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Island Ecology


Introducing José P Ribas

by Gary Hardy


Ibiza Ecology


First of all this week, I would very much like to introduce our new acquisition, José P Ribas, who will be contributing his expert local knowledge of the nature here on the islands of Ibiza and Formentera to our publication each Saturday with his intriguing weekly column, Island Ecology.

Every subject has its professional jargon and instinct is the nose of the mind. José was born and breed here on the island in the San Antonio area of Ibiza and ever since he could stand up straight he began to go out and roam and discover his beloved island from top to bottom.

José is now chafing at a bit to explain all where he will eventually forge a more-than-useful alliance with a well-thought-out strategy to offer a definitive guide to nature and the particular environment of these two exquisite islands for the benefit of our would-be readers.

We all experience Ibiza in a unique way and its his all-embracing involvement in his cherished island's cause and patent passion that has stirred José to come forward and offer his time to write a weekly article on the living character of our wonderful island.

I utilized my first dozen or so winters living here on Ibiza by using my precious time walking the countryside, back lanes, hills and seashores with José and my cameras getting phenomenal images that may never be possible to capture on film ever again. I probably, because I had the time and patience, have the one of the best photo-stock and selection of both colour and black and white pictures that exist in the whole wide world.

I remember one morning during a wintertime when José came to my home to ask if I wanted to go fishing. I got my two fishing rods and hooks together but José just had a piece of string in his trouser pocket. We went to the local fish market and spent 300 pesetas to buy a kilo of Jarret (a local fish) to use as bait and José said at the time: "If we don't catch any fish then we can always cook and eat what's left of these."

We drove over to Cala Coral on the western coast of the island, which is a favourite fishing place where I really enjoy because of the Technicolor scenery. We both had a lovely relaxing day but I unfortunately didn't catch too many fish with either of my rods, simply because, I was far too busy setting up my cameras and tripod to take some awesome photographs of the spectacular surroundings.

José caught most of the fish by using the piece of string from his trouser pocket as a line and putting some of the Jarret as bait on a fishhook that he borrowed from me. He then began to wander along the coastline and amongst the rocks looking for places where he said the good fish would be living because of the fertile vegetation on the shallow seabed.

Beside catching the majority of the fish, José took a penknife out from his jacket pocket and proceeded to take the shells that were clinging to the rocks by the seashore and put them into the plastic bag with the Jarret that we had brought at the fish market that morning.

On our way home it was getting dark when José suddenly commanded me to stop the car while he got out and disappeared up the side of a hill. He returned shortly with an armful of wild asparagus, which we took home with the fish we had caught and the shells that José had collected from the rocks.

We got home and I went into the hen house to find some fresh eggs to make an omelette with the asparagus. We emptied the shells and made a stock out of their guests, boiled the fish and when cooked added some rice and we both thoroughly enjoyed a delicious meal washed down with a bottle or two of vino payes (local made wine) for an initial total day's outlay of only 300 pesetas.

Gary Hardy