The beauty of the salt fields of Gran Canaria is the product of the ocean, sun and human tenacity.
A golden white treasure is hidden away along the coastline around Gran Canaria at the hazy border between land and sea, although in this case its presence is not down to any invading pirates. Its origin is owed to the permanent interaction between the two elements that form part of the island’s pure essence: the ocean and the sun. Man’s efforts have gone into illuminating the glittering piles of sea salt at several salt fields along the island’s coast, some of them with several centuries of history behind them.
The salt fields are the cradle of Atlantic salt. But before salt becomes its white end product, we have to talk blue, because the first words of this tale are written on the blue sea of the Atlantic. Man channels its pure waters into the salt beds so that the sun can evaporate them day by day. The only thing that remains of this process on the ground is the crystaline, white and pure reflection of its soul. We are in fact talking of salt, where the true marine spirit is concentrated and lives on.
The human hand forms an intrinsic part of the whole process. The salt that piles up at the salt fields would not be there if it wasn’t for the efforts and skill of those whose skin is weathered by the sun chipping away at the thousands of salt crystals, preventing them from gelling together, and finally creating piles of dazzling whiteness. Each grain of salt is the result of the combined work of the sun, man and the sea.
These human silhouettes that cut a sharp figure against the clear skies remind us that Gran Canaria’s countryside is indeed, on many occasions, the work of its men and women. History has left an imprint on the land, with stories unfolding of times in which salt was essential for the fish conservation industry, and in general for a way of life etched over a blue and white setting.
But salt is also an integral part of present day. Gran Canaria is home to several of the most outstanding and ancient salt complexes in the Canary Islands, all of them in different states of repair and use. They are all joined by the enigmatic and magnetic beauty of the vagaries of light and salt.
Indeed, the salt beds become mirrors that reflect the blueness of the skies. On occasions, these still waters are tinged with pink tones, the product of microorganisms, that transform each nightfall and dawn into a sublime colourful spectacle which starts on ground level and rises up magnificently, to where the seagulls fly up on high, to the point where the beginning and end of the day fuse together. It all happens here, on the island where each salt crystal has a story to tell.