La Gomera

Islands — really remote islands — are among my favorite travel destinations. Not that I would care to live on a remote island for very long. But to visit a place that is physically and biologically isolated, small in area, and to be always aware of how near the ocean boundaries lie, creates a sense of place distinctly different from that on any continental mainland.

In 1984, after attending an IUCN General Assembly in Madrid, I spent a week on Tererife in the Canary Islands (part of Spain, but the nearest mainland is Morocco).  Tenerife is a fairly large and diverse island, with much to explore. One day another conference-goer and I took the ferry from Puerto de los Cristianos, at the southwest corner of Tenerife, to La Gomera, the next and much smaller island to the west.  We arrived at San Sebastian de La Gomera — the same harbor from which Columbus departed on his voyages across the Atlantic nearly 500 years earlier.  Renting a car, we climbed sinuous roads into Garajonay National Park, high in the rugged center of the island. We made a partial circumnavigation of the island, through Vallehermoso, Agulo, and Hermigua, then back to San Sebastian and the evening return ferry to Tenerife.

San Sebastian de La Gomera

San Sebastian de La Gomera



La Gomera is a wonderfully remote island; farther west lie the yet more remote islands of La Palma and El Hierro. Their names, like those of so many other Atlantic islands, beg to be included in future travel plans. Well, maybe someday …

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Copyright © 2010 Tim Messick. All rights reserved.

About Tim Messick

Photographer, cartographer, and botanist/naturalist. Home is in Davis, California. Home-away-from-home is the eastern Sierra Nevada. Compiling a flora of the Bodie Hills.
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One Response to La Gomera

  1. Kathy Eyster says:


    These are great photos and a fun story about how they came to be! Probably the closest Americans can get to that feeling is visiting one of the lesser populated Hawaiian Islands. Thanks for sharing!


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