Living in a Nature Reserve.
Near the salt flats on the southern most tip,
where the buildings turn white,
white like the sun,
white like the dust,
white like the cross that rests at the top;
a peacock plays night watchman
to the well preserved and white walled souls.
At last light as I’m getting old,
I see the advantage of a parallel life,
For this is where the rosemary grows
by Jade Angeles Fitton
While my brother Gertjan and my brother-in-law Johan are living in an apartment in Ibiza-city, for a month or 2 we are caretakers of my brother’s finca.
The view from the conservatory and the terrace is stunning, especially in the morning.
The villa is in the tiny village of La Revista which is in the middle of the Nature Reserve Las Salinas, salt basins that are still in use. Today the anual salt production is approximately 50.000 tonnes, which is sold mainly in northern Europe. A smaller part remains in Ibiza and is converted into Sal de Ibiza (table salt). As the water evaporates during the hot summer months, a sparkling layer of pure salt is left on the bottom of the basins.
The pink coloring is clear feature of the salt flats and it not always visibly, only with certain light. It is caused by a form of bacteria that covers the bottom of the ponds over the whole area.
The Flamingos winter in Salinas before continuing their migratory journey to the breeding grounds of Malaga and France. The Flamingos travel from as far as the eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea and northern Africa, arriving on the island during August, September and October. They then depart in February for the largest Flamingo breeding grounds in Europe, the Lagoon of Fuentepiedra and the French Camargue. Not all Flamingos stop in Ibiza, the majority go direct to the breeding grounds, so the ones that remain must be discerning birds. They love salt plains and the area around the Natural Park of Ses Salines is where some three hundred will stay over the winter, as others depart.
These white dots in the water behind the Salt Worker Statue are Flamingos.
My husband PJ photographing through a blind.
The flamingo’s beak is a perfect filtering tool. In shallow waters, it stirs up the mud from the bottom, rocking its head and feet. At the same time, it fills its beak with earthy water mixed with small aquatic invertebrates which remain in its mouth once it has expelled the water with its tongue.
For a long time I am intrigued by the photo’s that are hanging on the walls in the villa of the salt workers in the 50-ies. http://www.ibizaholiday.biz
And the black-and-white pictures in the book Ibiza-Eivissa 1950 from Francesc Catala i Roca.
I have also been watching the salt mound that changes shape every day.
One day when the salt basins are looking like a mirror I decide to take a closer look at the salt mound and the men working there nowadays. Not with shovels and baskets anymore, but with machinery.
Along the way I photograph into the shallow canals next to the road. They are full off (unfortunately) garbage that is overgrown with algae. It looks like part of ship wrecks or looking into natural mineral hot springs.
As I walk towards the pile of salt I pass several ‘no trespassing’ signs. I ignore them and when the trucks loaded with salt pass me, I just wave and put on a big smile.
The person who operates the machinery with the tooth bucket that scrapes of the salt from the mound is just sitting still and having breakfast. At first he does not notice me, but as soon as he sees me he waves me in. He steps out and starts talking to me. I explain to him that I don’t speak Spanish that well, but in my best Spanish I ask him when he is going back to work, so I can photograph him. Oh, well I think that is what I am asking, but I probably said: “You: get down to work”.
He starts the engine and starts digging. It is a cool sight and the salt flows down like a waterfall. I think the guy is overdoing it for me, because his machinery comes a steep angle. After I filled a whole card with pictures, the guy stops and wants to see the pictures. I am glad he likes the result.
He insists that I take a bag of salt crystals with me, which I put in a vase later.
After an hour I walk back to the villa. When the trucks with salt pass me they honk their horns. I give them my Claudia smile.
Sources: ibiza-style.com, trippingoverwhippets.com (Las Salinas Poem by Jade Angeles Fitton), ibiza-spotlight.com, dannykayibiza.blogspot.co.uk, balearsculturaltour.net