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Approaching the Autumn equinox, I am reminiscing about a summer flown by with an emotion that comes closest to nostalgia. For the flirtatious flow of mainly an outstanding August makes me homesick for a myriad of magical moments of sea swimming (observing the beautiful Posidonia), sun soaking & sand (or rock or boat house ramp) snuggling at one of the countless calas our beachful Ibiza has to offer.
I am referring to moments so close to perfection, you wish you could capture & conserve them in a jar to indulge in on a drizzly day.
One of the main ingredients of this seaside sublimity is indisputably that daily dive into the blue-green, crystal clear water that hugs the island together & makes it into what it actually is: an island.
Besides the hypnotising waving of waves & soothing sound of the swell & surf, there’s the potent healing power of salt water, put poetically by the Indian polymath & poet Rabindranath Tagore: “Saltwater heals, healing referring to its various forms; tears, cleanses & heals the soul; sweat, cleanses through labor; the ocean, heals in all its forms.”
(For further findings on the power of salt water check this article: http://theconversation.com/vital-for-life-heat-and-power-what-you-never-knew-about-salt-water-102764)
So, have you ever really reflected on how the surrounding sea turns out to be so see-through?
Well, the one to hold accountable & herewith the hero of this story & blogpost is called Posidonia Oceanica, a seagrass species abundantly encircling the island, that’s appropriately been named after the Greek god of the sea (as well as of earthquakes & horses as a matter of fact.)
Let’s dive a bit deeper into this god-given underwater wonder!
First fact: Posidonia Oceanica only occurs in the Mediterranean.
Secondly, to the contrary of what people think, it is not an algae, but a marine plant with roots, a stem, leaves, fruits & flowers. As a result its effect is similar to that of a forest like the Amazon, carrying out photosynthesis like any other plant, absorbing carbon-dioxide & producing 10 liters of oxygen per day per square meter.
The Posidonia plant is one of the world’s oldest & largest living beings, with an age of over 100,000 years old & covering an area of about 700 km2 between Ibiza & Formentera only. Rightfully the seagrass meadows of the Parque Natural de las Salinas de Ibiza y Formentera are considered UNESCO World Heritage since 1999.
Besides seawater filtration – giving it its unique transparency – the Posidonia contributes to the quality & oxygenation of the submarine ecosystem. The seagrass meadows serve as a habitat to more than 400 species of marine plants & 1,000 species of marine animals, hence creating an underwater world of a Brobdingnagian beauty.
This consequently stimulates the development of recreational activities such as snorkelling & diving & in addition contributes to the island’s gastronomy by supplying locally sourced fish, thus making the Posidonia Oceanica vital to the economy of the Balearic archipelago.
And then a final significant fact; the Posidonia fields help protecting beaches from erosion by preventing the loss of sand, as it curbs the sea currents & waves.
Now with so many fascinating facts & figures about this beneficial being at the back of our minds, can we por favor be more conscious about giving back & protecting the Mediterranean Sea & Posidonia! Because it’s a plant that suffers a lot from alterations in the environment, pollution & unconscious boat anchoring.
An easy way to contribute for example is by participating in the “Save Posidonia Project,” an initiative of the Consell Insular of Formentera through which you can sponsor one square meter (of the total of 7,600 hectares)of Posidonia around the island of Formentera for one euro.
(This website will provide you with more information: https://www.saveposidoniaproject.org/en/la-posidonia/ .)
Other local initiatives include the non-profit organisation Love Ibiza Now, campaigning for “a cleaner future & bringing people together to create lasting solutions to our island’s environmental needs” – more on their ideas & events on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/loveibizanow) – & Ecosuckers, providing Ibiza island with natural marine-degradable drinking straws (https://www.facebook.com/ecosuckers).
Let us join hands & hearts & return the healing favour to our healing waters & submarine ecosystem, granting ourselves the bliss of many more daily dives, seaside sublimity & see-through seawater.