Rein Bakker's Notes
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     Hello Javier,
     In the past few days I have been strolling through my notes, which I 
     have made in 1975.
     I have found out that a lot of (student) observers have been involved 
     in the project.
     During the period I was at La Palma there where at least 6 other 
     persons active in some way or another. I should have addresses of some 
     of them, but I did not find those addresses yet.
     First will try to give description of the things we did on the site:
     Every hour (on the hour) during the night readings were made of the 
     direction and the strength of the wind, of the humidity and of the 
     temperature. In the cabin on top near the telescope (which you will 
     see on the photographs / slides which you will receive later) there 
     where recorders placed, which kept a constant track of the barometer 
     readings and of the humidity en temperature readings on a second 
     Besides that every hour a photographic trail was made of the polar 
     star and every other night (?) photometric readings where made of 6 
     high (near the zenith) and 6 low (near the horizon) stars both with 
     and without a redfilter.
     I am not sure, but the copies of the reports we have seen in the 
     archive on site suggest, that premilary site testing had taken place 
     and that definitive testing starting somewhere in 1975 at the same 
     time that that decision had been taken to close the Iza¤a site on 
     I arrived at the site on September 28, 1975 together with Donald 
     Kennedy. He came from Edinborough in Scotland and was a student over 
     there. Although I told you we had to walk up from Puntagorda, I found 
     out that we came up from Juan Ianes, which is more close to Los Llanes 
     according to a map of La Palma of those days (I don't recollect to 
     have seen this place while I was on La Palma a few weeks ago!). It is 
     located on a road into the mountains which leaves the main road 
     roughly half way between El Time and Puntagorda.
     We did not go up path along the Caldera and the path arrived at the 
     cabin coming from the place where the administration buildings are now 
     The fuente I told you about must have been a lot further away as I 
     thought, because my notes say that it took 1 hour to get there, to 
     fetch water and to return. I was certainly not at fuenta nueva, 
     because I am 100% positive we did not pass the telescope, but went in 
     the direction I pointed to you.
     There were 3 cabins on the site. One was located next to the brick 
     wall (this was the one we slept and lived in), one was about 50-100 
     meters roughly at the same height in the direction of the telescope. 
     This was used to store things. The third one was on top near the 
     telescope and contained the recorders and was used to store the 
     telescope in bad weather conditions (fog, clouds). With the photograps 
     / slides you might by able to spot the places, where they stood.
     There were two masts with a length of 12 meters on which the sensors 
     for temperature readings were placed. 
     From here on I will try to give my notes in a chronological order:
     I had to come to La Palma quite suddenly. I was supposed to change 
     places with a colleague 
     student from the University of Amsterdam (Peter Bouwman) he returned 
     home after one night, because he was scared to death by the goats 
     roaming around freely during the night. He quit Astronomy right after 
     On September 30, 1975 the Iza¤a site on Tenerife was closed down and 
     this was the last day we had contact by walkie talkie with Tenerife(!) 
     . On October 1, 1975 the telescope which was used over there was 
     brought in to Santa Cruz by ship as well as the Landrover which had 
     been used on Tenerife. With this Derryck Andrews (from Scotland) 
     arrived in Los Llanos. He was the last person on the Tenerife site.
     On October 1, 1975 we made precautions to prevent the cables being 
     bitten through by the wild goats (probably the ancestors of the ones 
     we saw 2 weeks ago!), which were roaming the place at that time (also 
     on slide).
     Because one mast with temperature sensors was located on a spot which 
     was very windy it was brought down on October 3. 
     October was a very windy month on top as you may see further on. On 
     October 3 the wind reached up to 66 miles per hour.
     On October 4 the masts was re-erected on an other place and built up 
     to a height of 11, 5 meters.
     On October 6 Paul Cass and Neil Andersen came up to the site and 
     Donald returned with Paul to Los Llanos.
     Paul was a technician from the University of London and was (to my 
     knowledge) in charge of the La Palma operation. Neil was a colleague 
     of Donald from Edinborough. That night the biggest forest fire in more 
     than 100 years started in the east of the Island.
     On October 7 we were enclosed on all sides by the fire, but luckely 
     enough it did not reach us.
     On October 8 we still could not do any observations on the polar star, 
     also because the wind was gusting up to 64 miles per hour.
     On October 9 the maximum wind was down a maximum of 58 miles per hour. 
     On October 10 we could restart our observations, but had to bring in 
     the telescope at 5 o'clock in the morning because of have clouds 
     covering the sites. It was stored in the topcabin.
     During day time or while not in use the telescope (which had a 10 cm 
     aperture) was covered with lenshoods.
     Normally supplies were brought in every 2 or 3 days, but this had been 
     impossible because of the forest fire. During those days we were in 
     contact via walkie talkie 2 times a day. The Los Llanos people drove 
     up the the lookout point in the Caldera de Taburiente to get in touch.
     On October 11 Derryck came up with parts of the Iza¤a telescope and 
     Neil went back to Los Llanos.
     On October 13 new supplies were brought in together with other parts 
     of the telescope.
     On October 14 the rest of the telescope was brought in (all with 
     That same day we started to flatten a part of the site for the 
     erection of the second telescope (so the observations were made with 2 
     telescopes!). I do not recollect were this place was, but I am sure it 
     was quite near the other telescope.
     On October 15 Luis _.. (an observer from the mainland of Spain) came 
     up and I went down to Los Llanos.
     On October 18 Paul and Donald went up and on October 21 Luis came down 
     and Donald went up. That night the wind reached a maximum of 83 mph 
     (133 km per hour).
     Paul nearly always returned the same day because he did not make any 
     In Los Llanos we were living in a (part of a) house which was rented 
     from the Olsen family and as far as I could see from my slides it was 
     located in the direction of El Paso, on the mountain side with some 
     platanos plantage in front of it.
     On October 23 the Olsen family (he was American, she English) made a 
     tape recording of our where abouts due to the forest fire while we 
     were located on top. Maybe it is possible to trace this family and ask 
     for this tape.
     On October 24 I returned to Gran Canaria to go home. Another student 
     from Amsterdam (Theo van der Linden) came over on the same day to take 
     my place.
     I have no notes of copies of the observations we made at the site. So 
     I can not help you with that. I will now first have some photographs 
     made from my slides and try to compile a plan of the site from that. I 
     will send these to you and after that there will by made copies of my 
     slides and send them after they are finished.
     If you have any specific questions please let me know.
     In the meantime I wish you all the best for 1998.
     Rein Bakker

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Last modified: 13 December 2010