The Port Authority in Mallorca

Ports in Spain and the Merchant Marine are managed by state-owned institutions called port authorities, ultimately a section of the Ministerio del Interior in Madrid and the Spanish government, depending on the Ministry of Public Works and Economy. The Autoridad Portuaria de Baleares (Port Authority of the Balearic Islands) is assigned to the management of the ports of Palma de Mallorca, Alcúdia, Mahon, Ibiza and La Savina (Formentera).

The Port Authority of the Balearic Islands is about to move into new headquarters at the Moll Vell in the harbour of Palma. A new construction has gone up on the site of the former Trasmediterránea building, busy up to some twenty years ago but abandoned since the late Nineties. For generations of visitors to Mallorca, the old Trasmediterránea building had been a landmark acting as a meeting point and forwarding station for messages, mail and communication, not unlike the American Express office in Paris during the Forties and Fifties. The new Port Authority headquarters were built, integrating parts of the old construction and its modernist façade, to an estimated budget of 18,000,000 Euros but seem to have finally come in at a total sum of 20,472,223 Euros, if the official figures are to be trusted. That’s quite a lot of money, don’t you think?

The photo (top) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 4th, 2012. The time was 17:52:27. The photos (centre and bottom) were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es (centre) and portsdebalears.com (bottom)

Muchas gracias.

The Port Authority in Mallorca

The Baliza de sa Punta Plana

I am not quite sure what a Baliza is. From afar it looks just like any old lighthouse. Perhaps a Baliza is a secondary lighthouse of smaller proportions with a shorter reach of signal. Anyway, the Baliza de sa Punta Plana can be found near s’Estanyol de Migjorn (419 inhabitants), not far from Sa Rapita. The small lighthouse is not listed on the Faros de Baleares (Balearic Lighthouses) website, nor is any other smaller lighthouse such as the one in Colònia de Sant Jordi, to give just one more example. But let me quote from that website; there seems to be a classification by focal distance of lighthouse signals:

In the 19th Century, lighthouses were classified into six orders, following the French practice. This classification was based on the focal distance of the lighthouse’s optic; the most powerful were the lighthouses of the 1st Order with 900 mm focal distance optics and the least, those of the 6th Order with much smaller optics of 150 mm of focal distance.

The photos were taken near s’Estanyol de Migjorn, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 24th, 2012. The time was 16:31:28 and 16:28:35, respectively.

The Baliza de sa Punta Plana

Happy Seaplane Landings in Portocolom

Unless you live near Port de Pollença, there aren’t many opportunities to see a seaplane landing or alighting anywhere in Mallorca. Unless you lived in Portocolom in 1922-23. Then, there existed a seaplane navigation school in Portocolom, believe it or not, the Escuela de Hidroaviación Civil, only the second such civil facility in all of Spain. Sadly, there was not much uptake in students willing to, or affluent enough to afford to, learn the handling of a seaplane and all that is involved, such as amphibious operations, aeroplane mechanics, maritime navigation, you name it. For lack of students or money or both, the Escuela de Hidroaviación Civil de Portocolom closed down for good after only six months of operation. What a shame. The founder of the seaplane school, Àngel Orté Abad, a pilot, went to Catalunya instead to set up shop there.

Portocolom is celebrating the Festividad de Sant Jaume today, July 25th, and over the next few days. To mark the occasion, the landing of a historic seaplane is scheduled on the water of the harbour of Portocolom, this afternoon at around 19h00. I shall be there. A plaque will be unveiled at the spot where the Escuela de Hidroaviación Civil de Portocolom used to be located, in Carrer de la Mare de Déu, to coincide with today’s happy landing.

And a meeting will be held at Portocolom’s new Centre Cívic tonight at 22h00 with an address given by Miquel Buades Socias (Hidroavions a Portocolom – Inicios de la aviación en Mallorca, 1919-1923). I think, admission will be free. I might just go there as well. It sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

The top three photos were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es. The photo (bottom) was borrowed the Internet, courtesy of ajfelanitx.net.

Muchas gracias, and

moltes gràcies.

Happy Seaplane Landings in Portocolom

All is Not Well in Portocolom

All is not well in Portocolom. This puerto on the East coast of this island enjoys Mallorca’s largest natural harbour bay. Now, there is reason for concern; Portocolom’s harbour basin and its marine ecosystem are at risk.

A report by IMEDEA (Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies) was published earlier this week in the journal Estuaries and Coasts. Scientists from IMEDEA, UIB (University of the Balearic Islands) and CSIC (Higher Council for Scientific Research) have warned that the bay of Portocolom is in danger due to lack of oxygen, excess nutrients and rising global sea temperature in the area. Research carried out during 2009 and 2010 suggests that “a combination of local stress factors such as human overextend and the gradual global warming threaten marine ecosystems of this Mallorcan port and thus, its conservation”. Apparently, increasing water temperature in Portocolom decreases oxygen which marine organisms need to live.

The study was performed in order to stop the deterioration of the marine ecosystem in Portocolom. The study was undertaken by researchers at the CSIC, Raquel Vaquer-Sunyer, Carlos M. Duarte, Gabriel Jordà and Sergio Ruiz-Halpern.

What a nuisance, just as the batle (mayor) of Felanitx, Gabriel Tauler, was getting ready to expand the mooring facilities for boats in Portocolom. Does he read the IMEDEA studies? Will someone tell him? Does he care?

The photo was taken in Portocolom, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 7th, 2012. The time was 17:41:04.

All is Not Well in Portocolom

Biodiversity and Conservation

The Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats (IMEDEA, Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies) is a research centre, jointly run by the Consell Superior d’Investigacions Científiques (CSIC) and the Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB). The objective of IMEDEA is to develop high-quality scientific and technical research in the area of Natural Resources, with special emphasis on interdisciplinary research in the Mediterranean area.

One of the many projects of IMEDEA is the Estació d’Investigació Costanera, a Coastal Investigation Centre, based at the Cap Salines lighthouse, near Ses Salines (see photo). The Investigation Centre busies itself with observation and research of the marine environment, especially that of the Reserva Marina del Migjorn de Mallorca, a marine protection area covering the southern part of Mallorca’s coast and stretching from Cap Blanc in the West to Cala Figuera in the East. There are three other Reservas Marinas in Mallorca, the Reserva Marina de la Bahía de Palma, the Reserva Marina del Levante de Mallorca, and the Reserva Marina de las Islas Malgrats. They all come under the supervision of the Coastal Investigation Centre and are all overseen by the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, together with the Conselleria d’Agricultura, Medi Ambient i Territori of the Govern de les Illes Balears.

For further information you can get inspired by concerns such as Biodiversity and Conservation, Ecology and Marine Resources, Global Change Research, and Marine Technologies, Operational Oceanography and Sustainability, courtesy of the IMEDEA website, if you so wish.

The photo was taken near Ses Salines, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 9th, 2012. The time was 16:28:01.

Biodiversity and Conservation

The Cap Salines Lighthouse

There are 14 lighthouses in Mallorca, plus three on the island of Sa Dragonera and two on the archipelago of Cabrera. The Far del Cap Salines lighthouse is Mallorca’s most southerly situated lighthouse. It was first put into operation in 1863. An acetylene hydrocarbon lighting system was introduced in 1917 and converted to electricity in 1957. In that year, the height of the tower was also raised by 6.5 metres to increase the range of its signal.

In the 1980s, this lighthouse was equipped with photovoltaic panels and became the first in Spain to be solar-powered.

The photo (top) was taken near Ses Salines, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 9th, 2012. The time was 16:26:30. The photos (centre and bottom) were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of farsdebalears.org.

Muchas gracias.

The Cap Salines Lighthouse

The Caleta des Portals Vells

Sometimes blogging is an endless accumulation of irritation and annoyance. To me anyway.

For a couple of months now I have been meaning to take a photo of the lighthouse of Cala Figuera in Calvià. I went there in December but somehow missed the turning on the new motorway to suddenly find myself in Andratx. No lighthouse there. Nothing unpleasant about Andratx, though. I took some photos of the Castell de Son Mas instead and had a coffee. That was rewarding enough.

Yesterday I had another go at finding the lighthouse of Cala Figuera. Try as I did and ask as I would, I simply could not find it. I was told that I was near, it was just around the corner so to speak, but I simply could not locate the access to the Faro or find the coastal stretch opposite the bay. I must have driven up and down the area of El Toro and Can Ferrer, Sol de Mallorca and Magaluf for at least three hours to no avail. I was told that the lighthouse is situated on land that is designated for military purposes and thus, not accessible to the public. I was prepared to have a sneak anyway, if only I could have found the access. Eventually I ended up in a wooded area with heavy shooting going on. First I thought it was hunters; it is the hunting season now and only until the end of this month. But no. I seem to have ended up near or actually on a Finca assigned to Clay Pigeon shooting. I hastily made my retreat.

The reward for my odyssey was a secluded playa, the Caleta des Portals Vells, a beach that I had never been to before. It was perfect. The weather was blissful, I was in good company, the sea was quiet, the air was fresh and clean, the island was completely quiet and peaceful, and there was no shooting anywhere near. There were perhaps 20 people dotted about. The beach bar was closed. It may be hell here during the summer but in January, this fortuitous outing was a real delight.

The lighthouse will have to wait. Third time lucky, I hope.

This is what the lighthouse in question looks like from the bird’s-eye view. Not that I have ever seen it myself.

The photo (top) was taken near Magaluf, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 21st, 2012. The time was 13:13:27. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of farsdebalears.org.

Moltes gràcies.

The Caleta des Portals Vells