Saturday, June 6

Calpe U3A Takes a Dive


Our speaker at the Thursday, February 15th meeting will be Dr. Rafael Garcia, who will tell us all about the ecology of our coast line and the efforts that are being made to preserve the diversity of the life that you see when you take a dive.

Dr. Garcia is the Scientific Director of the Institute of Environment and Marine Science Research, based here at the Port in Calpe above the Lonja de Pescado.  I was invited to call on him and finding the glass doors locked I saw an arrow inviting me to push the ‘timbre’.

It seems, much to my surprise, that the staff are quite happy to answer the door and show their display and explain what goes on there.

The offices extend over three floors and include two large well equipped laboratories with a projection room that would that would seat at least 30 people.  I chose the 15 minute film (which he made and will show at our meeting.)  I was dazzled and amazed at the spectacular colours of the coral, plant life and fish that can be found in our bay.  (Move over David Attenborough).

Most amazing was the display of the giant mejillon, or mussel found on this coast. It can grow up to a metre in length and live for up to forty years. (See photo, Dr.Garcia holding a specimen which he will bring to the meeting.) It is an endangered species, being attacked and killed by a parasite.  He and his team are currently exploring the possibility to rescue as many as possible and bring them back to Calpe for temporary accommodation in a number of tanks specially prepared for them.

Apart from the research that is carried on, they also conduct bi-monthly courses on Biology and Marine Ecology and many other concepts that would end with a Certificate of Competence.

I wonder how many people know that all these exciting things are going on nearby. The U3A would be very happy to organise a group visit. Dr. Garcia has offered to show us     round the facility, then you could take lunch at your favourite restaurant in the Port.

Please let me know if you are interested, Peter F. Purvey (

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