If, like me a couple of days ago, you don’t know what posidonia is, you’re about to find out. You’ll also discover how you can preserve the posidonia prairies which are a vital part of the Mediterranean ecosystem and help protect the beautiful Deia cala by supporting the “Mallorca Art i Natura” festival taking place in Deia on 11 July.
What is posidonia?
According to good old Wikipedia, posidonia oceanica, to give it its full latin name (also known as Neptune Grass) is a kind of seagrass endemic to the Med. It forms large underwater prairies or meadows which are an important part of the sea’s ecosystem, protecting beaches and providing a nursery for fish. Posidonia is free-floating balls of “fibrous material” which sometimes wash up on the beach. In Italy posidonia is known as the “olive of the sea”, which is not just a great description, it gives you some idea of how important Neptune Grass is as well.
Posidonia also grows incredibly slowly – around 1 centimetre a year. According to Matteo Trivelli, Communications and Project Director for Posidonia Festival, if a posidonia prairie is destroyed, it will take 600 years to renew. Without posidonia, the sea will, as Matteo says, “eat the beach”.
Today, the posidonia prairies of the Mediterranean are increasingly under threat as a result of pollution and mass tourism, which is why the Posidonia Festival movement exists.
The Posidonia Festival movement
The movement began in Formentera in 2008 and from there has grown to take in events in Sardinia, Italy and in Sitges, Spain. Posidonia Festivals are international and combine art with an awareness of the environment and sustainable development. So, it’s not surprising that the organisers chose Deia as an appropriate place to hold a festival.
“Deia is the perfect spot,” Matteo says. “It has the sea and the Sierra de Tramuntana. Magdalena, the mayor of Deia is very aware of the importance of posidonia and has entered into a project with the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA) a research centre jointly governed by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) to research into ways of protecting the beach at Deia. IMEDEA happens to be one of the most advanced centres in Europe when it comes to understanding posidonia.”
Matteo started by talking to the Mayor and, then, as he says, “the guys from Sa Fonda and Nin Petit (Llewellyn Graves) got behind the project so we’re making a small one-day version of what is normally a three-day festival. We hope it will grow from there.”
What can you expect on Saturday?
The Posidonia Festival runs all day and, apart from a Mediterranean snorkelling experience down at the Cala at 11.00 (which I’d love to do) everything takes place in the village and runs until midnight.
A highlight for me will be Nin Petit’s “Wake Up Dance” at Sa Tanca from 11.00 to 14.000 but there are movies, poetry workshops and great music throughout the day.
One thing I didn’t tell you: it’s all free.