Cala Bassa, on the north-western shores of Ibiza, is the meeting point for the group this warm spring morning. The sun is high in the sky and the shoreline is filled with pink jellyfish as the wind blows inland. Each week the group tackles a different subject. This time: ocean exploration.
Gregorio and his team from Meet the Sea greet the children with a smile and welcome them to the experience. They watch with anticipation as he dives in and pulls out creatures for them to examine – to touch, feel, connect and inspect.
The sea cucumber has quite leathery skin with a dark green, brown colour – we decide it really does look like a cucumber. The sea urchins are spiky, yet quite easy to hold with a gentle hand. Underneath they have a mouth the size of a tiny fingernail. We try to feed one a little seagrass, but it isn’t hungry. The crab makes a getaway across the wooden boardwalk, but we decide he would be happier back in the ocean. The snails in their shells are quite slimy, and we observe them trailing slowly between our bare feet and sand.
Most interesting of all is the seagrass or, as it’s known in Ibiza, posidonia. Rising sea temperatures mean this algae may not survive past 2050, but it has important jobs to do in the ocean. “First, it keeps the water clean, providing lots of oxygen for the ocean,” explains Gregorio as he swings a mass of posidonia in the middle of the children. “Second, it gives the fish food to eat – small and large feed from it. Lastly, it protects the sand – it keeps it in the right place as the waves crash to the shore.”
On previous adventures we have walked the forests of Sant Vicent de sa Cala to forage for wild foods with Tim Spanky and sat at a sacred well with Theatre of Ancients’ Joanna Hruby to hear her tell the story of the ancient and magic waters of Santa Eulària.
We have run through fields of blossom in Santa Agnès learning depth of field and contrast with photographer Hannah Younger. The children, wrapped up tight in bee suits, have experienced beekeeping in Sant Mateu with Hans the Beekeeper, as swarms of bees flew around them. Bananas are a staple diet of a well-fed bee, we discovered, when Hans laid a banana down on a hive before shutting the lid.
Once, Cyd, the herbologist, led the children to a magic fairy forest where they created potions and herbal remedies. The children broke off stalks of rosemary and filled little jars with the herb. Wild rosemary mixed with oil makes a fantastic hair mask and a tasty addition to the pantry. Their life adventures continue…