Friday, May 31, 2013

La Gomera a location for Ron Howard's new film 'In The Heart Of The Sea' (+Updates)

Oscar winning Hollywood film producer and director Ron Howard has been spotted location scouting on La Gomera last week. Apparently he was looking for possible locations for his new film 'Heart of the Sea'.
'' decribes the film as follows: 'Warner Bros' In The Heart Of The Sea is the long-gestating seafaring adventure helmed by Ron Howard from a script by Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond). Chris Hemsworth is starring in the pic adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick’s award-winning book In The Heart Of The Sea: The Tragedy Of The Whaleship Essex, an account of a whaling ship that was stalked and destroyed by a sperm whale in 1820. The tragedy left the crew of the Essex adrift for 90 days in the Pacific during which they turned to cannibalism before eight survivors made it home, an ordeal that partially influenced Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Tom Holland is set to star as Young Nickerson, an eager aspiring whaleman aboard the Nantucket-based ship Essex. Filming will commence this September in London and on location.'
Howard also visited Lanzarote in his search for locations and tweeted the following pictures taken on La Gomera and just off the coast:
Howard wrote: 'This morning's location scout'

Howard tweeted 'Cool wall art - Lago Mera'

According to well-informed sources it now seems almost certain that filming for Ron Howards  'In The Heart Of The Sea' will indeed begin on La Gomera in autumn 2013. The 300-strong cast and crew are expected to stay at a luxury hotel in Playa de Santiago for about two months and scenes at sea will be shot off the south coast. About 100 additional local technicians, tradesmen, catering staff, extras, etc. are expected to be employed as well.
The area in the Atlantic just off the coast between Playa Santiago and Valle Gran Rey where filming is planned is aptly renowned for the very frequent spottings of cetaceans.

Update 2 (Aug.3rd,2013):
Ron Howard was on La Gomera again yesterday and the day before and tweeted the following:

Dinner in La Gomera scouting locations for Heart of the Sea

Meanwhile 'Empire' in its online edition has reported two Irish actors joining the cast:
Brendan Gleeson Boards In The Heart Of The Sea
Ron Howard finds another sailor

04 July 2013  |  Written by James White  |  Source: Variety

Ron Howard is gathering an interesting cast around for his latest project, the adaptation of Nathan Philbrick’s book In The Heart Of The Sea. Brendan Gleeson and Sam Keeley are the latest recruits.
In The Heart Of The Sea follows the harrowing real-life struggle endured by the men aboard Nantucket whaling ship the Essex, which was destroyed by a vengeful sperm whale in 1820.
Stranded in a lifeboat thousands of miles from home, 20 of the surviving crew (the survivors included the captain and first officer) at first planned to make for an isolated tropical island but the idea was rejected because of rumours of flesh-eating savages. The resulting delay in their rescue led to them becoming cannibals to survive.
Gleeson is set to play an older version of one of the crewmembers who did make it through the tragedy, likely framing the story as Herman Melville interviews him for research on Moby Dick. We’d expect him to face some awkward questions about how his crewmates tasted. Keeley, meanwhile, will be one of those facing the rigors of the incident as it happens.
They join Chris Hemsworth, Ben Walker, Cillian Murphy and Tom Holland in the film, set to kick off shooting this coming September in London (and continue in the Canary Islands)
....also see my post Ridley Scott to film in Canary Islands

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Full moon hike on La Gomera

The town of Vallehermoso on La Gomera's north-side  is organising a guided walk at night with the full moon for illumination this Saturday, May 25th, 2013. Participants will meet on the square in Vallehermoso at 8pm and will then be transferred to the mountains in the national park from where the walk will start at 'Pajaritos' (the only roundabout on the main road through the park) at an altitude of about 3500 feet. All are welcome to join.
Full moon walk on La Gomera

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thief traps himself on Gran Canaria

After breaking into a house in the town of Jinamar on Gran Canaria the thief fled the premises with his booty, jumping over a  perimeter wall a few days ago. Tough luck for the man, who hails from the same town: He jumped straight into an empty 10ft deep water tank ! In the fall he he broke his wrist while holding onto the stolen goods, twisted his knee and couldn't get out again. The hapless 46 years old culprit had to spend the night in his self-set trap and was discovered the following morning by workmen who heard his pitiful wailings and calls for help. They then alerted the emergency services to rescue him.
After that night the thief will probably appreciate the comforts of a prison cell...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ryanair magazine features La Gomera

The Ryanair magazine 'Let's Go' ran an article entitled 'Secret Island Escapes' which featured La Gomera recently. I'll quote:

''Battling for beach space need not be an obligatory part of your summer holidays. A bounty of blissfully untouched isles exist throughout the Ryanair network, where the sands are footprint-free, there is never a wait for a seaside table, and a friendly islander is always happy to show you around.


Formed by the circular Garajonay volcano, La Gomera has gone under-explored by the millions who holiday on the Canaries each year. Dense jungle crowds the inner valleys, while sweeps of desert and palm-dotted beaches make up its outer rim, meaning plenty to draw the curious visitor over from Tenerife, 50km west. And while the untouched beauty may entice, what sets this island apart is a unique cultural quirk. Silbo Gomero - one of the world's last whistling languages - was introduced here by the Berbers, and over the centuries was adapted by island shepherds who use it to communicate across La Gomera's steep ravines. Make the Hotel Jardín Tecina (doubles from €120,, in the island's seaside capital, San Sebastián de la Gomera, your base, and set off by car to the island's isolated inner villages to hear the lingo first-hand. Have the locals teach you some phrases for a life-lasting souvenir.''
Even if the piece isn't exactly very well researched and probably connected with advertising the hotel mentioned, it does however help to promote La Gomera.The article also featured the islands of Ponza and Favignana (Italy), Kithira (Greece), Koster (Sweden), Muhu (Estonia), Verte (France), Vis (Croatia), and Arran (Scotland).   

Thursday, May 16, 2013


The 5th edition of the popular Valle Luna Festival will definitely go ahead in 2014, according to members of the organising committee. The festival which suffered from a lack of funding for it's 4th edition is now being planned well ahead of the 2014 event and hopes for some form of funding and sponsorship for the 5th annual event are high. The dates for the 5th annual Valle Luna festival in Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera have already been set to allow visitors and artists more time to plan their stay on La Gomera. It will take place in February to include the second and the third weekend in February 2014, making it a 10-day event again. 
Watch this blog for further festival news.
UPDATE Dec. 18th, 2013:
The 5th edition of the Valle Luna Festival is in doubt again, due to new and costly insurance obligations, the lack of volunteers to to the legwork and the indifference of the local town hall. However, it is still hoped to have some form of festivities. Any volunteers and/or sponsors out there ?
UPDATE Jan. 13th, 2014:
The 5th Valle Luna Festival is going ahead, albeit as a minor event. Due to the lack of support and interest by the local administration and the restrictive and demanding new legislation which demands an elaborate emergency plan, security personnel and costly insurance for every event, it will now only be a bar festival. It is up to the restaurants and bars to organise their own events during the period from the second to the third weekend in February. However, it is hoped that even more musicians and artists will turn up this year. Maybe all should get together and protest against this new form of repression…
If the authorities had any sense, they would support this and many more events, because live music is very attractive to tourists and the musicians and other artists themselves already are an important segment of the paying customers. In Ireland the vibrant live music scene has become one of the main attractions besides the landscape and has helped to boost tourist numbers as well as adding quality to the tourism product. 
Artists and their audiences generally spend a lot more than hikers, but even early-rising hikers want to be entertained at least on some nights - but not necessarily by ear-splitting Miami-style pop-salsa until 6am. There's  too much of the latter and too little variety to be found here lately. Every day I get asked by visitors where to find live events and it is embarrassing to have to admit that there is very little, when everyone can see lots of tourists who are musicians walking around with their instruments.
Let's pARTy in February anyway !
See previous post on the live music situation on La Gomera with lots of comments.

Monday, May 13, 2013

La Gomera sunset above the clouds

The photographs below were taken at the 'Mirador de Vallehermoso' a few miles north of the centre of La Gomera yesterday. The elevation is about 2500 feet.
La Gomera boasts lots of these viewing points and platforms that are called 'mirador' and most offer explanatory signage in English, ample parking, recycling bins, and some even are wheelchair accessible. All are well worth a visit, but can sometimes be shrouded in mist.

      Sunset seen from  La Gomera with the two crests of La Palma island showing in the distance (on right)             
Taken from the same viewpoint a couple of hours before as the mist was cascading into the valley. Vallehermoso  town and its water reservoir can be seen and the twin crests of La Palma island appear to be floating on the mist.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fined for fixing prices of excursions to La Gomera

The Spanish national commission for competition has found two Tenerife organisations in breach of competition regulations and imposed considerable fines.
The association of professional tourist guides of Tenerife (APIT) and the provincial travel agents association of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (APAV) were judged to have had price agreements in place for several years. APIT was fined 6000 Euros for the fixing of fees for tourist guides and APAV was fined 40.000 for the same offence. A further fine of 400.000 Euros was imposed on APAV for illegal price recommendations to member agencies. All the fines concerned price fixing of organised excursions from Tenerife to La Gomera.
It remains to be seen if prices for day trips from Tenerife to La Gomera will become more competitive following the ruling.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Tenerife sunrise seen from La Gomera

Tenerife sunrise with Gran Canaria seen in the background. Image taken on La Gomera (with mobile) this morning.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Man charged with poisoning of palm trees

A 48 years old man will be formally charged with the poisoning and killing of 21 Canarian palms (Phoenix Canariensis) by the investigating environmental protection unit of the guardia civil police. 
After last year's disastrous fire a number of palm trees were found to have been poisoned with weedkiller (see: Poisoned Palms ) in Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera in the autumn. The accused will have to face charges of drilling large holes into the trunks of 21 palms which were affected by the fires but recovering and then filling the cavities with herbicides. His motives are said to be the use of the land where the protected palm trees were in his way and he probably had hoped that the superficial charring during the fire then would have been blamed for the palms' demise.
An in-depth survey of all the palms in Valle Gran Rey has shown that a total of 121 Phoenix Canariensis showed signs of poisoning.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

First of May - unemployment today

The unemployment rate in the Canary Islands has risen to a frightening 34,27 % of the workforce, according to the most recent figures released by the Spanish central statistics office. This leaves the Canaries the third worst affected region in Spain due to the economic crisis. The unemployment figures are even worse in Extremadura and Andalucia. The latter region tops the statistics with 36,87 %, while the national average for unemployment in Spain stands at 27,16. The figures for the younger segment of the workforce are even much worse. Considering that huge numbers of the unemployed receive very little (if any) aid, it is a wonder that they keep calm and that the state still functions. Especially here on La Gomera the crime rate remains extremely low.
You could help by making sure to spend your holidays (and some money) here in the Canaries !