Volta Mallorca

VoltaMallorca Project

There’s something in the water

by Giacomo De Stefano Enviromentalist and by fair means sailor and rower Giacomo De Stefano is sucked into the maelstrom of the  Man on the River  project post production, when, in Palma de Mallorca, David, a local sailor and university professor shows him his Llauts, the traditional double ended fishing boat. Llauts like other traditional boats are simply disappearing form the island despite some (dinosaurs like) fans. Ruled  by the mass tourism industry Mallorca is loosing most of its traditions and skills. And not only that… Mallorca’s coastal environment and its water resources are under threat. Beyond the only one million locals 23 million of visitors are consuming only in summer, 400.000.000 plastic bottles of water and other drinks. Mallorca, with its high mountains has ample water, green valleys and fresh creeks, but you cannot drink the tap water ground waters are now polluted by unrespecful farming, bad use of water and natural resources and illegal urbanizations. Instead of fresh water and clean beaches plastic bottle, seldom recycled are scattered around. Giacomo and many local friends like Marta Zein, Carles Francesc Baeza, Toni Font Gelabert, Josè Luis Mirò, Jaime Ferrar and many others, all involved with Llauts and eviromental commitment, is determined to discover and recapture the former glory of the boats which built Mallorca and bring back to the Mestres D’Aixa (the Masters of Axe, the boatbuilders) their jobs and their lives and reporting the environmental situation in the most famous touristic destination in Europe. But how? The logical way  for him is to circumnavigate the Mallorca Island with a traditional Llaut, a 6 metres open boat, using only wind, and his arms. He would like to raise the attention of as many persons as possible about the water issues and learn and share the situation and the potential of activating projects of sustainable economies. A circular economy project, like Ellen Mac Arthur is promoting with her foundation, bringing together a team of persons who worked for decades to save the island from speculators and corrupted politics (soon the list). Wouldn’t it be better, and wiser to work with nature and not against it? And also much more financially rewarding. But it won’t be easy! Daily Giacomo and various guest, aboard and along the coast, will sail, row, eat and drink local food and interview local artisans, boat builders, business men, biologists etcetera.. and also dwelling with the crazy touristic invasion and its consequences. Facing also, as his experience in the last projects teaches, close minded persons who see him as a danger for their dirty traffics. Aboard and along the coast Dragan Miletic, will follow our trip and take pictures. Also Giacomo will take pictures and film. A dedicated web site is under construction, and will be linked to Man on the River and Be Water web sites. Still wonderful waters, coves, sandy bays with tourquois transparencies. But for how long? All routes (and roads) will lead to the Mallorca ineluctable fate or there is still a possibility for the natural and beautiful way of living in harmony with the sea and the island’s nature? Will the local boats survive the massification and plastification of the maritime culture and heritage? Will be possible to go for an intelligent and respectful management of the water sources? Some scraping, a few litres of leenseed oil, some sleepless nights to make good reseaches and then, in August 2013, he and David will hoist the lateen sail and sail Arround Mallorca. Or row. The coast lenght is no more than 300 nautical miles but it can show one of the more dramatic landscape of the whole planet with 1000 metres mountains diving directly into the blue sea in the Northern coast, the severe and dangerous Sierra de Tramuntana, islands like Cabrera, an integral marine reserve and Dragonera. Then secret and unspoilt coves, castles, medieval towers, a stone’s hell. Or a paradise for hikers and climbers, and still torrents, wonderful gorges, humid zones, lagoons and rare birds oasis, golden sand beaches, cliffs and also barbarian touristic urbanisations, insulting concrete villages where to be idiot is not required, but helps a lot, like Magaluf, old paradises now lost for ever like Puerto Andratx and a curious fauna of drunk bipeds with only sand-sun’n sex way of travelling in their beautiful minds. Giacomo will end his little odyssey in the Alcudia Bay during the Semanda del Conde, the famous classics sailing week. Navigare necesse set

 Be Water, the NGO founded in Köln, Germany, by Giacomo  De Stefano, Marcel Dolega, Alena Zima, Nicola Zago, Johanna Bark and Volker Saul, is promoting Active Sailing. Active Sailing is a respectful, attent and inclusive way of using sailing and rowing boats, by fair means, to let people know that these wonderful works of art and useful instruments called boats can still help us a lot, like they did for centuries, the life on this planet . Without harming the enviroment. In eight years many projects have been made by Giacomo and his team to protect the maritime traditions, water enviroment, sustainable economies. The last one has been Man on the River, rowing and sailing from London to Istanbul across the rivers and canals network across Europe. Thanks to this project, Giacomo has been awarded as Person of the Year 2013 by the international magazine Classic Boat.