knew before leaving home that La Gomera was no place for swimming.
full length of the reachable coastline in Valle Gran Rey is just about
Not that you could not jump into the water, but a 400 m wide lonely
just for the two of us, like the ones we found on
we would not find here...
But, of course, also here we just had to go hunting for 'a lonely
the port, Vueltas, lies
what is probably the most popular beach for families
and children of all ages, and for others who love sand and a lot
(and dogs?) around. Here the very tall pier covered for the large
but was still open enough to let fresh water in. Yes, it was a sandy
beach, and you did
not suddenly disappear into deep water when you went out there,
so children were happy, and parents relaxed. But sure, those loving
could swim as far as they wanted, too. The beach was big enough
you could dive and look at fish, too. At least when waves were not
or the sea too rough . For then the water got mixed with sand. Fish?
Small, colourful - and bigger, too.
foreign woman (german?) went around offering some interesting tasty
samples, something hot baked-in vegetables (No, you don't need extra
and some other tasty things.
sign told us that further out, around and below a terrifying tall
normally they don't feel that tall, as you soon get pain in your
up at them all the time, so soon you don't see them any longer...
this wall we found another two or three beaches of different accessibility,
but it looked to us as the meditation-centre out there, and its
hippies, too, ruled the area - and also the waves were to big for
us to enjoy it there.
So now there was only the northern part of the coast left.
The lagoon at sunset
of the harbour, you first come to Puntilla,
where you find the two bigger
hotels , Charco de Conde and Hotel Valle Gran Rey. Between those,
you will find a
small lovely bay or lagoon, to use when tide is high. When we saw
this place at first the
tide was low, and there was hardly any water in it. But the sun
and sand made it
a perfect place for parents with babies and small kids.
days later: The day showed up with a fantastic view of large waves,
hammering on the cliffs. We assumed it to be high water, and we
had a short tour
down here to watch the sea. At this time there was surely enough
water in the lagoon.
had to climb out the rocks on the left side, to have a better look
at the huge waves,
shining bright and greenish in the sun. More waves rolled in, each
than the other. So came one sized XL - extra large. "Look at
that one", we said
to each other. "That one is certainly going to nearly hit us!".
Well, it did.
And not just 'nearly'. So we went back home, and put on dry clothes.
high water and quiet sea, this really is a fine beach for children.
days later we passed by, at highwater, the beach was crowded, and
the lagoon full
of children bathing, and grown ups, too. Way out in the middle of
it was no deeper than it reached an adult about the height of his
stomach. And the
barrier outside took off for the waves, and everything was just
nice. At least here...
up the coastline, we passed an area full of pebbles and boulder,
waves came in bigger. So the longest beach, La
Playa it is called. And as you can see
from the picture above, a very nice and sandy beach - at least at
low water. At high
water the sea are about two metres, or some 6-7 feet higher, and
touching the boulders
higher up. But according to locals that is normal at this time of
the year. So the sea
takes all sand away into the ocean, and then at summer, it brings
it all nicely back again.
the far end, just before the white houses of the village La Playa,
there was plenty
of space, and quite a few visitors. Perhaps because the pier also
covers for the
higher waves here. And at sunset, the younger people, and others
too, are gathering
here to watch the sun disappearing into the sea. Sometimes accompanied
drummers and musicians.
this beach, and the other popular beach at the harbour, were totally
without the famous beach-chairs, so popular in the larger tourist
the other islands in the Canary group
in our never-ending hunt for a lonely beach, we had to search further
Next stop was "Playa
del Ingles", well behind the village of La Playa. That
was the last
sandy beach. Nature here was different, with grass and bushes growing
in the black sand.
the Atlantic waves run into the beach in their full height - 1-2-3-4
and a lot of persons were lining up in the water, waiting for them
to roll in.
Some people jumped right through the waves, others got caught. Then
in the line any longer, and if there were just as many out there
after the wave hit ,
as they were before, we just don't know... By the way, some of those
people out here
apparantly had a bad childhood with no parents to teach them how
for their clothes. It seemed like this to us as they couldn't find
In fact, some of them even had lost their bathingsuits....
was great fun following the coastline back again from Playa del
Ingles, to the beach at La Playa, instead of walking
back the ordinary road. Here you had to climb, but at least we were
not the only ones climbing. Lots of crabs, small
and big ones, the larger ones a good dinner, were all climbing high
and low on the boulders and rocks, or they were
just sunbathing - or trying grasp the rocks when another wave hit.
think they were used to people out here, as when we came too close,
they did not just crab away, no, they
through themselves outside the rocks, and dissapeared somewhere
waves showed a fantastic view. Huge emerald-green waves build up,
crowned with the cleanest white foam (scum?) you have ever seen,
before they were
smashed on the cliffs.
you could have the pictures you just had dreamed of. However, a
couple we met, also trying to save these sights
for ever, went a little bit to far out, but yes, they did survive
but with no dry clothes. I am also quite sure they will pay a little
more attention to the
Atlantic Ocean and its waves next time...
we went on, hunting for our 'lonely beach'. Once again, northwards,
Playa del Ingles once more.
there was only an unknown coastline left. Playa del Ingles and its
sandy beach now
were behind us, and huge boulders and big rocks that had come down
from 'up there',
with the tall steep wall of the mountain of Merica, rising to 850
above sea level.
Somewhere with only a few yeards between the sea and the wall, sometimes
When at low water, it is absolutely no problem climbing out there.
The waves come
faithfully rolling in, and where they meet huge boulder or large
rocky stones, they give
a good show. When the beach widens out in between, and pebbles or
sand is dominant,
the waves smashes a bit further out in the sea.
hundred meters (less than a mile?) further north, it is definitely
From here on is what the spaniards call "Costa Risco".
We would rather call it
unapproachable - or where the mountain comes right down into the
that was ok to us. Up here lavaflows and the sea once made a small
basin, and with
every little wave, fresh water was brought into it. There we could
sit, or even lye,
and have the sea cooling us down - at time i a bath full of foam
(scum?). By clearing
up a little on the beach, and moving a few smaller rocks, we made
ourselves a nice
and pretty place to sunbathe while waiting for the next time to
have another bath.
putting this down onto paper (a few days after our first visit here)
we still do not
know how this place will be when tide is higher or lower, or when
the waves cools
down (do they ever?) or when they are several meters higher? Just
they measured waves up to 6-7 meters high down here on La Gomera.
a few days later, we found out more. We were on our way out about
11 AM, as the
sun does not reach 'our beach' till then. The sea looked quiet,
and we were convinced
than low water was next to come, about noon. But El Mar de Atlantico
did not agree to this. And for whatever
reason, that we had a full moon yesterday, or that high water and
water did nott follow the usual timeschedule, so the waves started
rolling in - the one
worse than the next - and our basin was somewhere way out in the
So all we could do were to bathe in the sun only.
to our big surlprise, the waves came closer and closer, and we had
twice of what we were up to. We then found it most wisely to return,
before it would
become to difficult to pass where highwater nearly hit the mountain-wall
on the way back.
Keep away from it all, when high water and
low water and fullmoon and the Atlantic Ocean do not agree
two or three huge waves, there always are some 4-5 smaller ones,
and then we run.
Half way over the 10 meter low bit with boulder, a huge wave smashed
into the wall behind us, and water was all
around us - first soam, the the water pressed us up the wall. We
put our fingers right into the mountain.
The next wave, however, which obviously was not on schedule, was
and while trying to keep my position as best I could, I grabbed
my glasses somewhere
round my stomach - my wife was brought 10-15 meters out into the
ocean. I desperately
shouted "Come back!", and she did. Immideately. Riding
on the third big wave.
Full speed back to the beach, and there she were grasping onto a
and managed to get her feet down again.
we sat down on 'the reght side' and had to dry absolutely everything
except for her glasses, which the Atlantic Ocean kept. We dried
our camera, telescope, sacks, towels, bathingsuits, clothes and
what else we brought.
(By the way, the customers did accept our passports when we came
Are you going to challenge the Atlantic, and use glasses,
so bind them
to your neck before doing anything else.
2. Check if low-water and high-water are on schedule.
3. Check the difference in level of tie, followed by full
moon or not.
4. Check if the waves of the Atlantic do agree to your plans.
a nice trip!
we found out what seemed to be the reason for what happened.
In the picture above, you can see a huge black stone in the background.
That's where 'our beach" is. During our fatal visit the other
day, there were big boulders,
as in the back, ALL the way up to where this picture was taken.
Not as shown in the picture, a lot of pebbles, or small stones,
in a big pile or heap.
critical point is where the person stands, and the next ten meters
towards the photographer. That part was a few days before consisting
of the same
surface as behind, and at the same low level. Way below the small
on this picture, there should still be the stone to which my wife
was grasping herself,
while returning from the sea. That stone was about 2 meter tall,
now it is totally unvisible, burried by pebbles -
which we know must have come at a late time - when La Gomera
was visited by the sandstorm from Sahara, sending in huge waves
waves must have brought several tons of stone from a place further
down the coast,
and put them down here, a layer at least 2 meters thick. If anyone
told us before we had
seen this ourselves, we would never believed.
forgot to tell - in the picture above, it is once more low tide...
See also our page with WAVES
from La Gomera 2004!
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