The Los Hervideros sink-hole: TWO YEARS ON
Norman Warwick is dis-chuffed by apathy
Lanzarote Gazette Life on line magazine recently commented on some comments made by President Dolores Corujo that the insatiable media made mischief of. The magazine, that serves the tourist industry and new residents on the island, sought to make sense of the story-telling, saying
Imagine you run a bar in a Lanzarote resort. You’re doing well, In fact, it can a bit too hectic at times, so you decide you can afford to remove a couple of tables and give the customers and your staff more space.
It’s also time to give the place a lick of paint, promote some of those fancy cocktails the big spenders like to order, and expand the menu. There’ll be price rises, but you’ve planned for that.
About half of your customers are British, with plenty of French, Germans, Irish and Spanish popping in, too. But you’d like to even the mix out a bit. Your British customers are great, and couldn’t be more welcome, but you never know what might happen – eggs in one basket and all that. So you start advertising on German and Italian radio stations, try and get a few new faces in.
That, basically, is Lanzarote’s long term tourist plan, and has been for several years. Reduce overall tourism, focus on quality to try and get customers to spend more, and diversify your customer base.
So you can imagine how upset you’d be if you suddenly saw yourself being accused of “banning Brits” on social media, with hundreds of people saying they’d boycott your bar in retaliation.
At the Gazette we’ve been deeply concerned by the damage done to Lanzarote by recent misleading reports in British newspapers, and the most shocking thing is that there has been absolutely no reason or basis for any of it.
We know that British tourists remain as welcome on the island as they always have been, and that nobody in charge has ever said anything that might suggest otherwise.
Parts of the tourist strategy have already been successful. The island has managed to shake off the “Lanzagrotty” tag that was still being bandied around ten years ago. Last year, it made more money from fewer tourists, mainly due to the upgrading of hotels.
However, the diversification strategy has not yet shown results. Last year saw a higher proportion of British tourists than ever, and that looks unlikely to change in the near future. You can’t blame the island for trying to spread risk, but Lanzarote is likely to remain full of happy British holiday-makers for years to come.
And every single one will be welcome.
Jacabo Medina feels that the re-opening route to El golfo is not among President Dolores Corujo´s priorities.
That makes me pause for thought. Although I don´t know her at all, it seems to me that until very recently The President, (left) has seemed an omnipresent force of optimism and of common sense. I´m not sure what her politics actually are and indeed I don´t know for certain what party she represents here on Lanzarote. However a newsletter that goes out pretty frequently in her name is usually full of positivity. I have seen her at events and she seems to be a woman of the people, whether the event is ceremonial or simply a media photo-opportunity.
I found myself in some disagreement with her when her government allowed, nay encouraged, the removal of some of the incredible statues and sculptures that were on display, on the shore line of Arecife and even of some that were part of the unique Underwater Museum display in Playa Blanca. It was all with the intent of preserving the legacy of the late Cesar Marique, artist, a man I admire greatly, but he had nothing to do with the artefacts that were removed and his name should not have been dragged into the argument by either side of the take them or leave them argument.
President Corujo also ´mis´spoke´ recently when, in seeking to offer a glimpse of the future of tourism on our island she seemed to suggest we already have more than enough British tourists. The Daily Mail in the UK had a field day with that in their usual calm and even handed manner (NOT !). Closer to the truth is that The President called for a new model of tourism, b ased on the example family packages but also including new niche markets, such as holidays dedicated to the arts (writing, painting, photography etc), sports, extreme sports, flora and fauna etc.
I´m not sure that any of this an an accurate reflection of her ethos or her abilities but it does seem that when President Dolores is in trouble it is because she has a dug a hole for herself and can´t get out.
She is another spot of bother (never a good thing in the days preceding an election) and she seems to be in a deeper hole than ever, although to be fair this is certainly not one she dug for herself.
In February 2021 there was a huge sinkhole in the LZ 703 that connects the town of El Golfo with the rest of the municipality. A setback that at that time was wanted to solve as soon as possible through an emergency plan to reduce the execution time and thus recover the normality of traffic on that important road, both for residents, tourists and businessmen in the area
At that time, the popular Jacobo Medina directed the Ministry of Public Works and exactly 25 months later, Medina criticizes the paralysis in which the situation is. “We had to take out a study to give viability to the drafting of the project, the president, María Dolores Corujo, expelled us in November 2021 and to date we know nothing. The project has not been drafted and the work has not been executed. Affected on that road? Both the tourist and the resident.”
And in the face of the next elections on May 28 he promises to fix the road in the case of becoming president of the Cabildo since at this time María Dolores Corujo, according to Medina, has forgotten the south with the approval of the mayor of Yaiza. “It is clear that the president of the Cabildo does not have that arrangement among her priorities, and the submission of the mayor of Yaiza to the president of the Cabildo, is paralyzing that work. We commit ourselves as of May 28, if the citizens grant us their trust, the arrangement of the road and its opening.”
This route is of vital importance for the population of El Golfo that has been more than two years with limited communication that is harming the lives of the neighbours and the economic fabric of this nucleus in the south of Lanzarote
There is slightly more to it than even these points have already made, however.
The road (right) that is closed is actually one the loveliest and most scenic on the island, tightly hugging the cliff tops and providing spectacular views of the sea.So scenic is the landscape, however, that one can almost forget to look out to seat at., The crazily carved rocks in that dark lunar vista has been closed once ro twice for film shootings in which that landscape has been employed to convey the atmosphere of planets of a science fiction work and we have often seen it used for adverting shootings, of climbing footwear and sports shoes and clothing as well as one spectacular occasion the launch of a new car. The vehicle was filmed in only 100 metre bursts and in between shots was covered up so it couldn´t even be seen from a distance with any crowds (or any other vehicles that might have been sleeker or faster or maybe even newer, I guess) being cordoned off so far as way to never catch a glimpse. When the advert appeared on television, though, many of us thought the scenery was more impressive than the car !
There has always been a pit-stop by the road which has been until now a massive tourist attraction and maybe one the most photographed locations on the island. Los Hervideros is a natural phenomenon. The sea pounds into the cliff face there after a three thousand mile run-up, and travels at frightening speed and height with extreme ferocity, whirling through a cave at the foot of the cliff. Occasionally waves crash and collide spuming sea water up through a hole in the cave, twenty or thirty feet into the air to pour over the crowds watching on the clip tops.
There are vantage points walled into the cliff faces reached by roughly hewn steep steps, and the wall itself is less than weight high. So, on the best or worst of days vistors can enjoy the dubious pleasure of looking fifty feet down into tumultuous wind-driven high tides and suddenly being hit in the back by a downpour of sea water.
It is pretty thrilling to be honest, and there is a paved pathway around the rocks that offer fantastic sea scapes and landscapes of lava rock.
Preumably the cave or tunnel at the foot of the cliffs was caused by erosion, and it now seems that the constant force of water has further eroded it recently slip slided away and left a hole the size of a penalty that took away an entire length of road and some of the paths.
Miraculously, no one was hurt other than by the after effects of the loss of a wonderful tourist attraction and a sens of isolation aropund the village and inhabitatns of El Golfo ten miles away, itself the home another landscape phenomenon of a green lagoon caused by another trick of the tides. The village is still approachable from the North road that used to join up with the south road and formed a beautioful cemi circulrar route through the charming sea shanty town of restaruants and and shops and artsts´retreats.
So, a sink hole around sixty feet deep is something of a problem. It can be filled, perhaps, but only at huge expensie in a labour intensive manner. There could be no certainty of how resilient the filling might be agants the unstoppable sea, and anyway tests would have to be carried first to determine what kind of perimeter around the hole has also been weakened.
President Dolores Corujo has recently dug herself into a hole on a couple of occasions but this time she fell into a hole created by the force of nature.
But give her a break. President she may be, but Wonder Woman she is not.
Nevertheless, a little seasoning was added to this particular political paella when the tourists turned up for Easter. Ironically Lancelot Digital reported Chaos Like Never Before In The Tourist Centres.
Lancelot Digital spoke of Kilometric queues in Timanfaya, the clogged Cave and cars parked on the road to Los Jameos, the tourist image of Lanzarote at Easter.
There are no more tourists than in previous Easter Weeks in Lanzarote, but never in the history of Lanzarote Tourist Centres had chaos been known such as that experienced on Wednesday 5th April 2023.
The classic queues on special dates such as the month of August were again registered at the entrance to the Taro de Las Montañas del Fuego. Hundreds of cars could be seen that had to wait up to two hours to enter. “I was there from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. we couldn’t get in,” confirmed a bus driver who assured that in more than 20 years he had not seen what happened yesterday.
Even Jameos del Agua was crowded. It was not possible to get out since the cars had to park on the side of the road (left), clogging the entrance and exit for the buses, according to another driver of the discretionary bus service. And even worse, the day in the Cueva de Los Green. The traffic jam was so large between 1:00 p.m. and almost 4:00 p.m. that many tourist guides were forced to get their clients off the buses in Los Jameos and walk almost half a kilometer down the road to take them to the interior. .
The workers of the Tourist Centers showed their best face at all times to mitigate as much as possible the chaos and the bad image that the Centers in particular, and Lanzarote, in general, were giving themselves, but at times they were overwhelmed, according to several guides consulted.
Increasingly, the tourism sector calls for organizational measures to prevent visits, for which the tourist pay well, to prevent numbers from becoming over-whelming and perhaps, too, so that Easter is slightly more formally observed.. Some believe that at least on the special days of Easter, Christmas and summer, access should be limited and opening hours extended.
Many people wonder, though, how it has all come to this. Nobody knows the real answer, but it is speculated that it is mainly because the habit of taking rental cars to move around the island continues to increase since the pandemic. It should also be noted that Wednesday 5th April was a rare day of bad weather, leaving tourists had nothing to do on the beaches and they all went “rolling” through the Tourist Centres.
The President will surely be asked about this by the press, and we´re sure she will think very carefully about anything she has to say, so she won´t end up digging another hole.
Meanwhile life and jazz go on,…as Steve Bewick has shown us with a brief reminder abut his presentation of his Hot Biscuits radio jazz programme delivered from the mix cloud. A good friend and an occasional contributor to these pages, Steve tells that over the coming week our readers can enjoy a live big band session with Phil Shotton. Also joining Steve on Hot Biscuits jazz broadcast will be the fabulous vocalist, of Liane Carroll. Steve will also offer a tilt of the hat to Victor Brox with a very local recording. There will also be a contribution from Terry Pack’s Trees. There will be more vocals from Jana Varga and the programme will close with John Etheridge at the Spin House. If this looks interesting share with friends and follow Steve 24/07 at www.mixcloud.com/stevebewick/
please note logo The primary sources for this piece were an article and editorial published in Lazarote Gazette Life magazine written and a news item in Voz and a subsequent report from Lancelot Digital. Images employed have been taken from on line sites only where categorised as images free to use. for a more detailed account of our aspirations and sources check