Blog

  • Diving in Saint Petersburg

    Author: Xavier Pastor
    Date: August 15, 2010

    We arrived at the Tampa-Saint Petersburg dock, already quite a bit to the north of the western part of the Florida coast that is bathed in the Gulf waters. Today is the day that several shipmates who have been with us during this initial period of the expedition have had to leave the Latitude.

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  • A Calm Day

    Author: Xavier Pastor
    Date: August 14, 2010

    It has been a day of sailing. We have sailed with excellent weather, a calm sea and a just sun Once it was freed from its struggle against the Gulf Stream, the Oceana Latitude regained its cruising speed of 10 knots.

    People continued adjusting their gear, answering their e-mails, editing videos and photographs and preparing work for the upcoming days. Together with the fact that it’s a weekend and not much input is being received from land, this has been a quiet day.

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  • The First Dives in the Gulf of Mexico

    Author: Xavier Pastor
    Date: August 13, 2010

    This morning at the crack of dawn we used Oceana Latitude’s powerful auxiliary launch, the Longitude, to transport our group of divers to two areas of the reef to perform the first dives of the campaign. The first one was kind of disappointing. Visibility was practically nil and the coral and gorgonians were covered with a thick layer of sediment from the Everglades and other coastal discharges. Like Sole Esnaola said, this was like “diving in milk”. The second dive, like the previous one, took place at about 20 meters, but in an area farther from the coast.

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  • Light traps for plankton

    Author: Xavier Pastor
    Date: August 12, 2010

    After sailing for almost two days from Fort Lauderdale, halted by the Gulf Stream, today we were able to start work on the sea. After having anchored the ship at the entrance to Key West harbor, we waited for nightfall to lower one of the Latitude’s launches and deploy a series of plankton light traps. They are a sort of keepnet with a very fine mesh, and a submersible lightbulb is placed inside them. The larvae and post-larval stages of many species are attracted by the light and they enter the traps through the small openings designed for this function.

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  • Mission assembles portrait of the cold-water coral in the sea surrounding the Azores


    Date: August 11, 2010

    The crew aboard the oceanographic ship “Gago Coutinho” weighed anchor yesterday to study the “Condor” and “Voador” seamounts.

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  • Sailing Towards the Gulf of Mexico

    Author: Xavier Pastor
    Date: August 11, 2010

    We have spent almost a week loading and getting the ship and gear ready and handling the media. Now it’s time to set sail toward the Gulf.

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  • World Marine Heritage: UNESCO can do better


    Date: August 6, 2010

    The 34th Session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO that was held in Brazil through 3 August 2010, resulted in adding 21 new sites to the World Heritage List, now totaling 911 sites. Two of the new sites are some of the world’s largest marine protected areas, the Phoenix Islands Protected Areas in Kiribati and Papahānaumokuākea in Hawai’i.

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  • Scars on the sea


    Date: July 5, 2010

    Our research catamaran, the Oceana Ranger, has been studying Seco de los Olivos, a seamount whose peak is located roughly 80m from the surface of the sea, on seabeds at 400 and 700m depth on its north and south slopes. Because we are "land" creatures and to make a comparison, sometimes its easier to image a mountain of this size on land. Like these mountains, seamounts harbour extraordinarily beautiful landscapes with wide biodiversity.

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  • The five senses


    Date: June 27, 2010

    Sight: when you’re at the Oceana Ranger’s bow, you can’t help looking at the horizon; it’s like the sea is inviting you to meditate. Being on board ship and feeling the movement of the waves is relaxing.

    Hearing: apart from the sound of the water, you hear the crew’s laughter, especially Carlos and his “jejeje”.

    Taste: the cold meats that Africa serves us at 11am are just what we need.

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  • Garbage on Saint John’s Day


    Date: June 24, 2010

    After a whole day working with the ROV and a couple of interesting dives, during which we saw groups of orange roughies, we return to port. We hear thumping sounds coming from the horizon as we get close to the dock. It’s Saint John’s Day, the night of bonfires to celebrate the beginning of summer. Some people think celebration means turning up the decibels and sowing the beach with plastic, including bottles, bags, cans and other garbage. No comment.

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