Dead Dolphins

First the good news. There is a surprising prevalence of dolphins in the waters surrounding the Balearic Isles. Species found around Mallorca include the Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis), Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus), the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus) and the White-Sided Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus). Dolphins are often found swimming alongside fishing boats and can sometimes even be seen in coastal coves, here. Of course, you can also see dolphins at Marineland in Costa d’en Blanes and at the Palma Aquarium. Not quite the same, though, but a much safer bet if you want to be sure of a close encounter with the intelligent and friendly marine mammals.

Now the bad news. For some reasons, every now and then a dead dolphin is found on the shores of Mallorca. Yesterday, there was a beached dolphin at the Platja d’es Trenc near Colònia de Sant Jordi (shown here). I could not find any information as to why the dolphins die or beach-up. Some smaller ones may get tangled in one of those enormous fishing nets or else, they may receive injuries from boats or jet-skies. The good people at Marineland seem to have the ultimate expertise on dolphins in Mallorcan waters, if you should want to find out more on the subject.

Just to make up for the sad image (photo centre), here is a short video clip from YouTube, showing a small school of dolphins off the coast of Cabo Blanco. Enjoy.

The photo (top) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of flickr.com and miquelsalas. The photo (centre) was borrowed by my friend Lazlo Aust. It was taken near Colònia de Sant Jordi, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 29th, 2012. The time was 16:35:15. The video was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of YouTube and xatino.

Thank you very much, vielen Dank, and

muchas gracias.

Dead Dolphins

The Organ Matinées in Alaró

The Iglesia Parroquia de San Bartolomé, the parish church of Alaró, is the venue for Organ Matinées every Saturday morning. Yesterday, April 28th, Els matins de l’orgue were celebrated for the 250th time with works by César Franck, Camille Saint-Saëns, Johann Sebastian Bach and Louis Lefébure-Wely, among others.

The church organ in Alaró was built during the 18th century by Mallorcan organ builder Pere Josep Bosch and reconditioned by Gerhard Grenzing in 2006, when this cycle of Organ Matinées first started.

The resident organist, Miquel Bennàssar, gives most of the weekly recitals but now and then, some of the best organists in Europe are invited to perform. If you missed yesterday’s Els matins de l’orgue, there will be another one next Saturday, May 5th, at 11h30. Admission is free.

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of solamentemusica.es.

Muchas gracias.

The Organ Matinées in Alaró

Bunyola

I am quite sure that I have not covered Bunyola yet on this blog, other than a reference to its Hospital Joan March when I got a beating from one distressed relative for mentioning the word death.

There is evidence of some prehistoric quadrangular settlements nearby such as Son Palou, Pujol and s’Alqueria Blanca. The Romans were here too as is manifested by sa Mina des Moros , also known as Galena de Son Creus, which also was in use during the Byzantine period. During the Islamic period, Bunyola belonged to the Juz’ of Bunyûla-Mûsû, as did nearby Esporles, Valldemossa, Deià and some parts of Banyalbufar.

Bunyola is probably best known for its train station. The Palma to Sóller train has stopped here almost since the inauguration of its line in 1912. Other well known attractions are at close range, such as Raixa, Alfàbia and Aurient (Orient). Bunyola is also popular with cyclists and mountain hikers; four or five mountains rise within easy reach and all above 968 metres, such as Puig des TeixSa Rateta and Alfàbia. Less demanding hikes or walks can be had on lower altitudes at Talaia de Cals Reis, Puig de Ses Crestes, Penyal d’Honor or Es Castellet. You should come and check it out.

The photo was taken in Bunyola, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 2nd, 2012. The time was 17:15:25.

Bunyola

Wild Gladioluses

One of my many Mallorcan delights is a small and delicate wild flower with up to twelve soft purple florets. They are wild gladioluses (Gladiolus italicus), also known as Common Sword Lily, a native to all four major Balearic isles. The wild beauty grows on the edge of wheat, rye or oats fields. The flower usually comes out in May and June but this year, everything seems a bit early. Even Summer, if we are lucky.

The photo (top) was taken near Manacor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 26th, 2012. The time was 11:38:04. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of pbase.com and ftd.

Thank you very much.

Wild Gladioluses

La Porta de Xara in Alcúdia

The old town of Alcúdia used to be surrounded by a fortified Mediaeval city wall, built during the 14th century and modified during the 16th century. The Southern and Western remnants of this bulwark are still largely intact; one can climb up and walk along most of its remaining expanse. Two massive gates are part of that wall, Porta de Mallorca, also known also as Porta de Sant Sebastià (the Western gate) and Porta de Xara, also known also as Porta de Moll (the Eastern gate), shown here. The Porta de Xara still preserves its original Mediaeval portcullis, carpentered in wood some 400 years ago (photo below).

The photos were taken in Alcúdia, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: March 30th, 2012. The time was 13:11:13 and 13:07:22, respectively.

La Porta de Xara in Alcúdia

Sant Marc and the Fate of Snails

I have a few admissions to make, this Day of Sant Marc (Mark the Evangelist). For some reason, this is the day when tradition in Mallorca calls for the celebration of Caragoladas, snail eating banquets.

Admission no. one: I have taken lots of photos of snails over the years in all shapes and sizes, alive or boiled, on the plate or in the field, in the nature or in Mallorca’s markets but right now, I can’t find any of my snail photos just as I would need one. I seem to lack in keywording abilities or in more efficient photo archiving. I am sorry but I had to borrow a photo from Wikimedia.

Admission no. two: I am at a total loss as to why Sant Marc is associated with the eating of snails. The snail eating capital of Mallorca seems to be Sineu, but Algaïda and Sant Jordi are big snail eating communities as well. In Sant Jordi, an annual snail race is held, albeit a bit later, in mid-May. Sineu is celebrating its patron’s day today, Sant Marc, with the usual Wednesday market in an extra special, festive edition, whilst banks and offices have a festive day off. I believe that the Palau dels Reis will be open for visits today in Sineu as well. Sineu is also the place where Caragols-Mallorca resides, Mallorca’s largest snail breeders.

I am sorry if I may sound a bit vague today but there you are. I don’t know everything, so there.

The photo (top) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of wikimedia.org. and the photographer, Thomas Schoch. The photo (bottom) was chosen from my archive. It was taken near Petra, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 9th, 2008. The time was 15:33:58.

Thank you very much, and

vielen Dank.

Sant Marc and the Fate of Snails

Coastal Public Domain

Walking along the Mallorcan coastline, you will inevitably stumble across some hitos (Castellano) or fites (Catalan), boundary stones fixing the demarcation of the maritime border.

In 1988, when the Spanish Ley de Costas was approved, all Spanish coastlines were declared Dominio público marítimo terrestre (Public Domain), granting the general public a right of access. In theory this right of access was meant to stretch 100 m from the waterfront. Here in Mallorca we find ourselves lucky if a corridor with a width of 20 m is maintained. Just recently, there were newspaper reports claiming that the Ley de Costas instigated by the government under Felipe González is likely to be watered down by the current conservative administration. We shall have to wait and see. The boundary stones used to be simple markers made of sandstone whilst now new ones have been placed made of concrete and fitted with a metal plaque. In my photo you can see old and new ones, side by side. In fact, often the new marking stones are quite a way removed from the old boundary markers and quite often, are further inland.

The photo was taken near Colònia de Sant Pere, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 22nd, 2012. The time was 12:28:45.

Coastal Public Domain