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Formentera takes look back on summer '18 lifeguard service

foto socorristes fi temporada 2018 3The president's office of the Formentera Council, whose remit includes the island's beach lifeguard and rescue service, reports that the service's annual halt in summer operations took place last week. The team worked from May 1 to October 31.

For six months, a team that numbered as many as 23 lifeguards “worked to assure the safety of Formentera's beaches and swimming areas”, noted department head Bartomeu Escandell, who highlighted the “dedication and professionalism” of the team.

Incidents in summer 2018

Lifeguards responded to 3,025 cases involving everything sun burns to spills, cuts, scrapes and bumps. They also assisted in stings by greater weever (a poisonous fish), sea urchins and jellyfish—at 2,992, this last group was the largest.

Seventy individuals were rescued from potentially dangerous situations in the water, a type of rescue most common when the yellow flag flies, which means beachgoers can still swim but are encouraged to apply caution, something some fail to take into account. Another twelve rescues happened involving individuals on boats. Likewise, a total of 23 people were taken to hospital in ambulance.

The president's office is saddened to report on three deaths that occurred this season at Cala Saona. One person died after going into cardiopulmonary arrest while in the water, a second suffered a heart attack in the sand and a third threw themself off the cliffs near the beach at twilight. Red-flag days, when swimmers are expressly banned from entering the water, made up for 62 days this summer.

In addition to on-the-clock duties, the team also intervened to provide emergency assistance to crews of ships involved in accidents, and helped tow watercraft during off-duty hours.

Formentera beaches: accessible and equipped for heart-attack response

Arenals and Es Pujols beaches feature accessible-swimming options for individuals with reduced mobility. The service, available from 12 noon to 5.00pm when the green flag flies, was requested this year by 37 people. All lifeguard posts without exception are fitted with defibrilators to assist in cases of possible cardiopulmonary arrest.

Second round of aerial spraying in assault on invasive pest

foto processiona--tanca-d-allaThe Formentera Council's environment department reports plans are under way this week to start the second part of an aerial dusting strategy designed to stem spread of the pine processionary caterpillar on Formentera. The second application will be identical to the first; same helicopter, same crew, same target area.

The team charged with conducting the operation is already on the island. They will spend the day Monday preparing signage and checking and calibrating equipment.

The start of operations is dependent on fair weather, which weather forecasters predict will come Thursday, though additional methods of application are available if winds die down before then, such as with isolated aerial spraying.

Formentera flexes cultural heritage at World Travel Market

wtm londres 2018 1Only Balearic Island at Global European Market—'speed dating for international tourism'

The UK's biggest travel trade show, World Travel Market, opened its doors today in London for a run that will continue until Wednesday November 7. Three administration officials —chairman Jaume Ferrer, tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer and department director Carlos Bernús— are in the City to attend the travelers' happening and promote the island at a stand shared with spokespeople from across the Balearics.

Tuesday at the WTM is for islands, and this year, to celebrate European Year of Cultural Heritage, Formentera is unveiling its brand-new catalogue of cultural heritage sites. Going beyond the purely cultural features of an island that has been home to a rotating cast of civilisations throughout history, the Formentera team will spotlight the island's physical beauty as well. Natural heritage sites put Formentera in a category all its own, and associated tie-ins abound, like the local network of nature trails, or rutes verdes, that gives visitors a fast-track to a vast stretches of the island's cultural and historic heritage.

Global European Market (GEM)
Formentera was alone among its neighbours at the GEM, a series of 12-minute one-on-ones, roughly thirty in all, where Council reps sat down with spokespeople from selected businesses —mostly from the UK, though some came from China, India and USA— to discuss a range of proposals. Carlos Bernús described the conversations as “very professional and very business-oriented. We certainly hope the interest our interlocutors displayed —in discovering Formentera and then heading back home to promote it— translates into action”.

Formentera will seize the occasion of the WTM to meet with British, Dutch and American travel agents and communication firms to begin planning for 2019 as well as related communication and marketing strategies. Gatherings will also be held with online portals and several airlines.

Formentera holds second course on sound salvaging

foto-curs-conservacio---sub-1The culture and patrimony arm of the Formentera Council announces that classes will begin today in the second run of a hands-on course about conserving metals discovered in the sea.

Patrimony secretary Susana Labrador stressed the importance of supporting such initiatives—“our heritage demands conservation”, she said, projecting “future finds of this kind are sure to further contribute to expansion. That's why it's crucial we build a base of trained professionals to support that”.

This is the second such course on Formentera. From Wednesday to Saturday, roughly ten conservation and restoration experts from varying specialties will gather on the island to hear from Philippe de Viviés and Jean-Bernard Memet, experts in new strategies on handling metal objects removed from the sea.

The classes, with both theoretical and practical components, are organised by the Formentera Council and the Balearic institute of maritime archaeological studies, IBEAM, with collaboration from the archaeological museum of Eivissa and Formentera as well as additional support from Trasmapi transport company.

Subaquatic architect and course instructor Javier Rodríguez says classes will “offer a look at the role of restorers in underwater excavations, from planning and execution to subsequent handling in the lab and preparation for display in a museum”.

So students can take conservation training even further, the hands-on learning sessions will involve restoration of an 17th- or 18th-century anchor pulled from the sea in 1997 near La Mola's lighthouse.

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