A moment of perfection
Mallorca’s Key Features
What was it that made Mallorca irresistible to the Phoenicians and Romans, to the Vandals, Moors and Catalans? Perhaps the fact that it is a perfect mini-continent with all kinds of shoreline imaginable. The Northwest boasts giddy cliffs along the Serra de Tramuntana. The East coast boast romantic rocky bays with tiny strips of sand. The Southwest boasts white sandy beaches near Palma in the Southwest. This is the same Along the Bay of Alcudia in the North. Dunes jewel Migjorn, Mallorca’s midi or remote deep South – the ‘garriga’. This is a Mediterranean bush of mastic trees, gorse, Aleppo Pine and all kinds of fragrant herbs. This alternates with arable land which has been farmed for centuries.
Mallorca’s Subtropical Climate
With 300 days of sun per year, Mallorca has a moderately subtropical climate which can produce fine days of 20 C. even in the winter. This name if this phenomenon is ‘petit estivet’ (little Summer). This is name given by inhabitants grateful for a change to the usual 7 C. winter daytime average. If the sun is particularly fierce between June and September, it can drive the mercury up to a sweltering midday average of 32 C.
March to May and September to December are Mallorca’s Spring and ‘Primavera des hivern’ (the spring of winter). The first drops of rain to hit the summer-scorched ground in October produce a miraculous transformation from brown to green. As a result, bringing new vitality and a gradual floral crescendo. This climaxes in March when the bare branches of almost seven million almond trees burst into pale pink blossom. The sweet perfume of orange blooms follow and which waft heavily to the ground from the dark evergreen leaves. The fruit from the previous year’s crop still clings to the trees like forgotten Christmas baubles.
Natural Spas in Mallorca
Such splendour is not something nature created in the twinkling of an eye. Mallorca is undisputedly the result of a great moment in the creation of Earth. Yet there are a few elements which are extremely scarce on the island. Water is one of them. Not a single river supplies Mallorca with the elixir of life, only springs not dependent on ground water exist. Font Santa and Font Sa Bassa near Campos bubble; not with drinking water but with sulphurous spa water. This water is hot at 38.7 C. and has healing properties.
Drinking water in Mallorca falls from the heavens and porous limestone stores it underground in underground wells. In the North of the island, this can be as much as 60 inches per year. This also settles as snow on the highest peaks of the island, such as Puig Major (1,443m.) and Puig de Massanella (1,348m.). Until the invent of refrigerators, there were ‘nevaters’ (men collecting the snow) storing snow in ‘casas de neu’, snow houses. This was sold in summer when most needed. In the dry South however, the yearly average is barely a third of that of the North, so snow is only found in fairy tales”.
Albufera Wetlands and Ses Salinas Natural Salt Farm
Under these conditions, its thus surprising that the island has the of Albufera wetlands. These lie in the Northeast between Alcudia and Can Picafort. The 5,930 acres which have been a nature reserve since 1985 and provide over 200 different types of bird with a permanent or temporary home. While this is a large area it is a third of its original size. This is because from the 17th Century onwards, farmers were draining parts of the Albufera of water in order to create land for cultivation for various purposes. Attempts were made to grow rice on a large scale and a paper factory set up business here.
The second wetland is in the far South of the island in a very different kind of biotope. At Ses Salinas the sea floods the land in Spring and sun bakes a crust in Summer. As a result, salt can be extract salt and has been since the days of the Romans.