Updated on April 17, 2021
Explorers of the Bay
In addition to our usual tasks and responsibilities, we managed to find time to have some extra fun, too. For one day in the early Autumn, we had to forget everything that we knew about the Bay of Ieranto and let our imagination run wild. “Explorers of the Bay” is something that volunteers usually do during the first months of their arrival but as you may have noticed already, throughout our project we had to do things a little differently, to say the least. For the game, we had to split into groups of two people and had to go on a kayak to draw a map and name the places. Whilst doing that, we had to imagine that we are the pioneers of the Bay, which was a lot of fun. After a while, we had to present our maps to each other. Some volunteers wished to create also stories to accompany their presentation. The results were so interesting that we came to the conclusion that we would like to share them with you. Thanks to the game, we rediscovered the beautiful bay where we spent our summer. Now, let’s dive into the creativity of our volunteers!
Kristiāns and Raquel: “La Baia Spledente”
“The story I’m about to tell you happened in my 30’s. I was serving the king of Spain as the captain of the Royal Crew in many expeditions around the world. Good times, I have to say!
The daughter of the king was suffering from a degenerative disease for many years and her precious life, unfortunately, was close to an end. Out of desperation, the king offered 10% of his wealth to the person who finds a cure for his daughter’s deadly disease. He made sure that this announcement spreads across Spain faster than wildfire. And it sure did, even more than that – king’s message reached every kingdom and royal dynasty you can possibly think of. People from all over the world were coming to Spain, offering the cure to the princess but, unfortunately, nothing was working. Her health got worse every day.
There seemed to be no solution to the problem and the king’s hope slowly started to fade away. However, it all changed in one fortunate evening. My crew and I went to our favourite tavern next to the harbour. We were having beers, talking about the reality of the current situation and drowning our concerns until, out of nowhere, an old man chimed in our conversation. He told us an incredible story about this magical bay of land called Mediterranea, where we can find Posidonia oceanica – a seagrass that is known for its healing abilities and most likely could save the princess. “But I warn you,” the old man whispered in a quavering voice, “the bay is guarded by queen Octoponia!” According to him, the monstrous creature is half-woman, half-octopus with shining Posidonia oceanica in her hair. The queen has an army of beautiful but extremely deadly mermaids.
“It’s been rumoured that hundreds of sailors have tried to take this magical seagrass,” the man continued, “but none of them returned back alive.” “But why?” one of my Royal crewmembers asked. The elderly man banged his fist on the table and replied in a raised voice: “Because they were blinded by greed!” Turns out that sailors who previously tried to take the seagrass grabbed more than they should have. They wanted to sell it and eventually become rich. But the legend says that if one visits the bay with bad intentions, queen Octoponia and her army of mermaids will feast on one’s heart.
After finishing his tail, my crew members were laughing as they have never laughed before. Meanwhile, I remained quiet. “But what if it is true?” I asked myself, “what if this is the only way we can save our beloved princess’s life?” I came up to the old man and asked how we can get to that magical place. My crew couldn’t believe I’m falling for the old man’s silly tale, but I was willing to take the risk. We didn’t have anything to lose. “Sail to southern Mediterranea,” the elderly man said, “and once you find l’Occhio di Mare hidden in the rocks, you will know you are there.”
We took the man’s word for it and left the kingdom of Spain the next morning in order to find the magical bay. We were sailing for a month, taking one of the most dangerous sea routes, until we reached l’Occhio di Mare the old man told us about. We quickly passed the eye and there it was – la Baia Spledente, surrounded by cliffs, hiding its remarkable beautify from greedy eyes. I still remember the feeling I felt when I first saw it. It was incredible.
As soon as we reached the shore, we immediately started looking for the magical seagrass. We explored every single corner of the bay and, unfortunately, we couldn’t find it. Feeling incredibly disappointed, I gave the order to restock our ship with valuable treasures in nature for the next few months. My men found, for example, olives, rosemary, honey, different berries, top quality wood, iron and many more things. Also, I gave an order to the crew to collect the most beautiful species of the sea in order to set up an aquarium for our beloved princess. I just wanted to see her smile again, admiring the outstanding charm of the magical waters of Mediterranea.
We spent our night on the land. Our aim was to get some well-deserved rest and leave the bay first thing in the morning. Meanwhile, some of the crew members opened a wine barrel and drank all night long. After a few hours of non-stop drinking, my men could barely stand on their feet. Suddenly the Quartermaster, my right hand, saw something spectacular – the sea was shining brighter than a diamond. The drunk men couldn’t believe what they saw, it was the magical Posidonia oceanica. Being incredibly excited and forgetting what the old man at the bar had told them, they immediately jumped into the water in order to collect as much Posidonia oceanica as possible. According to the Quartermaster, who stayed on the land, my crew members took an incredible amount of the magical seagrass…more than they should have. Their happiness quickly turned into a nightmare. Abrupt screams took over the bay and my men, one by one, disappeared under the surface of the water. The Quartermaster saw half-human, half-fish creatures jumping out of the water and dragging some of my men back into it. “I saw them cutting open our men’s chests, taking pieces of their hearts with bare hands and eating them,” the Quartermaster hysterically told me, “and, meanwhile, another creature, half-woman, half-octopus, taking back the seagrass from the crew’s cold dead hands.”
I was terrified. I immediately rushed to the sea and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my men – all dead, floating on the water and laying on the sand…heartless. We lost many honourable men that night. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared. I was trembling like a leaf. However, I couldn’t ignore the fact that my men had found the magical seagrass. The princess still was fighting a deadly disease and we swore fealty both to the king of Spain and to his dear daughter. We just couldn’t leave Mediterranea empty-handed. I tried to come up with a plan, but my men were too afraid to get into the water. And who could blame them?
The moon appeared on the horizon and the night covered up the land. Suddenly, the sea started shining brighter than gold, chasing and bundling off the shadow from the mountains. “There it is,” the Quartermaster yelled excitedly, “the magical Posidonia oceanica!” I couldn’t believe my eyes. I immediately wanted to jump into the water to get it, but, also, I was scared to death. “Please,” I shouted from the beach, “I just need a piece of the magical seagrass. The princess of Spain is dying. Please, I beg you!” There was no answer. Feeling incredibly terrified, I prayed for the Lord’s protection and jumped into the water. I took only one leaf of the magical seagrass and immediately swam back to the shore. Nothing happened. Surrounded by playful laughter, we got back to our ship and left the bay. I took my last gaze to the bay and there she was – queen Octoponia sitting on the rock with shining Posidonia oceanica in her hair. The moment our eyes met, the world seemed to stop for a moment.
After a month of travelling, we got back to Spain. The kingdom’s alchemist used the seagrass leaf to brew a potion, which saved our beloved princess’s life. Eventually, she became the queen of Spain, carrying on her father’s legacy.”
Petra and Judit: “Spasitelj”
“On a sunny September day in 1400 A.D., me – Pedro, and my dear co – explorer Judito, went to Capri to spend our holidays. Far away from our king and everyday troubles, or so we thought. At the end of the day, the pigeon with the letter from our king arrived. ”Che palle, Capri wine is so sweet, and the syrens so divine, our vacation is now ruined” – said my colleague after we read that he wants us to explore the small bay. ”Look at the small bay with the tower, I demand you to go there and conquer it, but be careful of the giant who lives there” – the king demanded.
The next morning we sailed to the bay.
”Who are you?” – the voice shouted in anger, and giants rocks started falling to the sea close to our ship. The night before, in one of the many Capri’s taverns, the fisherman told us how to please the giant named Spasitelj. ”In the treasure cave of the Bay Uvala Velika, you should dive deep and found the long lost treasure of the giant that he can not reach.” Insecure of the truth of his words, we dived in the blue depth, and surprisingly found only – a broom! ”Is that a treasure? ”- we started fearing the giant’s rage.
Once we showed the broom from the deck of our ship, the giant screamed of joy: ”Scopa!”
And the treasure it was. You see, the giant used this broom (scopa) to brush his eyelashes for which he was famous in the whole peninsula. They were so long that birds could have a rest at them instead of using branches.
”Enter the bay and take what you need! Return with your king, and we shall all together feast” – the giant said. Oh, how relieved we felt! The next morning, we explored every corner of the bay of Spasitelj and collected marine species for our king’s aquarium. Our mission was so successful that my friend Judito had been invited to the Hungarian king castle to serve as a sailor on the Danube river. And me, well… I stayed in the peninsula. To keep the bay safe from intruders boats. And from time to time, brush his majesty’s magnificent eyelashes.”
“Dear Realm of Campanella, please do not fear me. The little bohemian that I am come in peace to alert you of a place you abandoned without seeing the value of it. In exchange for sharing the precious pieces of information I have, I will just ask you a safe place to stay, a table always covered with treats, and a few thousands of your most beautiful, most valuable, most unique signs of happiness. This place is called “l’Orso” so the bear because when you approach it, the mountains surrounding it has the shape of a sleeping bear.
I will start with you my king (Akrem) I know that becoming saggio (wise) comes with a price. And the price, for now, seems to be your ginocchio (knee). In l’orso, you will find species con prorieta medicinali. I am sure your medico (doctor) Gianna will know them from la alga rossa (Asparagopsis armata) to Caulerpa a grappoli (Caulerpa cylindracea). She will learn how to use their antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties (maybe even to solve the covida virusera that persist among your people). Also, you have le ravine dell orso to rest during your holidays.
And you, my queen (Arina), I recently heard that you deeply need to rest? Well, know that this place is full of Cladophora caespitosa. As its name says you will be able to do molta siesta on these madrepora a cuscino (pillow coral). But also think of your people.
Dear war chef, il piu grande guerriero dei guerrieri. This place will be a perfect training area for your soldiers has it has steps, lo sentirero dell orso, wavy but also calm waters in le spiagge dell orso. To defend your regno (realm), you will need protein and it happened that many birds are resting on la piccola zampa (the small pawn). I would not be surprised that along with them are some delicious uovo (eggs).
Talking about food, you giardiniera (gardener, Petra) aren’t tired of pasta? L’Orso have treasures for you too. Starting with the Red sea plume (Asparagopsis taxiformis) you will cook tropical meals has in Hawaii. You can also enjoy Riccio edule (Paracentrotus lividus) or if you are very lucky the juicy arancia di mare (Tethya aurantium) but for this one, you might have to go deep.
Mr.pagliaccio (clown, Gonzalo), still haven’t done any joke so far? I take it as you are waiting to hear what’s in for you? Well, the inspiration of course. I think your muse will be il polpo! The affection and generosity of no one with its three heats. It has many things to teach you as he is a master of making travestimento (costumes). But while learning do not get a head as big as can be a Doglio (Tonna galea), It would be unfortunate.
Coming to your side now (Ousama), you must be tired of always filming your king… on the top of the natiche dell’orso (butt of the bear), il observatorio dell orso or sulla cresta dell orso you will have the most beautiful views. From there, you will see la grande zampa close to which are located many grotte. One of them is called l’intestino (intestine) because it goes in and out of the mountains by doing una rete (a web). This shaded place will be perfect for you dear strega (witch). But be careful it is also inhabited by sharp Madrepore cutter (Polycyathus muellerae). Hopefully, the Agelas arancia could help with your wounds.
I know the priest of the realm thinks of you as a satanic creation. I also know that the priest likes shiny stuff. la baia dell’orso is filled with Porcelain cowrie, stella serpent and star coral (Astroides calycularis). If these don’t work, you can still defend yourself by throwing a few stony sponges (Petrosia ficiformis) or stone crabs (Eriphia verrucose).
I am not so much of a believer so the only thing I will tell you mr.Priest (Domenico) Is that if I was you I would go get some dattero di mare (Lithophaga lithophaga), I have heard they are devouring stones and I have the feeling you might need them. Also, avoid porta dell inferno nel la baia dell orso.”
Arina and Gonzalo
Akrem and Oussama