Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Canary Islands

We have the unusual opportunity to have the Canary Islands as part of our mission.  They are a group of seven islands sixty miles off the coast of the Sahara Desert of Africa, separated from the rest of the mission by a 2-1/2 hour plane ride.  I thought it would be nice to post a few pictures of the six islands we have visited so far.  All are volcanic in origin and each is uniquely beautiful. So from east to west:

El Hierro is a triangular shaped, mountainous island.  At one time it was used to mark the central meridian of time before it was moved to Greenwich, England.  We passed through seven distinct micro-climates on this small island of fewer than 12,000 inhabitants.  The native people were the bambaches.

Dropping down out of the high mountain pass into the one relatively level settled area. called La Frontera.

A reconstructed bambache village.

The three active members of the church on the island, Piti and Dick  and Marcos.

 La Palma, not to be confused with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is called "La Isla Bonita", the Beautiful Island, for a reason:  it is beautiful.  It is north and a little east of El Hierro.  There is a small branch on this island of about 15 people.

The Post Office

A full-size, authentic sailing ship mounted as a monument about a block from our small chapel overlooking the sea..

The rocky, volcanic shoreline.

View of the capital city of La Palma from airplane.

Gran Canaria is the regional capital of the islands and is in a central position.  Columbus stopped here to resupply his ships before heading west to discover the American continent. 
A statue on the beach of the folk costume of the 'Canarios'.

A couple coming from a wedding where all the guests wore traditional folk costumes.

Typical traditional balconies

Colorful houses line the streets in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Trees in a downtown park.  I wish I knew their name.

Outdoor cafe in the park 

Tenerife is the duck shaped island east of Gran Canaria.  (I also served on this island for five months on my first mission.)  It has a split personality - it is half Arizona and half Hawaii.  There are three branches on this island with two companionships of Elders and a Senior Couple, the Andrews, serving here.

[I don't have photos of Tenerife right now.  I'll have to take some and insert later.]

Fuerteventura  is the long island closest to Africa.  It has wonderful beaches and sand dunes, but not much vegetation.  The early inhabitants were the Guanches.  ( I served for five months on this island during my first mission, and I love it!)
The harbor at sunset

Aerial view of north end of island.

Not much vegetation..

Two native Fuerteventura señoras dressed for the Día de las Canarias party.  The lady on the right made her own outfit with all the beautiful lace and cutwork.

 Lanzarote  is the smaller island to the north of Fuerteventura.  There is an island ordinance that requires all houses to be painted white to maintain its picturesque state.
View of the beach (our hotel was second from the right)

Volcanic shoreline


  1. Thanks for the tour, it was fun.

  2. (I am Diane Kunkel, the mother of Elder Kunkel. I am using my daughter's google account because I don't have one.) Thank you SO MUCH, Sister Watkins, for posting all this information and pictures of the Canary Islands! As you know, my son, Elder Kunkel, is zone leader over there, and I have become so FASCINATED with these islands! How interesting that you served as part of your first mission in these islands! I'm sure you have a soft spot for them...and to think that they are in the Madrid Mission! I enjoy all your blog entries...thank you so much for keeping it up when I know that you are so very busy. I also think that your blog will serve as a precious reminder of his wonderful mission when Elder Kunkel returns home.

    Diane Kunkel

  3. Sister Watkins, I am Elder Robertson's mom (serving in Collados, Villalba at present time) and I just want to thank you for posting so much fun information about the Madrid Mission and your activities. My son is loving his mission and he thinks the best of President Watkins and yourself. May the Lord bless you always.

    Patty Robertson

  4. Wow! So interesting mom. It's interesting that people that live so close together like on these islands can have such different traditional costumes.