Once again, with August here, the controversy over adolescents and youngsters in general diving from a considerable height, off the top of the Peñon, is being debated.
Even the oldest people from the town can remember having done the same themselves, but these are different times some argue. In a sense, it is the same attitude that had all of the UK’s play parks forced to put rubber matting under the swings. We as adults might come to the conclusion that when we were kids there was no such protection and yet we ‘survived’ our childhood, but at the same time there are those that are bent on saving us from ourselves.
Admittedly, diving into the water from 40 metres up, with the risk of either landing awkwardly or finding a submerged rock where you didn’t expect to find one, is hardly the same as falling off a play-park swing, so perhaps the comparison isn’t valid.
The fact remains, however, that every village has its customs and diving off the Peñon is almost an unofficial coming-of-age ritual: this is where a young lad proves himself to be brave and daring before the young lass he fancies. In African tribal villages, you might have to go out and kill a lion; in Salobreña, you jump off the Peñon.
But you would be wrong to think that only adolescents do it, because it’s also a reckless way of proving that you’re still young. Again, in other cultures, you have an affair with a girl not long out of high-school, leaving your wife and kid at home; in Salobreña, you jump off the Peñon.
Another factor is the visitor versus locals rivalry: are you, as a young lad, going to look like a chicken before the local girls, whilst spending you summer holiday here. In other towns, it ends up in a punch up outside the local discotheque; in Salobreña you jump off the Peñon and end up the best of mates with the locals.
The problems are various. Visitors don’t know the jumping off points like the locals – a metre or so to the left or right and you’re dead after colliding with a submerged rock. Jumping at night – which is mega risky and the max as far as dares go, means nobody is at hand if you get into trouble, as the beach life guards and Proteccion Civil only operate during the day. Jumping into a jelly fish shoal – habitual summer visitors as well – isn’t recommended.
This year things are especially confusing because a nationwide media source claimed that jumping had been forbidden, causing the Town Hall to deny this information: municipal by-laws for the beaches do not prohibit jumping off rocks, neither is it a finable offence.
Besides, as one local pointed out, how do you stop them? The Policia Local can’t be there all day and all night and it is pointless to fence off the Peñon, both because it is a tourist attraction and because somebody who is willing to jump from 30 or 40 metres into the sea below, is not going to find a fence too ‘risky’ to scale.
(News: Salobrena, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)