We'll keep sailing southeast, around the
Island. Today we should reach "Ses Salines," but
every time I sail by this coast and look at the shore, I think
about the real threat that is still there for the whole area.
The destruction doesn't stop and new buildings
appear here and there, most of the time where they shouldn't
be. When I see all that, I have to stop, denounce the situation
and pray for help.
For whatever reason, San José Town
Hall, the Mayor, and all the rest of the councillors of his
political party (Partido Popular) don't respect the orders
from the local government or the new laws about the regulations
and the moratorium on new constructions, nor the limits of
Tribunals are full up, stuffed with papers,
complaints from both sides, with several new ones being lodged
every week. This is the tactic they use now: collapse the
system with tons of paper. They have time on their side, plenty
of money and good lawyers. As a matter of fact, they have
everything but the support of the People, of the Majority
- not to mention a glaring lack of Ethics, Morality, Intelligence
and Common Sense.
Meanwhile, building goes on - only for some,
of course. The rest of the citizens, the great majority, don't
seem to count at all. I should say that we do count a lot...
but only when it comes to paying. I hate bloody politics!
So, whenever I am nearby, I have to stop,
just one more time, before it is too late, while we still
can, while we still can dream of a Better World.
We'll carry on tomorrow, after stopping
in Cala d'Hort or Cala Carbó for a very tasty and nutritious
lunch, "Guisat de peix", a stew of assorted fish
with a few potatoes which is one of the specialities of the
restaurants of the area. This dish deserves more then just
a few words: it deserves to be eaten!
It gives me the chance to introduce some
more of our fish that swim around these waters and are often
found in this dish.
The grouper "Serranus gigas" is
for us the real king of the sea. Its head, fins and part of
its tail can be enough for a lovely meal; the rest will be
sliced and grilled.
If there is no grouper, the Scorpion fish
"Scorpaena scrofa" ("Roxa" on the menu),
Stargazer, "Uranoscopus scaber" (Rata), Angler-fish
"Lophius" (Rap), Weevers "Trachinus draco"
and "Trachinus araneus" (Araña), Amberjack
"Seriola dumerili" (Sirviola), Meagre "Argyrosomus
regius" (Corba), John Dory "Zeus faber" (Gall),
Breams "Dentex dentex" (Denton), Banded-bream "Diplodus
Ideally at least four or five of these fish
should be in the stew for a traditional feast.
One kilo of fresh fish per head and you
can't fail! (That's according to the recipe of my old friend
Mariano Mestre - one of the best chefs on the Island, especially
for local food). We'll go to one of the restaurants in Cala
Carbó and start with handmade "Ai y oli,"
rich, garlicky mayonnaise, with fresh bread and green olives
on the side and they won't have forgotten to chill the wine.
Local fishing men brings all these fish
and a lot of others to shore. They sally forth each morning
in their little fishing boats with all their nets and the
rest of their fishing equipment. After the day's catch has
been hauled into land, the fishermen stash their gear in small
houses built for this purpose down and inside the cliff along
the beach, wherever the coastline provides a sheltered niche.
So all the activity is done on the spot, a world by itself:
fishing, repairing the boat and the equipment, selling, cooking
and eating the catch.
Beautiful mermaids from all the seas always
come ashore and appear, moving around the table when the meal
is ready, saying: "Mmm...That looks really good! May
I join you?"
What else do you need for the hot summer
days? Even the "siesta" on this clean, white sand
is somehow exclusive and luxurious.
These activities have been going on for
a long time and were a tradition just for our own people long
before the tourists discovered them. There were no restaurants
then. They date from the times when coal from the ancient
pine forests nearby was brought to be sold at Cala Carbó,
the closest port to the mainland, and from there sent to Spain
on small boats that came to fetch it. (Carbó means
coal, which gives the name to "Cala" - Little bay).
Fishing in the waters around "Es Vedra"
has always been very important for the local economy. For
generations, families from San José or Es Cubells,
ten or twelve kilometres away - there were no cars in those
days - kept their boats down the beach in Cala d'Hort to go
for the big banks of fish that swim along this coast (especially
Amberjack, Dentex, Tuna "Tunnus thynnus", Gilt-head
bream "Chrysophrys aurata" and Bonito "Sarda
It is surprising to see the number of one-handed
men there are in these families, a reminder from the old days
- but not that long ago - when all these big banks of fish
were caught with dynamite. Very effective, but very risky.
Some say that is probably why so many sharks were also caught
around this area. Lots of dead fish (and some human fingers)
often remained in the water.
We wake up from a two-hour siesta, the Sun
is going down and there is nobody left on the beach. The beautiful
mermaid has disappeared. (Did she say she comes from Copenhagen,
or was it Berlin? When did this happen? Earlier today? Or
was it thirty years ago?).
Maybe it was just the Sun and the wine.
Or the magic of the place. Who cares! Thanks anyway!
Now it is not too hot, the proper time for
a walk. We'll go uphill, to the "Pirates tower"
right in front of "Es Vedra", on top of the cliff
two hundred metres above the sea from where we can observe
one of the best Sunsets on the whole Planet Earth.
For the next hour or so, we'll watch the
Sun disappearing behind the Spanish coastline, far away over
the Western horizon.
What a good Artist's hand! What a brief
yet eternal and so colourful a masterpiece!
My eyes are full of light, but I can hear
the darkness growing. A nice fresh breeze rises up and...
it's time to go!
The Good News
The good news for this week comes from Brussels.
The European Government has approved seventeen
of the Spanish projects for the Environment. The money is
in hand to go ahead with them.
Among them at least three are exclusive
for the Balearic Islands.
Out of 621,000 euros (Pesetas 103 million),
more or less fifty percent goes to protect and help to increase
the number of autochthonous "Voltor": the vultures
of Mallorca. Without these plans, the vulture has no chance
of a future, just a few decades at the most. Let's hope that
we are still in time.
The rest is to be spent on the protection
of the autochthonous Flora in Menorca.
The most important one is 3 million euros
(Pesetas 481million) for the conservation of "Posidonia"
the famed sea grass.
The Balearic prairies of Posidonia were
declared "Patrimonio de la Humanidad" in the late
1990s because of the enormous importance of this plant for
the ecological equilibrium of our seabed and its Fauna.
José P Ribas