they’re called grajas. They’re…

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Canary Day

May 30, 2018

Today, Wedesday, is Canary Day. It’s a big thing here, and the celebrations have started already. Yesterday most schools had a party for the second half of the morning. Most shops will be shut, except in tourist areas. Expect to see lots of traditional food like gofio and wrinkly pototes, traditional folk music and Canarian sports, like the Shepherd’s Leap.

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Piscinas La Fajana, Barlovento

August 29, 2015

Fancy swimming in sea-water without the waves? These are some rather nice salt-water swimming pools at Fajana, five km outside the village of Barlovento, on the main road to Santa Cruz. At one time they were only the natural pools, but they’ve been improved rather nicely. There’s a pool near the top for senior citizens and the disabled, but the best places are reached down two flights of steps. They…

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The Santa Maria

Concrete replica of Columbus’s Santa Maria in Santa Cruz de la Palma
April 11, 2015

Back when I worked for the observatory, we ocassionally gave visiting astronomers a lift up to the mountaintop. I always enjoyed detouring past the replica of Christopher Columbus’s ship, the Santa Maria, partly to see the visitor’s reaction. Astronomer: “What on earth is that!?” Me: It’s a concrete ship in the middle of the road. What’s it look like?” Astronomer: “Concrete!?” One astronomer even begged us to stop, so that…

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Where the Heck is La Palma Anyway?

I originally came to La Palma to work at the astronomical observatory here. Almost as soon as I heard I’d got the job, my parents went to a travel agent to find out how much it would cost to visit. The girl at the desk said, “Las Palmas de Gran Canaris? Certainly Sir. I’ll just look it up for you.” “No,” explained my father. “The island of La Palma. My…

January 16, 2015
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The Canaries win Tournament: Earth 2014

This year’s winning photo in NASA’s Tournament: Earth is the Canary Islands again. This time all seven of them. This photo was taken by NASA’s Terra satellite on June 15, 2013. The prevailing wind and current here comes from the north east. Downwind and downstream from each island, you can see a few wisps of cloud, and long shiny areas of sea. “According to sailors’ guides to the area, winds…

April 8, 2014
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