Saturday, 10 March 2018

Port de Soller, Mallorca, Spain - Open Arms and another gentle walk.

There had been a little notice on the Sollerweb that a rescue boat was going to be in Port de Soller,  on Thursday, giving tours. Curious, I walked over to the harbour.
One of the small commercial fishing boats was being lifted out and Oh, did it smell!
It also looked tiny next to the big power boat, also on the "hard" for some winter maintenance.
The rescue boat was on the far side of the harbour

There was a gang plank out and I was encouraged to come aboard
This volunteer was describing (in Spanish and English) their role when they find refugees in the Mediterranean.
They do 14 day "missions" and in between they travel around the coast educating people about the problem - the countries the refugees are fleeing and why, the politics of the countries they are leaving, the ones they must travel through and those they are trying to reach, the costs for them, how ill equipped their boats are and maritime law regarding where they must be taken when rescued. We saw photos, watched videos and heard first hand accounts. The NGO has 26 paid staff and the rest are volunteers. They have 2 boats, this sailboat and a larger trawler and an office in Barcelona that assists with finding volunteers and fundraising. They were not actively fundraising here, their focus was education as they said many Europeans resent the refugees and don't understand why they are fleeing and the hardships they have been through.
This sailboat was a gift from a rich businessman and it is not ideal for the job. Most of the refugee boats have more than 500 people on board, many crouched or lying in decks that have been created in cargo spaces. This sailboat can only take 200 people on the deck and it is open to the elements, there isn't much room below decks. They have a number of zodiacs that they use when they go out and often just ferry the refugees to waiting coast guard or military ships.
My German walking companion had emailed me asking if I would like to take another gentle walk on her last day here. I met her at the bus stop and we took it up to San Bleda, where we had taxied to last time.
We had a brief glimpse of the coast
and then walked through ancient olive groves.

The tops of the mountains were obscured by clouds and we wondered if we were going to get rained on.
Their trunks are so twisted and gnarled they have a fantasy look to them, as if they could stir and walk on those roots. You can almost see facial features.
Not as picturesque as the other orange juice spot, and twice the price, but delicious all the same.

We stopped and had a cafe con leche at Muleta de ca S'Hereu which is also a hotel. It is right on the hiking path and has great views down to Port de Soller.
From here we took the easy route, down their access road, and it really had been a gentle walk of about 2 hours.
Back around to the harbour and one of the fishing boats had unloaded the days catch
Fish, crabs and shrimp
and the cats waiting for a hand out.

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