Summer 2021 Project Under The Med Sea. Late Spring May – Mid June

All this summer as much as I can I’ve been visiting a magical world. A world I discovered last year on holiday in Mallorca. A world whose outer bubble I see everyday but never give much thought what’s under the surface. A world I’ve only glimpsed at in photos. A world all winter I couldn’t wait to visit as summer came. A world that holds so much allure and mystery humans still haven’t explored perhaps even 1/3 of it. 

Almost every week I’ve snorkelled with a cloud of baby fish. One week they’re super tiny, the next almost teenagers

It started with P wanting me to snorkel. Mallorca is perhaps one of the best places in the Western Mediterranean to snorkel. In the summer the waters are warm, clear and rocky. Rocks perfect for fish, warm and clear perfect for humans to visit without having to suit up. Back in Barcelona I got little sad. I didn’t think I could snorkel or visit under the sea until the following summer. It’s a city beach, there’s not going to be anything hanging around in the water. That changed the day I saw a flash of silver treading water. The next day I took my googles and snorkel. A few days later so P and others would believe me there’s fish along the city beaches his old Go Pro. The Go Pro turned into an Olympus Tough 6 with this year since about late May as often as I can I’ve been in the water visiting the city fish. It might not be the best, clearest waters however it’s world I feel’s secret as few snorkel where I go. That’s changed a bit this year as Decathlon opened up in a local mall with easy access to snorkels more have been visiting, but I think most on the beach think I’m crazy. 

My friends! Saddled Sea Breams

I always believe salt water cures almost anything. Having a bad day, it’s too hot, having a good day, that cooling hug it gives as you take dip makes you forget about everything. When I watch the fish just be, everything slips away. The sea and it’s inhabitants don’t know about how your day’s been, how’s your week’s been, they don’t care if you’re happy or sad. They’re just going about eating, trying not to be prey, hunting, just being. In a crazy way I’ve made friends with a few. Okay maybe not friends, but they always say hi if they’re around. Saddled sea breams are known to be friendly but are probably just checking me out. From visiting almost daily for about 3 months I feel kinda protective of them and the rest of the fish I’ve seen travelling this summer. They don’t know about what’s happening outside of where they live. They might be noticing climate change, they might not be. They haven’t got a voice to fight back to say help like land animals can (maybe Orcas are as they’re the oceans bullies. One rogue pod has been attacking boats in the Med and Atlantic. El Pais in English who first reported it. BBC article). I don’t have to tell you their habitats are changing. For most they’ll only do something when there’s nearly no fish to eat.

Sunken treasure! A Barcelona street paving tile. As I more of less snorkel in the same area I recognise the rocks but I’ve never found this tile again

The below photos are from late May to mid June. I’d had the camera all winter only to test it out 2 minutes before going in. It’s point and shoot right? Nope. There’s a little more to it Nat hence the bad photography and for now they’re jpegs. The sea bottom back in May and June had a lot of seaweed/plants growing. Now in August there’s more peacock’s tail. Yep I got a Mediterranean marine ID book 🤓 And yes I spook myself out when the visibility’s low. When I didn’t know what was just beneath the shoreline when I swam or treaded water I didn’t freak out much. Now I know what’s under there, for every big fish, there’s an even bigger fish…

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July 2020 Buck Moon

July’s full moon’s a Buck Moon named after bucks antlers starting to regrow. Its other name’s Thunder Moon as July can be thunder stormy crazy (this year, Barcelona was thunder stormy in September).

Full moon rise and volley ball

It was also an extra special full moon, another penumbral lunar eclipse like in June’s Strawberry moon. The moon crosses through the faint outer edge of Earth’s shadow aka the penumbra making part of the Moon appearing slightly darker the usual.

I didn’t take many shots of the moon in July. The zoo where I take most of my moon shots has changed its opening hours due to Covid-19, closing at the time previous summers the ticket office was last entry. I get longer at the zoo however the light’s different with moon yet to rise or be visible at the zoo. I’ve included this month’s Moon series some summer light shots, flowers, butterflies, animals soaking up the sun enjoying one the hottest months of the year and my favourite season, summer 🙂

Moon rise
The only way too cool off in the summer. Sea lion Barcelona Zoo
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Parc de la Ciutadella #2

Back in June I shared photos from my morning phasing out of lockdown time slotted freedom bike rides to Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona’s most famous city park and my favourite park.

When the lockdown down ended, my gym still wasn’t open. To make up the distance there and back and to get some greenery and wildlife I cycled to the park after the beach in the afternoons (afternoon in Spain ends around 8-9pm)/early evenings. When my gym, climbing gym and zoo reopened I tried to make the park a few times a week. While I miss the quietness of the mornings the park’s back to being less busy in the afternoons now everybody’s at the beach, work or still staying at home. The early evenings during lockdown freedom hours it was the bar and pub replacement local hangout. It has now a different kind of quietness to the mornings. Ducks and geese are getting ready to nap with the water less busy. I’ve only just learnt ducks can sleep on the water, head tucked under a wing and are diurnal being active at night. I’ve even seen some rats climb up and run along railings.

Last morning lockdown ride to the park

Sadly the nights are getting shorter and soon my rides to the park becoming less as gyms have reopened after the 2nd lockdown (recommended to stay at home) ended. I still try to get there once a week to cycle around now around dusk for greenery, hearing birds sing, watching the ducks and geese, cycling with the bats (yep, nerdy!). Beach is first if I can get there before the sun sinks behind buildings. I can’t go before 15.30 even at the weekends as the sun’s too strong. I’ve now started snorkelling (In the sea, not in this mini lake! I’d get arrested! I wouldn’t want to anyway. It gets so dirty they have to empty it every now and then and refill). I get to see what the ducks, seagulls, cormorants see when they dive.

Most of the photos were taken in June and July when the light was nice and bright and of the boating lake. I used to like watching out for the ducklings checking the Mamas didn’t loose any. I don’t think they did! As usual, I’m a sh*t editor posting way too many photos. Enjoy!

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Summer 2020 Essentials

Today I’m sharing my favourite season summer, essentials! Summer goes by so fast. I’m always sad when autumn fall kicks in. I love the heat, the longer days, being able to go in the sea, the colours, the lesser layers to wear, the freedom that summer has.

Clockwise from orange juice. Please excuse the flat lay, I’m not that good at them.

Orange Juice Boost

When it starts to get warmer, I start to crave fresh orange juice. I think it’s the sugar in it that helps my body with the heat. It can quench thirst almost as good as water and I always feel awake and refreshed afterwards. 

Body Lotion 

I finally found a body lotion that works! Sadly there’s a lot of plastic involved, however Instituto Español do a vegan body lotion, Natura Madre Tierra Body lotion that my skin likes, keeps hydrated all day, works with sunscreen on top and isn’t that expensive for how much I get through.

Water Bottle

Goes everywhere with me when I’m out! Hydration, hydration, hydration! 

Snacks

I always try to have emergency snacks when out. This summer it’s been almonds and dried mango. 

Scrunchies 

These are kinder to hair once you find ones that work for your hair. I prefer Kitsch satin scrunchies but I can’t get them in Spain. These I got from Berskha. They’re not as good, my hair at least once a week gets tangled up in them, however they’re much kinder on my hair that regular elastic hairbands/ties. They also add a pop of colour. 

Hand Sanitiser

I don’t like the pretolum ingredients in them, but I can’t avoid them until alcohol plant based ones are available. 

Sunglasses

Essential not only for reducing wrinkles but protecting the eyes from the sun. A few years ago I started wearing polarised lenses and never when back to regular sunglasses. Oakley do the best polarised glasses and I like colour lenses as all black or all brown sunglasses are too dark for my colouring. 

Mask 

Summer 2020 and possibly summer 2021 mandatory item. I avoid disposal masks due to the waste they generate and resources in production. It took a while to find an all cotton one that didn’t cost the earth now people are cashing in the the mask market. These I got from El Corte Ingles, €5 for 2 which are reusable, washable and that I can breath through easily on a hot day. I also have some white ones that are really lightweight however being white, they weren’t white for long. I dyed them blue when dying a pair of shorts and now have lightweight masks for indoor/gym climbing. It’s like you need an assortment of masks depending on what you’re doing. 

Sunglasses

Essential not only for reducing wrinkles but protecting the eyes from the sun. A few years ago I started wearing polarised lenses and never when back to regular sunglasses. Oakley do the best polarised glasses and I like colour lenses as all black or all brown sunglasses are too dark for my colouring. 

Aloha Collection Pouches 

I discovered Aloha Collection on holiday in Oahu earlier this year initially only purchasing one, only to buy more. They’re great at stowing away wet/damp bikinis after the beach without getting everything else in your bag wet. They’re not 100% waterproof as the seams aren’t but they are splash proof so nothing leaks. They’re great too travelling for clothes, accessories, cosmetics, cables, ipads keeping everything organised even if inside pouches isn’t or just as a bag out. They’re expensive as is international shipping, but they’re worth the money. They’re also pretty to look at. So pretty I don’t want to use them in case I ruin them! 

Baseball Cap 

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Summer

Long time no see! How’s your summer? 

Mine got a little busy with everyday life, holiday in Mallorca, Mac iPhoto misbehaving and something had to take back seat for a while. Sadly natjtan. It got a little frustrating, but like an old Chinese proverb I saved from an Li BingBing Instyle Magazine Interview back when I used to read it: Time is like water in a sponge. You can always find it if you squeeze hard enough. Another way of saying if you want it, you’ll make time or find a way. I always feel I can never commit myself to things 100% as there’s always something else calling me or needs doing in a house of chores. Forget the evenings. My eyes are so heavy they just want to close. 

Castelldefels

P was here for a while so I couldn’t do as much as usual (he knows that), gyms closed for a local recommneded stay at home ‘lockdown’ for a few weeks due to a raise in covid-19 cases along with the zoo, cinemas, bars and restaurants back to reduced capacity. My gym and the city council along with a few other gyms petitioned against the regional government’s decision to close the gyms under the hastag #deporteessalud: sport is health rebelling initially against the closure. The Justice court overturned the gym closure decision. I was getting more demotivated everyday to workout at home, putting off for later. After 3 months working out at home then back at the gym for a month, then at home again I really missed the gym. Even if I don’t talk to anyone there, I concentrate better, it’s air conditioned, I get out the house. The zoo petitioned to stay open, reopening 5 days later after joining both my gym, climbing gym in being rebels staying open. The zoo on its initial reopening after the end of lockdown already had a Covid-19 Global Safe Site certificate and a Safe Tourism Certified seal, yet they had to reclose again too.

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