I have always been fascinated with the idea of living on an island. As a child, I always knew that I would live on an island one day, although I thought it may be the Isle of Wight, the Isles of Scilly or even the Isle of Islay, off Scotland’s magnificent west coast. The Isle of Islay was a close shave, because I once spotted the perfect croft very close to my favorite malt whisky distillery. However, it does tend to be a rather damp and forbidding place for much of the year, but I will save that story for another time…
Traditionally and politically, the Canary Islands consist of seven main populated islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. There are also other inhabited, as well as uninhabited islets, known as the Chinijo Archipelago. These include: La Graciosa, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste, Roque de Este and Los Lobos. Each island is unique and offers something for everyone. The smaller islands provide greater privacy and a quieter atmosphere than their larger and busier counterparts.
Currently, the 600-strong population of the Island of Graciosa, which is Spanish for funny or amusing, are hoping to become recognized as the eighth Canary Island. Islanders have already collected 4,000 signatures for a campaign that they hope will bring greater autonomy to the 29-square kilometer island. It is the third smallest island in the archipelago; the island of La Graciosa has two piers and a dock for yachts in the bay, yet no tarmac roads. However, it is currently heavily dependent upon its big sister island, Lanzarote, for most of its supplies and services.
Islanders are claiming that the Canary Islands Regional Government is incorrect in classifying La Graciosa as an isle, as this term is used to define a small island with no population. The islanders point out that, to the contrary, La Graciosa is populated, and to further strengthen their case, the islanders comment that around 25,000 visitors significantly enhance their numbers each year. It seems that the islanders crave for the opportunity to manage their own day-to-day affairs, and not to turn to their larger sister island, Lanzarote, for services such as rubbish collection, or whenever there are interruptions in the island’s electricity and water upplies.
At this stage, however, the islanders are not looking to set up their own island council, as with the other seven Canary Islands, but to become recognized as a district, generating and attracting its own funding and without the need for financial hand outs from the Canary Islands Government.
This island is visited by many who wish to escape the busier islands, and to bask in its natural beauty and unspoiled beaches. It is a paradise for those interested in bird watching of the feathered variety, hiking, mountain biking, surfing and kite surfing. Now, I do not wish to be held responsible for encouraging a sudden influx of lobster colored tourists to this beautiful unspoiled Canary island, islet or isle, in search of yet another pina colada, but I will merely add that this jewel in the Canary Islands’ crown is reputed to be the island where Robert Louis Stevenson set his classic novel, Treasure Island.
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