“At sea I learned how little a person needs, not how much.” – Robin Lee Graham
Through the mists of sleep, I woke to a sound like an old air con unit that’s seen better days. You know it too, the one in the opening paragraph of American crime novels. It took a minute for me to realize what it was. The Boys were back in town!
I’m lucky. I live on the fifth floor of an apartment block with an uninterrupted view of the Bay of Palma de Mallorca. To my left are the hills, then the city centre with the Cathedral at her heart and the airport at her edge. Beyond that, the land tapers out into a thin ribbon until the sky and the sea meet alone like lovers in an endless kiss.
The sound I’d heard was the arrival of the first of The Boys, that’s my name for the ferryboat crews that bring the island her supplies each morning. There’s a calm, unfussy reliability about the ferries that feels comfortingly blokey to me.
Sailing from Barcelona and Valencia, The Boys often travel in convoy with Balearia’s Rosalind Franklin leading the way around 05.45 followed by two boats from Transmediterranea and the other Balearia ferries close behind. It must be nice to travel together, alone out there in a sea of darkness.
When dawn breaks, the lorries they carry disembark and make their way around the island bringing us medicine, food and other essential supplies. With the island’s cafes and bars closed due to the corona lockdown, I’m told that petrol stations and shops along their routes now give the lorry drivers refreshments and probably more conversation and appreciation than ever before.
Moored up, the ferries and their crews wait quietly for the lorries to return before beginning their journeys home later in the morning.
Striving for Excellence #
COVID-19 came as a shock to the world and has changed people’s behaviours in many ways. The way we travel will change and many will choose their means of transportation with a view to the safety standards offered. With this in mind, Balearia hopes to become the first shipping company in the world to obtain the Global Safe Site Covid-19 label in its maximum degree (Excellence) by the international certification and inspection entity Bureau Veritas. At regular intervals, they take samples to check for the possible presence of COVID-19 on the vessels in the shipping company’s fleet servicing the Mediterranean as well as the maritime stations of Dénia and Valéncia, which are managed by Balearia."
Essential Workers - Heroes of Our Time #
I’ve always liked ferries but, even though I see them most days, I’d not thought about them much or their role in our lives before. Yet along with her sister islands Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, La Isla de la Calma, as Mallorca is known, has long depended on the ferries to bring not just visitors but residents back home and helped the islands to trade and prosper.
Cinematic superheroes and titans of tech may have been the idols of recent time, but with most of us confined to the barracks of our own homes for so long, it’s the First Responders and other essential workers who’ve now stolen our hearts.
Across the world we’re waking up with gratitude to the importance of those who work in health, sanitation and transport, fill supermarket shelves or prescriptions at the farmácia. With so little certainty about the virus, each one of them has taken up the challenge of potentially fatal risks to make our lives as safe and comfortable as possible.
However challenging this time has been for many, without these people it would have been much worse. So, as Mallorca begins to unfurl like a leaf from lockdown, let’s remember with thanks the ferrymen and lorry drivers who come to Mallorca and those in the ports of Palma, Valencia and Barcelona who make their service possible.
#Majorca #Ferries #Barcelona #Valencia #Transmediterranea #Balearia #COVID19
By Rosalinda Much
24 April, 2020