The island of Mallorca is dotted with several islands and islets much less known than the well-known islands of the archipelago of Cabrera and Dragonera, declared National Maritime Terrestrial Park and Natural Park respectively, among other figures of protection. They are small islets such as Na Guardis, Pantaleu, es Pontás, etc. relatively close to land (you can swim with little effort to almost all of them) that are full of curiosities. Do you dare to know them with me? Swimming, kayaking, with a rented motorboat... or climbing! Any way to explore them is good.
| El Colomer. © El Playólogo/Maremecum
1. Islet of Na Guardis, the first iron and steel factory in Mallorca
What the tourists who walk along the beautiful promenade of Colónia de Sant Jordi least imagine is that on that islet in front - known as Na Guardis - some 2,400 years ago there was an Ebusitan Punic settlement that was forging iron in exchange for salt from the salt mines. These Ibicencan settlers made metal jewelry and weapons for the tribal chiefs of the indigenous Mallorcans who wanted them as prestige goods to increase their charisma and ensure their power and that of their heirs. While the Ebusitanians wanted the precious salt from the salt mines of Sant Jordi (which are still in operation) and, above all, the cheap labor to exploit them. Next to it there are several wrecks of sunken Roman ships and still preserved carved into the rocks the holes where the trunks of the jetties fit.
When the Roman legions conquered the island (around 130 BC) the Ebusitan merchants (originally from the ancient Ebusus, Ibiza) abandoned it, although they had been settled there probably since the fourth century BC.
| Na Guardis. © El Playólogo/Maremecum
How to get here: Swimming 350 m from Can Curt beach or renting a boat, kayak or SUP at the port of Colonia de Sant Jordi.
2. Isla de's Porros, the oldest cemetery on the island
It is the small island of the necropolis of Son Real, one of the most recommended hiking excursions in Mallorca, especially for families with children. It is located only about 100 meters offshore (in prehistoric times it was attached to land) where in summer you can access it by swimming. On this islet there are interesting prehistoric remains, with three large chambers carved into the rock and at a lower level of the ground. They are spectacular constructions, larger than those of the necropolis of Son Real. The human remains of a total of 230 individuals were found in addition to a thick layer of ashes with remains of offerings and cremation burials. The tombs were used regularly from the 4th to the 2nd century B.C. Every time I swim up to it, my hair stands on end thinking that here were found trepanned skulls, perforated (without anesthesia) with the help of some rudimentary instrument in order to mitigate some ailment. The intention was good, but the method? And even worse the results.
| Illa des Porros, Mallorca. © El Playólogo/Maremecum
How to get here: Swimming about 100 m from the point des Patró. To get to this ledge and its small beach you have to follow the trails that start from the Interpretation Center of Les Cases de son Real, located about 2,000 m of walking.
3. Pantaleu and the reconquest
This small islet located in front of Sant Elm is part of the natural park of its neighboring island, Dragonera, another of those places you have to visit in Mallorca and, especially, to climb up to the old lighthouse, from where you can enjoy one of the best views of the island. According to the official chronicles, the fleet of King James I of Aragon landed just here before starting the conquest of Mallorca for the Christian kingdoms, as it was "a crossbow's throw" from the coast. Here they landed and from here they began the reconquest of the island from the Arabs. But it was not only here... Read on and you will see. But first stop and take a look: Do you see all those little boats anchored around it? This is one of the buoy fields managed by Ports IB. Anchoring here is forbidden, you can only moor to these buoys, which are paid and must be booked in advance because they are usually in high demand. The aim is to protect one of the best preserved posidonia meadows in Mallorca.
| Es Geperut. Sant Elm. Mallorca. © El Playólogo/Maremecum
How to get here: From the pier of Sant Elm here is 220 m, which can be done by swimming if you are well seasoned or by renting a kayak at the nearby Sant Elm beach.
4. Sa Porrassa and the battle of Portopí
Coinciding with the 700th anniversary of the conquest of Mallorca, every September 9th since 1929 the famous landing of the Catalan troops commanded by King Jaume I is commemorated in the bay of Santa Ponça. It is a very famous mass celebration on the island. But what is not so well known is that on September 9, 1229, part of the fleet went to Port de Sa Porrassa, or what is the same, to the bay of Magaluf, in front of this island, the island of Sa Porrassa, to rest and organize the battle of Portopí, which began 8 days later. The landing of the Christian troops had been agreed with a local chieftain in the northern bay of Pollença, just on the other side of the island, but the weather conditions caused Jaume I to disembark in the southern part of the island. So this little island (to which the tourists of Magaluf arrive today in the little pedal boats) also contributed to return to Christian hands a territory conquered by the Arabs for more than 300 years.
| Sa Porrassa. Magaluf. © El Playólogo/Maremecum
How to get here: The safest way is to rent a pedal boat, kayak or paddle SUP at the nearby Magaluf beach, as it is 630 m away and there is a lot of sea traffic.
5. Es Pontas, one of the most difficult climbs in the world
It is the first ninth grade psicoblock, the most difficult in the world. Today Mallorca is for climbing what Hawaii is for surfing, a worldwide reference. Every climber in the world has heard of Mallorca thanks, in part, to the late Miquel Riera, the most famous Mallorcan climber in history. And Es Pontàs, in Cala Santanyí, besides being a geological whim that tourists never tire of photographing, is one of the most difficult and spectacular climbs in the world, and also the most famous route due to a television report that won the EMI for the best sports documentary and was the most watched sports program on the American NBC. So much so that there is an American brand of sports shoes that has named Es Pontàs to its best line of climbing shoes (cat's feet). If you go to the beaches of Cala Santanyi or Cala Llombards you must visit the viewpoint between the two. And maybe you will be lucky enough to find Chris Sharma or one of his followers clinging to the rocks like a Balearic lizard. What a spectacle!
| Es Pontás. Mallorca. © El Playólogo/Maremecum
How to get here: Although the famous rock arch is only 15 m from the shore it can only be reached by swimming or sailing from Santanyí beach (600 m) or Cala Llombards beach (500 m).
6. Isla del Toro, the gateway to Madina Mayurqa
Isla del Toro is located in the south of Mallorca, between Santa Ponça and Cap de Cala Figuera, crowning the sharp inlet of Punta de Rafeuvetx. It is part of theToro marine reserve, of great ecological value, where you can still see old osprey nests that used to breed in the area. This area also has some species of endemic lizards (especially on the islets of Malgrat and El Toro). In 2007 it was approved the sinking of the frigate Baleares (about 133 meters long) in its vicinity in order to create an artificial reef for diving. But the most curious thing (and thanks in part to the wealth of fish in the area), is that just around the Isla del Toro was observed the presence of a specimen of monk seal, photographed by a diver in 2008. As you know, monk seals or vell maris became extinct many years ago, mainly because of the harassment suffered by fishermen, etc.. The last Mallorcan monk seal was shot dead in Cala Tuent in the 50's. Well, if you want to enjoy the most beautiful view of this islet, go into the ruins of the abandoned military base of Cap de cala Figuera (nowadays it is tolerated and very common among the locals) and walk along the edge of this point to the very edge. Experience it and then tell me about it.
| El Toro. © El Playólogo/Maremecum
How to get here: Although there are only 500 m of water in between I only recommend that you approach by boat, as the passage between the island and Mallorca is a busy channel for maritime traffic.
7. Es Malgrats, the marine reserve dreamed by Cousteau
Shortly before the island of El Toro are the islands of Malgrats, whose coasts are a marine reserve. Marine reserves are protected areas where aquatic and fishing activities are regulated, so they act as a nursery, a sanctuary where marine species (including those of high commercial interest) can reproduce at will and from there migrate and spread to other unprotected areas. If we achieve the existence of many other marine reserves, we will be able to recover what has been lost. In June 2010, the Alcyone expedition - Cousteau's flagship after the wreck of the Calypso in 1990 - revisited the seabed of the western Mediterranean, the same seabed that Captain Cousteau showed 60 years ago, to analyze how it has changed since then. It was found that the Mediterranean of yesteryear only survives in marine reserves, and it was found that in these restricted areas the state of the sea is even better than that recorded in Cousteau's famous documentaries. So, honestly, I think the path is very clear: more and bigger marine reserves. And this island with the elongated shape of a saurian's tail must be seen from any of the three viewpoints between Cap Negret and Punta de na Foradada, from where you can't see the most curious geological whim of them: the pot of es Malgrats. The first little island that can be seen is des Conills, and the other is Malgrats, the one we are dealing with here.
| Es Malgrats. Mallorca. © El Playólogo/Maremecum
How to get here: Renting a kayak or paddle SUP at the Club Náutico de Santa Ponça, which is 1,700 m from here.
8. Es Colomer, Mallorca's most photographed islet
The islet of Es Colomer (the dovecote in Spanish) owes its name to the great abundance of pigeons (coloms) that nest taking advantage of the isolation of the islet along with cormorants and endemic lizards (podarcis lilfordi colomi), which are its majority inhabitants. They were on the verge of disappearing because of the fishermen, who became hunters.... There were years when it was crowned by a republican flag together with an independence flag, until it was replaced by a Spanish flag. And I always thought... who would have wanted to climb up there, as hard as it is?
What is much more pleasant is to go out of season to the viewpoint of Es Colomer, on the road to the lighthouse and beach of Formentor. The islet of Colomer is the symbol of the wild coast of the Sierra de Tramuntana, with a height of 112 m above sea level and 300 m long. This fascinating landscape has been immortalized countless times by the painters of the Escola de Pollença and many others who have visited this place since the end of the 19th century.
The viewpoints of Creueta and Colomer, located at the tip of the Nao of the Formentor peninsula, are an essential stop on the road leading to the lighthouse. On arrival we are greeted by a monument to Antonio Parietti Coll, the engineer who designed both the road and this viewpoint. Located more than 200 meters above sea level, the viewpoint offers spectacular views of the Sierra de Tramuntana and the Mediterranean, particularly in the afternoon. It is common for groups of people to gather here to witness the spectacular moment when the sun sets over the sea. But keep in mind that during the months of July and August the traffic is closed to private cars due to the saturation of the road.
| Es Colomer. © El Playólogo/Maremecum
How to get here: Although the island is only 55 m from Mallorca the access to the shore is very complicated, so it is best to arrive by boat. The problem is that Es Colomer is 11 m from the nearest port of Pollença.