Foto de una camioneta transportando agua

Chronology of the different access points to Cofete

One of the first works carried out was in 1939, the construction of a path from Morro Jable to Gran Valle and Jorós, where there is a natural water stream (Jorós gallery has a changing flow depending on the rainfall, between 1 and 1.5 litres of water per second) (F1). Up until then, the people of Morro Jable used to sail there in order to get water. Building this stretch of road to Jorós meant that a van could transport water drums that would then be unloaded in the water deposit in Morro.

Between 1941 and 1942, the work carried out included digging a tunnel in the middle of mountain Gran Valle, on the south side, 290 m tall. . It its still there nowadays and it is 10 metres long. The work was soon interrupted. In 1946, Maestro Villalba did a quotation in order to resume the work, however, it never went ahead.

Foto de la Degollada a Cofete por Gran Valle
Degollada to Cofete through Gran Valle. The red dot marks the location of the tunnel
Foto del estado actual del túnel
Current condition of the tunnel

In August 1947, they started working on the remaining stretch of road between Jorós and Cofete. As Mr Guillermo Schrauth told GW in his letter number 167, dated 15/07/1947, it consisted of “a totally accessible path for transportation (….) but not a road.” Part of the staff working in the construction of the house and other additional workers, started to work led by Maestro Villalba’s brother in law, Mr Manuel Afonso Santana (his children María, José and Juan, also worked on the road). They started working on the most difficult stretch of road on the windward side of Cofete (between Degollada de Agua Oveja and Pilón de Licanejo, around where the access to Roque del Moro is).

In letter number 48 from GS to AK, dated 17/08/1947, Mr Guillermo informs that 170 m had already been built. In addition, he asks Mr Arturo for further funds since “I am aware of the fact that more staff is yet to come to work on the road, which shall increase our costs in wages. Should the wood arrive for the house, we shall then also have the corresponding costs.” It wasn’t the best idea starting with the most difficult stretch of the road, in Degollada de Agua Oveja, since the strong rainfall that winter destroyed a large part of the path that had already been built on that side of Cofete. Therefore, at the end of December 1947, the work on the area was temporarily interrupted. The severance pay documents given to the staff are enclosed (3), including holidays, Easter bonuses, etc. The road did not get to Cofete until the end of 1951.

Therefore, historically, there have been three ways to access Cofete from Morro Jable:

  • Up until 1940, it had to be accessed on foot or on a donkey or camel through the ravine, Barranco del Ciervo (in black, on the map). At the end of the way, you had to go up, and first go through Degollada del Ciervo toward Gran Valle, and then, Degollada to Cofete, in order to finally go down toward the town. The journey from Morro Jable would take more than 4 hours.
  • From 1940 onwards, after the construction of the road toward Gran Valle and Jorós, you could go by van to the end of the ravine in Gran Valle, where there were some houses and a water mine. From 1946 – 1951, the materials used in the construction of the chalet were taken there with the van; then, you had to continue on foot or load animals –stretch marked in black- on the path, all the way up to Degollada (located 350 m high), to later go down toward the house.
  • The road to Cofete was built toward the end of 1951, coinciding with the current road. From Jorós onwards, along the valleys of Escobones and Mosquito, on the way to Valle de las Pilas, to then cross over to Cofete through Degollada de Agua Ovejas, and finally go down and reach the town.

The stretch of road that goes from Jorós to Punta de Jandía, has less difficulty than the access to Cofete, and it was completed in 1949.  In the following months, GW conditioned a flat area near Punta that was used as landing strip (dirt, not paved, marked in grey on the map). In the 1950’s, it was used around 3-4 times a year by Aviation military captains. It was at times used to evacuate someone who was seriously ill or had had an accident and take them to Gran Canaria. It was mostly used for the October 1959 eclipse: Junker airplanes carried and unloaded the material used by surveilling groups from the different countries who attended the event in Jandía. It was also used for private jets, for instance by Ronald Myhill. (There are comments in this regard on GW private diaries).

Toward the start of the 1960’s, already being aware of Jandía’s future as tourist destination, and following his friend’s advice, Mr. Alfredo Suárez Ochoa, GW conditioned another landing strip, also in Punta de Jandía (marked in black). That landing strip was better placed with regard to the prevailing winds on the area. He submitted his project to Civil Aviation. A project of an airport south of Fuerteventura. He fought to get it, but the regulations only allowed for one airport per island, except for Tenerife, due to the particular weather conditions in Los Rodeos airport. Therefore, in the end, he didn’t manage to get an airport in the south of the island, and the former obsolete airport of Los Estancos (near Puerto del Rosario) was replaced by the current one, Reina Sofía, also next to Puerto del Rosario, which opened in 1969.