About Me

Me, in my friend Patsy's garden
Me, in my friend Patsy’s garden

I came to La Palma with a six-month contract to work at the observatory as a software engineer, and immediately fell in love with the place. Then I fell in love with a tall, dark, handsome Palmeran, who I met in the Isaac Newton Telescope (under the stars, on the heart-shaped island). My six-month stay has lasted thirty years so far, and I still feel smug every time I see a plane leaving because I get to stay. I wholeheartedly recommend the island for a holiday. Browse this website to find out why.

My starlight guide card

La Palma has amazing night skies. When I got made redundant from my job at the observatory, I retrained as a tour guide, specialising in astronomy, called a Starlight Guide. I mostly show groups around the professional telescopes at the Observatory at the Roque de Los Muchachos, but I also enjoy showing people the other glories of our miniature continent. If you want to treat yourself to a knowledgeable and entertaining guide for a day or half-day, email me at sheila@sheilacrosby.com.

I started writing fiction at middle school in Leeds and never stopped. So far I’ve published 50 short stories and three books. There’s a non-fiction guide to the astronomical observatory at the Roque de Los Muchachos (A Breathtaking Window on the Universe ), an anthology of children’s stories inspired by La Palma’s starry skies (The Seer’s Stone), and a science fiction anthology (The Dodo Dragon and Other Stories). I’m currently working on a whodunnit set in the observatory. (You can read more about my writing here.)
You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

All this leaves me far too busy for my hobbies of cleaning the house and doing laundry, although I do usually find time to cook. And there’s always time to sit on the balcony with a glass of wine and admire the view, or to chat with my friends, the ravens.

Look, Carmelo, I put you in a book.

This article has 24 Comments

  1. Hi there Sheila

    It’s nice to see this site in English. My father is a Palmero from Barlovento who moved to Australia 40 years ago. Where are you from? I’ve managed to get to the islands three times in my life and I really love the place.



  2. I’m originally from Leeds in the north of England, but these days I’m a Palmeran remould.

  3. Hi We are coming to La Palma between Xmas and new Years and looking for some astronomy tourism, can you help in this? Ive been studying astronomy for the last 2 years at UCL so this would be really exciting to see some dark skies.

  4. Hi Phil,

    even though our website is only in German, translate.google.com will help, you are most welcome!

    Hi Sheila, your website is beautiful, best regards from Rinpoche!

  5. Hi Sheila,
    I am planning to come to La Palma to do some astrophotography, and would like to set everything up within the grounds of our holiday villa, rather then drive to the miradors. I am having trouble locating properties that are reliably above the clouds (I think about 1500 metres elevation ) and only found one which is booked in for the next year ! Can you suggest some accommodation that is above the clouds ? Many Thanks.

    Kind Regards


  6. Hi Sheila:
    We are a husband and wife, we are both Canadian (my husband is German, he speaks fluent German, I am of English, Welch decent,) I do speak some Spanish. We have a ranch in the Monashee Mountain Range of Western Canada, we are planning a trip to the Canary Islands, La Palma is on our list of a possible future retirement home. We have been looking at the homes for sale on the internet, but feel it is best to look at them while we are there before we proceed to purchase. When we arrive into La Palma we would like to have a local contact with a person such as yourself that is living on La Palma to get as much information about the Island and areas of the Island.

    Would it be possible to meet with you when we arrive?
    I have tried to find an expat blog on La Palma with people that speak English, the only site I have found is all German Speaking, I have written in English to that site, the moderator replied saying someone will talk to me about La Palma but so far I have never had anyone answer me.
    Our oldest son and his wife will also be coming to La Palma hoping to find a retirement home.
    Also, I have a small French Bulldog (our sweet little baby) that I will be bringing, do you know if the planes from Tenerife will take her inside the cabin?
    I hope to hear from you soon
    Sheri Schroeder

  7. Hi Sheila

    We have been to La Palma several times and love it. Last time was about 4 years ago so another visit is long overdue! We went to El Hierro last winder and loved it there too.

    We are thinking of staying in Puerto de Tazacorte next time but was wondering if the strange open air swimming pool has been refurbished or re-developed yet? I always thought it a shame as it spoiled the area.

    Grateful for any info.


  8. I haven’t been to Tazacorte for quite some time, but they’d made a start on it. Certainly the UFO-type thing in the middle has been removed. I’ll ask around.

  9. My name is Carlos, a native Spanish teacher (with QTS and a Degree in English Language) I live in Villa de Mazo. I have tons of experience teaching Spanish. I lived in London for 6 months and I’d like to boost my English skills (I want to come back to the UK some day) Besides, I teach English here in Spain and want to be a better teacher everyday. We could have a chat over a coffee. What about 30 mins in English and 30 in Spanish? If you are not interested in this language exchange, please tell anyone who might be.

  10. Were a number of volunteers along with beginning a new plan in your group. Your blog provided us with worthwhile facts for you to works of art about. You’ve performed an impressive procedure and also all of our overall class will likely be happy for you.

  11. Dear Sheila,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Spain, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

  12. Hello sheila
    We will be in la palma soon, so was looking at internet posts about the island and saw the devils dance video you put up. Thats what I call a fiesta! i had a great laugh over the action with the fizzing devil falling over, etc. I have bought some new binoculars for the trip and am looking forward to seeing the heavens above the island and meeting people. Maybe we will meet as we plan to visit the observatory.

    Hubert, from Northumberland.

  13. AFAIK the course was only available in Spanish, and there are no plans to run it again any time soon. Sorry.

  14. Hi,

    just to let everyone know there is quite a thriving English speaking community on La Palma, one place you can meet residents and visitors is at the local La Palma Anglican Church services each Sunday morning.
    Held at a few beautiful Churches and other venues.
    Check the community out on


    Everyone is very welcome to attend and meet the friendly and welcoming congregation, it’s animal friendly too!!
    There’s plenty of folk who can advise you on living and visiting La Palma and making the best of such a beautiful and friendly island.

  15. Dear Sheila,

    great webpage! I was so happy to find it:-)

    And you are probably the best person to ask about some details related to the project I am planning to complete this summer.

    I am a Polish astro-amateur, interested in 17th century science and technology. This year, around the end of July/beginning of August, I would like to come to La Palma to do some experiments on the capabilities of long non-achromatic refractors. These were used, among others, by Cassini, Huyghens and Hevelius. However, the results obtained by them differ dramatically, esp. in case of Hevelius. I want to find why. Of course, I know the work of Alan Binder and Tavi Florian (CN), but several questions still remain unanswered.
    In order to clarify that, I will have to make a series of planetary observations at best possible seeing conditions. This year we have an unique opportunity, arising from Mars opposition and quite favorable location of Jupiter and Saturn – provided that you go to La Palma.

    Now the questions that I hope you could kindly answer:

    – is it allowed to stay overnight with the car on the Roques de Los Muchachos? I mean the public parking as seen in Google Maps, slightly below the Observatory. Of course, with full respect to light pollution regulations.

    – is a toilet available at the parking place?

    – what about mobile phones? Can you use them there, or they are out of range?

    – is the minimum temperature in the night around 3-6 deg C and maximum at the afternoon around 11-15 deg?

    – is the wind at night usually not exceeding 15 km/h?

    – when I come for 8 days, is it realistic to count on 2-3 really good nights?

    Sorry for bothering you. I will be extremely grateful, if you could let me know the answers for a.m. questions:-)

    Best regards –

    Maciej R. Nowacki
    Jezewo 53°31’40.8″N 18°29’05.3″E

  16. Hi, Sheila,
    we will visit with my wife La Palma for third time between October 18-28. We have been visiting observatories area last year, but idea to visit one of there inside is very interesting. Which of these days could be convenient to come?
    Thank you for comments, see you..
    Best regards

    Alexandr Gaba, Prague, Czech republic

  17. Hola, somos una familia de tres. Nos gustaría una visita guiada mañana al roque de los muchachos. En inglés ok. Gracias

  18. Ante todo, gracias por tu interes.

    Las visitas conciertadas son solamente por la mañana, que los astronomos tienen mucho trabajo de noche, y son en ingles y español. Hay una el martes 16 de abril. Se puede reservar en https://www.adastralapalma.com/tours-es/visitas-observatorio/ Cuesta 9€ por persona para 90 minutos – mas detalles en el vinculo. Hay que subir por tu cuenta con coche o taxi.

    La misma AdAstra offrece excurciones nocturnos, si te interesa. Tambien https://www.cielos-lapalma.es/

    Si me perdone la publicidad, hay un libro guía al observatorio dirigido a gente normal – turistas y aficionados – disponible en la isla y por el internet. http://dragontree.sheilacrosby.com/blog/libros-en-espanol/ .

    Espero que lo pasan geniales.


  19. Dear Sheila,
    Just read your update and been shocked.
    Cancer is a bitch.
    Happy to see you back here writing and cuddling the cat.
    When we think of La Palma, your tour at the observatory is part of our bright memories.
    “Earth” and “Saturn” are sending best wishes, strength and confidence, too.

  20. Dear Sheila, sorry to hear you now have mobility disability. You were the tour guide at the La Palma telescopes for a group which my husband and I joined several years ago, whilst on holiday from UK, where we, and our family live. We were very impressed indeed, and thoroughly enjoyed the visit. I’m wrting to ask, please, do you know whether the tours have resumed, yet, following the restricitons placed because of the Covid epidemic? I understand you yourself are now back in U.K., but I’m writing because my daughter and partner will be visiting The Canaries in the New Year, 2023, and the website I have visited regarding tours to the telescopes, and obsevatory, do not say whether the restrictions still apply. Is there an email address, please, you could signpost me to, where I could make further enquiries? I don’t have a twitter account. Thank you.

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