(by Pablo Burgués)
One of the things that shock all human beings that come to visit Ibiza is the impressive turquoise colour of the sea. But, have you ever asked yourself why the hell these waters have these so super lollipop tones?
If your answer has been positive, keep on reading this post, because here you’ll find the answers to all your doubts. If, on the contrary, your answer has been “I don’t lose my time asking myself silly questions”, then stop reading this, get down to the newsstand, buy the Marca and/or the As and keep on squeezing your life to the full. And without further delay, let’s go on.
There is a widespread belief that states that the ocean is like a giant mirror and that it’s blue because it reflects the colour of the sky. Mistake, mistake, because if this theory was right on cloudy days the sea would be white as the clouds, and this, my friends, is not the case.
The real truth is that the water (either at the sea, a river or at the toilet itself) is not blue but clear, and the colour that our eyes see is only an optical illusion produced by how the light affects it. What do you think? It’s shocking, isn’t it? Well, don’t panic, because I’m going to try to explain this stuff in a simple way so that you get it (and, by the way, to get it myself, because it’s a real huge deal). Let’s go for it.
Apparently, the light is made of three primary colours, green, blue and red, and each one of them has a different wavelength. When the light bangs into an object, depending on its chemical composition, the object absorbs a kind of wave/colour and reflects the rest. We don’t see the ones it doesn’t absorb, because it’s as if the object swallow them. The waves it doesn’t absorb bounce back to the surface and get to our eyes in the form of colours.
Thus, when something is white (for instance, Pope Francis) this means that it doesn’t absorb any kind of wave, because white is nothing but the mixing of the three primary colours to the full. On the contrary, black things (such as, for instance Darth Vader) don’t turn up their nose at any wave and so they don’t reflect any colour. Poor things.
Back to the sea issue, though as we’ve said the water is clear, colourless, this characteristic changes when the water is found in huge amounts and mixed with salt and calcium carbonate. This combination of elements absorbs the long waves (red, orange and yellow) and reflects the short ones (green and blue). Thus, the deepest areas of the ocean are very dark blue and the shore is almost transparent.
In the case of Ibiza to all this we should add that its seabeds are full of posidonia, a water plant that, as all respectable plants, is green. The combination of this colour with blue is the reason why our waters have these turquoise hues that take your breath away.
Translation: Dora Sales
Read more stories: Typic d’aquí