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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Leap of faith

In+the+off-season%2C+the+Majorca+beaches+are+largely+deserted.+In+the+summer%2C+they%E2%80%99ll+be+filled+with+tourists.
In the off-season, the Majorca beaches are largely deserted. In the summer, they’ll be filled with tourists.

CLIFF JUMPING IN MAJORCA, SPAIN—

One foot on the edge of the cliff, weight forward and poised to fall, I watch the dark ocean waves break against the rocky Mediterranean shore.

“Keep your head straight,” says Miguel, our guide. “It keeps the water from rushing your face.” He motions with his hands in case his words are buried in his accent.

The ocean expands into the horizon and the clear sky, a miraculous day of sunshine in an otherwise cloudy forecast. The heat radiates off of our wetsuits and hovers under our helmets and life jackets. The water looks refreshing. I count to three in my head. The ground disappears beneath my feet. I step off the ledge, cross my arms over my chest and for a few seconds I’m free falling.

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I plunge into the water before my life jacket rips me from the depths. I’m struck by the initial chill, my bare hands going numb. But when I break the surface, I’m laughing and choking up seawater.

I have to fight against the waves and bring myself to the shore to climb up the cliff face, preparing to jump again.

“Oh my God,” says Miguel, our guide, as I struggle to grasp a hold on a blind turn. I hang off of the cliff, my hands scratched and sliced by the sharp, rocky exterior. I use the full force of my pathetic American noodle arms to swing myself around the bend, all while keeping an eye out for sea urchins. My feet scrape the rocks.

Miguel moves with ease, holding on with one hand. His companion guide Ferdinand is silent until I lose my balance.

“Aquí, aquí,” he says, gesturing to the rocks that I need to grab.

When we finally reach the top of the cliffs, it’s time to jump again, higher this time. The process repeats itself.

Majorca is an island off of the coast of Spain. February  is the rainy season when the almond trees explode into bloom. The capital, Palma, sits on a rugged coastline. Ancient Arab baths, drained and cracked, are nestled into the stone streets. The cathedral and its gardens spill into the city center, and small tiendas sell postcards on every corner.

Bar Coto, a bright, hot-pink themed restaurant grabs our attention. Decorated with posh pillows, bowls of fruit perched on wooden tables and paintings of Frida Kahlo, Bar Coto serves a mixture of Indian and Italian food. Our German waiter speaks Spanish and a little bit of English. We’re served hot and spicy soup, shrimp pasta and sangria all at once.

A wooden train runs from Palma to the nearby Soller, a town surrounded by looming mountains rolled in fog. Soller itself is deserted, as all the shops close at one. The rain falls light and steady. Every road ends in a dead end. Orange groves and lemon trees speckle the deep, greenish-gray fields of the countryside.

We spend an afternoon wandering the empty streets, stopping in the only open cafes to pass the time and watch the rain fall. There’s simply nothing else to do.

Away from civilization are the cliffs. Miguel himself has cut the foliage away to make a road.

Abseiling down the cliff side, I lose my footing and slip into the rocks. I’m grateful for the ropes this time. My feet finally touch the ground, a steep incline of a cave in the cliff face. I unhook my carabineers and send the ropes back to the top. I rest in the cave and wait for my friends to join me, watching the waves break and send salty white spray over the rocks, a constant rise and fall.

I’ve never seen this side of the ocean.

2nd Place Series of Articles winner in  the 2015 SCPA Collegiate News Contest.
2nd Place Series of Articles winner in the 2015 SCPA Collegiate News Contest.

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