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They say that a person is free when they are able to pack all their belongings into a suitcase and that they are truly free when they can throw that suitcase into the sea. I'm not encouraging you to throw more stuff into the sea, but to take as your only belongings a pair of goggles, a snorkel, fins, and a camera. With such light luggage you will be able to savour the freedom of diving into the sea and discovering the immense wealth it hides.

Thanks to a wide range of activities, MARE, the Audiovisual Contest for the Conservation of the Balearic Sea, offers you the chance to do just that this summer.

In May, MARE launched its third annual competition, which will remain open until 15 September. Both amateurs and professionals, young and old, can participate by submitting unpublished photographs of the Balearic Sea and the Mediterranean. If you check the rules, you will see that there are up to 5 categories in which you can submit your digital images – up to 20 per participant – and compete for prizes worth a total of €10,000.

If you still don't dare to get into the water, MARE makes it easy for you through different introductory workshops. On 9 July, it was the turn of the youngest participants who, with the help of photographers Miquel Gomila and Javier Atero, took part in a photosub course in Cala Llebeig, in Sa Dragonera. Some of them were familiar with photography and for others it was their first time. The teachers shared their techniques and explained the different habitats and species found in the cove. The youngsters used Tg-6 cameras provided by Olympus for more than 2 hours.

Also in July, documentary filmmaker, cameraman, and underwater photographer Enrique Talledo visited Mallorca to collaborate with MARE and the organisations Save the Med and Arrels Marines. During his stay he gave an underwater photography workshop in Cala Sant Vicenç and presented his documentary Salvemos los mares de la tierra (Let's save the earth’s seas) at the Club Náutico del Puerto Pollensa.

In another part of the island, at Albatros Diving in Cala Bona, MARE brought together 30 women linked to the Balearic Sea – scientists, project managers, sailors, divers, and photographers – to dive as part of the Women of the Balearic Sea conference. The meeting focused on creating a community and making the work of women in the marine environment more visible, especially in the field of underwater photography.

MARE has more activities planned for this summer. The next event will be in Menorca where, thanks to the collaboration of AFONIB (Association of Nature Photographers of the Balearic Islands) and GOB Menorca, it has organised a workshop on apnoea and a shallow-water photosub. For this workshop it is essential to have a minimum experience in snorkelling and to bring basic equipment (mask, snorkel, and fins). Once again, Olympus will provide 10 Tg-6 cameras for the participants to use.

If all this does not convince you and you feel that you are hopelessly terrestrial, MARE has a final proposal for you: the travelling exhibition Facing the sea, which is touring the islands. View the 45 images from previous competitions and reflect on the question "Do we live facing the sea?” If you visit the exhibition and share your opinion via the QR code, you’ll be entered into a draw to win a MARE print image of your choice.

In addition, MARE has collaborated with Xarxa Dragonera Blava on an exhibition of the best underwater and coastal photographs of the island of Sa Dragonera. Through a collaborative photocall, the aim is to raise awareness of the ecological, social, and economic importance of this marine reserve. After visiting Andratx, Sineu, Es Capdellà, and Andratx, the exhibition will end its tour in October at the Maritime Museum.

As you can see, all you need this summer is a little bit of impetus to jump into the water and press the shutter release button on your camera. You can leave the rest of your luggage at home and enjoy the beauty and freedom that the sea has to offer.