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…

Continue reading “Summer 2021 Project Under The Med Sea. Late Spring May – Mid June”

Winter Ducks and Geese

Due to recent covid-19 restrictions in Cataluna, aka gyms closed, to get my bike ride that would have been to the gym I cycled to Parc Ciutadella to see the ducks.

Cataluna for most of January closed gyms, shopping malls, restricted bar and restaurant hours amongst other covid-19 measures. As infection levels are dropping in Cataluna they’re easing restrictions this week (although I’m sure this has something to do with Catalan elections next week). I’m just happy gyms have reopened. I don’t always have the same motivation to workout at home as I do going to a gym. I’m happy too I can indoor climb again! Sometimes it was dark, other times I made it out in daylight hours to the park. Most of the time the ducks and geese were around for snacks. I was happy the park was open and I’ll for sure continue to drop by to say hi to the ducks and feed them now gyms are open!

I started around the end of December taking bread to feed them and the geese. A few geese were so polite, making sure they got front row seats with gentle sweet tiny honks asking for more. Any ducks that got close they just did a neck sweep. The ducks make a ton noise swimming across the pond as if to tell everyone there’s bread. When they get close a few chase away others but I’ve noticed the younger females are a little timid (can tell by size) and swim away if it’s too busy. I make sure to throw bread in their direction. When the seagulls are around it get crazy. Seagulls have amazing vertical aerial take off skills, are up in the air as soon as you raise your hand. They seem to know exactly where the bread is going to land, loads diving down at the same time. Both the geese and ducks close their eyes and duck out of the way as if to avoid getting stabbed in the eye. As the seagulls are so quick you can kinda fool them for a moment to give the ducks and geese an opportunity for bread by raising your hand as if to throw in one direction which the seagulls follow and then throwing it in the other direction. This only works a few times as the seagulls learn quick. 

I swear the few times I visited the ducks without food, they bitched at each other she has nothing. Both the ducks and geese turned towards each other, swam away quacking as if to say, nothing this time, puh!

Continue reading “Winter Ducks and Geese”

Flamingos, Calpe

I can’t believe I haven’t shared before seeing wild flamingos from a few years ago! Real life flamingos not zoo flamingos. 

This flock lives on an old Roman salt mine now a lagoon, Las Salines de Calpe a Nature Park and Reserve in Calpe, Alicante, Spain. I was surprised that weren’t as pink as I’d thought they be and by how much larger and taller they were than the ones at Barcelona Zoo. Their necks appear longer than the American and Chilean flamingos at the zoo. Sometimes I feel sad for the ones at the zoo. Their flight feathers are removed and when they try to get air I feel bad for them. It’s always different to see them free. I have spilt views on zoos here.

Please excuse the quality of the photos. They were taken a few years ago before I understood more depth of field, light etc. 

Only handful were pink. Maybe they knew the best brine shrimp, algae and larvae spots!

Continue reading “Flamingos, Calpe”

Weekend Friday Favourites

Happy October!

Weekend Friday Favourites is back! Hopefully for longer this time! 

How’s your weekend? I’m bitter sweet sad autumn fall’s here and it’s temperature early. The care free summer days are over until next year. This year mid autumn temps have hit 20/22C early. 20C’s chilly! You can keep your pumpkin spice, cosy knits and crock pots. This girl doesn’t do layers. She likes summer warmth and the wardrobe that comes with it. The sweet part, I get more stuff done I’m not tempted by the heat, beach, sea.

Anyways Weekend Friday Favourites, things that have made me smile or caught my eye the past few months.

Snorkelling 

Photos from the P’s Go Pro. I’m working on settings

I mentioned in Summer I started snorkelling on holiday. I really thought that was it until next summer. Taking a dip at the beach I go to, I saw flash of silver. The next day I took my snorkel and couldn’t believe how many fish have been beneath me just off the shoreline. P recommended a beach he sometimes swims at, however after seeing that flash, I put everything together with the rocky bit just out at ‘my’ beach. It’s teaming with life! 

Photos from the P’s Go Pro. I’m working on settings

As often as I can I’ve been snorkelling. I could go to other beaches, but this one I know, it’s safe and much quieter compared to other Barcelona beaches. I’m getting much better with my swimming and even now have a rashie (partly due to I spent too much time in the water and at the beach that day and burnt my back. Bonus of one, it keeps me warmer!)! P’s kindly lent me his Go Pro as I don’t think me believed me when I reported back what I’ve seen. It’s tricky trying to indentiy online, however I’m sure I’ve seen small mullets, for sure sea breams, flanders to name a few. My favourites are saddled sea breams. Always curious and say hi. The highlights: a cormorant diving and hunting. All the fish kept clearing fast. Out the corner of my eye I saw what I though first was a big fish or turtle (I know, how?) and then webbed feet. I thought maybe a duck as I tried to keep out of its way. When it surfaced I realised it was a cormorant. I felt so lucky to see it hunt and sorry for the fish. Another highlight an octopus! All this metres from shore! I ordered an Olympus Tough 6 which has only just arrived and sadly I’m not sure how I’m going to go when it gets colder. A wetsuit for sure, but it’s the logistics of belongings, people around if I get in trouble. I’m already convinced that the sea level is starting it’s winter level as the beach seems bigger if that makes sense. This girl might have to read weather and tides to go midday.

Aloha Collection Big Island Flower Collection 

I’ve mentioned before my love for Aloha Collection pouches. On holiday I used them a lot and was surprised how much they pack. I wasn’t going to get any more. I had my eye on a few but said no. You have enough. That was until they released Hibiscus from their Big Island collection. My excuse I used them a lot travel and everyday, plus hibiscuses are one on my favourite flowers. My Aloha Collection pouches has grown and I’ve banned myself from the site 🙊 I can look but not buy.

Continue reading “Weekend Friday Favourites”

The Magic of Parc de la Ciutadella

The past few weeks during time slotted exercise hours I switched the coast for the park. As much as I love the sea I needed some greenery!

It was a little emotional my first ride cycling past the zoo and around Parc de la Ciutadella. After 7 weeks lockdown indoors, 2 week cycling up the coast, then being hit with greenery, birds singing and flying everywhere, I nearly burst into tears. I had missed what being outside surrounded by trees not just the sea felt like, how I missed being surrounded by nature. Now we’re in phase 2 the beaches are open to sunbathe and take a dip, exercise hours dropped save the over 70’s time slots, we’re allowed to go outside as many times as we want. That said the park only has it’s peaceful magic in the mornings. The afternoons and evenings the place gets loud with humans. When I can I’ll still take my early morning bike rides to the park for its quietness. I get to see the sea up close cycling there and back. That is until the zoo opens where when everybody’s at the beach if you time it right it’s like you have the place to yourself (my view on zoos here) when I can do both the beach and zoo. A little balance of both.

The ducks and geese early morning like to preen and sunbathe as do the turtles. Later on in the day I’ve noticed they either hang around the easy spot for food or take a nap.

Continue reading “The Magic of Parc de la Ciutadella”