Terra i Mar Aventura! Camping, Hiking, Watersports, and Otherwise in Alcúdia
Over this past weekend, July 29 and 30, the whole group traveled to the north of the island for a weekend full of adventure and fun. We met early in the morning on Saturday, 8:30 am, to be precise, in Plaza de España and were on the road by 9:00 heading towards Alcúdia, where we would be spending the night at Campamento la Victoria (Vitcory Campsite), a campsite that is owned by the Balearic Government and is used by various youth outdoors programs. In the photos, you’ll see the spacious tents and grounds that the students had at their disposal on Saturday. I say only Saturday because we were up and out of the campsite for our hike by 9:00 am Sunday morning, but we got plenty of use of the cafeteria, sports, and leisure facilities while on site.
Upon arrival at the campsite, we dropped our bags and were introduced to the monitores (camp counselors) who work for the youth adventure program that CIEE hired to show us around, Terra i Mar Aventura (Earth & Sea Adventures). After a brief introduction and laying down the ground rules/expectations, we headed straight to the beach at the bottom of the hill for some swimming, coasteering, and kayaking/paddleboarding.
We started out with a water safety briefing and carried the kayaks and paddleboards down to the beach from the van that had them in tow. The group split into two and while one half was paddleboarding & kayaking the other was getting their first taste of coasteering in Mallorca, foreshadowing. Normally, the students are allowed to swim without a lifejacket and we limit them to swimming in water up to chest level, however, they were obliged to wear their lifejacket while participating in the water sports activities over the weekend.
After returning to camp to check into our tents, eat lunch, and catch some rest, we returned to a neighboring beach. There we met up with two other local tour operators that lead coasteering and other excursions. We ventured out to begin our more serious coasteering and snorkeling adventure. To work on form, we started with a very casual jump that was only half the height of what we had already done earlier in the day, but we gradually stepped up the height and nerves. Everyone participated in the whole experience, which was wonderful to see as some students built a lot of confidence in the water.
After the fourth and final jump we had about a fifty-meter-long swim ahead to a nice and gentle egress from the agua. After every jump and in between walks along the rocks we were snorkeling during our swims; we observed the sea grasses, sea urchins, little fishies, other sea life, and underwater topography through the masks provided by the Terra i Mar staff.
Once we had packed up from the coasteering and made our way back up to camp, the kids were left with a few hours of free time to shower and hang out before dinner at 8 pm. And after dinner, the Terra i Mar counselors lead some fun games and team-building activities. Rachel and Jacob came in second place in a heated game of Ting, Tang, Tong, essentially a modified-relay-sprint-race-sorta game, the perfect activity to expend the last bits of energy before a much-needed night of sleep. They were the crowd favorites, as the eliminated students did not want to see betting favorites and classmates, Ajax and Owen, win their inevitable crown.
The next morning, bruised and all, Jacob and Rachel, along with Holly, Penelope, the local counselors, and myself, rallied the gang for breakfast at 8:30 and ensured that everything was packed and ready to go. Then, we set out on a roughly five-kilometer (3-mile) hike through a valley and eventually down to an incredibly beautiful and secluded beach on the other side of the peninsula where the campsite is located. The sun was hot, but luckily, we had proper protection and the shade provided by the half-forested terrain was a welcome relief.
The beach, Coll Baix, is a rocky one, but there are sandy patches and the rocks are smooth and small, making for easy stepping. We were treated to the already set-up sun shades ad tents on the beach. Between countless hours of swimming and exploring, we ate our packed lunches before setting out on our last little bit of coasteering and snorkeling.
The little lagoon in which we walked/swam too was filled with indigo and turquoise waters. Ancient boulders that had long since eroded and slid into the sea dotted the seascape. A little perch about five meters (sixteen feet) above the water was the ideal spot to perform our last leaps into the sea.
Once we were good and tired, a chartered catamaran scooped us out of the sea and off of the beach to bring us safely into port, stopping only for one last swim off the bow. It was about a forty-minute ride under engine power (if time weren’t of the essence, I am sure the sail would have been raised). Shortly after disembarking the boat, we were in the crisp air conditioning of our coach bus to make the forty-five-minute drive back to Palma.
¡Y ya está! I could write another nine hundred words about the weekend but I think I got most of the important points made and the interesting activities covered.
Besitos, un fuerte abrazo, hasta la próxima,
Alexander E., 17, spent four weeks practicing his Spanish language skills in Palma de Mallorca. Read about his early experiences with language immersion on program.
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