13 Dec Fishermen’s Huts: An Essential Part of the Ibiza Landscape
When one speaks of the Ibizan coast one always refers to the hidden coves, of transparent waters and colors that oscillate between turquoise and emerald over the sandy seabed, to the dark green and deep blue tones of the Posidonia Oceanica sea meadows. In these descriptions, however, a unique and characteristic element of Ibiza usually goes unnoticed, one that forms an important part of the island’s fishing culture: the casetas varadero, or fishermen’s huts.
These small fishermen’s shelters were an essential element in supplying the food chain of the Ibicenco people in the days before tourism. For about a century, the fishermen’s huts arose as a solution to the problem of sheltering fishing boats, keeping them safe from the winter storms.
Today it is estimated that there are about 1,500 fishermen’s huts on the coast of Ibiza, the majority used to store boats and fishing equipment, although it is true that some people have taken advantage of this habit and turned them into small huts used for leisure. The 70s and 80s saw a great boom in casetas varadero, as families took advantage of these small structures to meet up on weekends, cook a paella in the open air and enjoy the sea while the children played and splashed.
The varaderos continue to allow fishermen to go fishing year round, without fear that storms will destroy their boats, as happens when they are simply anchored. The fishermen’s huts also allow their owners to go fishing as often as they like. The foreground of the hut consists of two parallel wooden guides sloping together by sleepers and smeared with tallow so that the llaüts – the traditional fishing boat-, can slide easily in and out. Inside the hut, at the back, there is a lathe with a rope that allows the boat to be lifted in and out smoothly. Nowadays, most of these have been replaced by a battery motor.
A total of 65 huts, located in Sa Caleta and Sa Punta des Molí, have been declared of Cultural Interest, but in many other coves you can find many more clusters of huts, such as those at Cala d’Hort, Porroig, Cala Mastella, Cala Vedella and Es Portitxol, to mention a few. They are an essential part of the landscape of the island and the life of fishermen.