To the southwest of Santa Ponça in the Calvià municipality one finds a cluster of small islands with the names of Illa dels Conills (also known as Islote de ses Rates), L’Olla and Es Malgrat, extending over a length of approximately 2.5 km and covering some 138 ha. This archipelago of Malgrat-Olla-Conills was declared a Reserva Marina (Marine Reserve) in 2004, together with that of nearby Illa Toro. Marine reserves in Mallorca do not quite have the full protection of nature reserves but are sheltered to a considerable degree. Thanks to this protection, a great number of species find a safe refuge here, where they may reproduce in peace, maintaining a natural age structure and diversity. Algae, fish, jellyfish and coral, as well as extensive fields of underwater sea grass meadows of Posidonia oceánica coexist in this area, together with sepias, moray eels, seabass, sea horses, octupus macropus, seacows and red starfish, to name but a few. On land, one can find the protected Corys shearwater, swifts, cormorants and puffins, as well as the Balearic lizard.
One can only get to these small islands by boat or by swimming. Once there, certain kinds of fishing are prohibited: scuba fishing, professional fishing, artisan fishing and fishing competitions. Individual fishing is permitted, i. e. fishing with rod and reel, as long as a valid fishing license is secured. But the fishing of certain species of fish is prohibited: the Angel fish, the Freckled catshark, the Spotted torpedo, and sea horses. Some crustaceans are also protected, such as crabs and crawfish and some species of molluscs such as the Marine Snail, the Astraea Rugosa and the Octopus, to name but a few.
Swimming as well as paddling in canoes or kayaks is allowed. Diving is allowed for individuals once the special permits have been obtained locally, or as part of organised excursions, which are offered from local diving schools. Catamaran excursions are available at a price on a regular basis during the winter months.
If you just want to have a distant look at the islotes, Cap Negret in Santa Ponça affords some splendid views over the Malgrat archipelago, absolutely free of charge.
The photo was borrowed from the Internet. My thanks go to Diario de Mallorca. The map was also borrowed from the Web, courtesy of Guía Náutica de las Islas Baleares.