LA PALMA (Reuters) – Jurgen Doyles and his girlfriend Jacqueline Rehm were selling their skiff on the Spanish island of La Palma when they were volcano The Cumbre Vega erupts, forcing them to flee their home and move onto the boat.
Doelz, 66, and Rehm, 49, from Germany, were trying to sell the boat to save money after losing their job at a car rental company due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On September 19, when the volcano began spitting fiery lava just 4 kilometers from their home in Todoc, the couple had just returned from a trip with a potential buyer. Doyles told Reuters of the boat, which docked in the port of Tazacorte, but the sale failed because the ship was “not sporty enough”.
A few hours later, they were forced to leave the rented house with a vineyard and balcony overlooking the sea and had to leave most of their belongings behind.
“Fortunately, we still had the boat…and since then we’ve lived on that boat. It’s small, but that’s okay,” said Doyles, retired.
Lava currents destroyed more than 600 hectares of land and destroyed about 1,600 buildings in La Palma. About 6,000 people have been evacuated from their homes on the island, which has a population of about 83,000.
“We moved here (La Palma) two and a half years ago, and after half a year we found our dream home…Losing it after two years is tough,” Doyles said.
Although the lava has not reached their home yet, they believe it is only a matter of time after the flow has destroyed the homes of their Swiss neighbors and the eruption shows no signs of abating.
“We’ll stay on the boat until we know what to do next. Should we stay here or maybe go to another island, like Tenerife? No idea, I don’t know. It’s written in the stars,” said Rehm.
(Additional reporting by Graham Kelly, Emma Pinedo and Jesus Aguado)
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