THE MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF ES VEDRÀ

This world of ours is full of myth and legend. From fabled creatures that graze the depths of Scottish lakes and the erection of the Egyptian pyramids to furred, lonesome giants who supposedly roam the most isolated peaks of Nepal – many instances and structures from the past baffle seemingly advanced modern-day science. Many continue to force us to question the boundaries of common sense. Undoubtedly it’s in our nature as humans to be curious about the world around us, but perhaps there are some things we will never truly understand.
Take for example, our iconic neighbor, Es Vedrà, here in Ibiza. Visible from the grounds of 7Pines, this towering rock emerges majestically from the Mediterranean seabed like a jagged shard of broken glass, eliciting more questions than answers from those who’ve seen or been up close to it. Many flock to observe it at sunset – its position on the west coast of the island makes it a particularly spectacular spot for saying goodbye to a sun-soaked day – but most report an experience that goes deeper than just awe at viewing an impressive silhouette against a multi-coloured sky.
For the more spiritually-inclined, being in the vicinity of Es Vedrà is an otherworldly experience. People claim to feel total and complete peace, and at any time of day you find visitors meditating, worshipping or doing yoga on clifftop spots overlooking the majestic rock. It’s described as having a particular energy – one that invigorates, comforts and inspires all at the same time. Consequently, people become almost hypnotised by its curious, unspoken allure. Ask for specifics in relation to this and it’s hard to pin down an exact explanation, but stories regaling the immensity of its power are abundant.

Es Vedrà has also been at the heart of many unproven rumours over the years. One of the biggest and most well-known of these is that it is the third most magnetic point on Earth (after the North Pole and the Bermuda Triangle). Geologists will assure you that this is not the case at all and the idea certainly evokes laughter from cynical locals, however there have been some strangely eerie events in the Es Vedrà vicinity in the past that hint towards something cryptic going on beneath the land’s surface.

It is said that the strength of the magnetic field surrounding Es Vedrà is enough to scramble the radar of any boat or aeroplane, which is why captains avoid coming close to the islet at all costs. Watches have also been known to suddenly stop turning and compasses go haywire. Birds are said to be affected by the same mysterious energetic dynamism, with some species finding their flight patterns completely out of sync when in the vicinity of the rock. Some believe that the much renowned but inexplicable ‘buzz’ that permeates the atmosphere surrounding Ibiza has formed as a result of this inexplicable force.

It doesn’t stop there. In 1979, a flight between Mallorca and Tenerife was advised to make an emergency landing in Valencia when the pilot reported an unidentified moving light harassing the aircraft as he flew over Es Vedrà. He was so concerned that he sent an SOS signal to air traffic control, but the serviceman on duty was unable to identify the object, and the pilot was forced to redirect the plane. This has fed into multiple reports that Es Vedrà is actually a UFO base acting as a gateway or navigation base for aliens. Even local fishermen have described seeing strange lights or objects emerging from the surrounding waters – fact or fiction?

This may seem far-fetched, but Es Vedrà has been a source of supernatural speculation for centuries, long before advancements in technology for it to interfere with. Another oft-quoted tale about the rock is called The Giant of Es Vedrà – a tale about two brothers who took their long-suffering father to the islet to rid him of an incurable disease. The story goes that they went in search of rock samphire to make a remedy for his illness, but in the process had to fight off a giant who lived in one of the many caves – a feat they were only successful in thanks to the help of some handy sea urchins.
It is rumoured too, that Es Vedrà is the site of the lost city of Atlantis – the peak that’s visible above the sea’s surface is allegedly just the tip of the palatial world that lies below. It is also supposedly the birthplace of the Punic and Phoenician goddess Tanit, now known as the hallowed protector of Ibiza and a goddess of the moon, dance and creation – not to mention a guardian of femininity. The islet is said to be home to the mischievous sirens and sea nymphs who tried to lure Ulysses from his path in Homer’s tome, Odyssey. An interesting ‘population’ to say the least.

While all of these stories remain rooted in speculation, there are some certainties about Es Vedrà we know for sure. It stands at 413m tall, for example, and consists of predominantly mesozoic limestone. We know too, that it had a starring role in the Hollywood musical, South Pacific in which it was used to portray the rather ferocious volcano, Bali Hai. We’re aware that aside from Friar Francis, a man exiled from Catalonia who used to row to the island to pray for long periods at a time, the island has remained uninhabited save for a herd of wild goats, which sadly were culled to protect fauna in 2016.

Perhaps the tremendous amount of interest in Es Vedrà stems from the fact that, believer in fantasy, fable or not, this little mass of rock is extraordinarily beautiful at any time of day or night. Regardless of your celestial leanings, it is almost impossible to be unmoved by the uncanny silence and sense of peace that envelops it. In our minds, there is something extraordinary about this place, and we feel blessed to call it our neighbour.

Last, but definitely not least is most recent gossip when it comes to Es Vedrà. Local sailors have reported hearing the bleats of baby goats in recent months, in spite of the government’s decision to winnow down their population. And so, the legend continues…
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