Blog

  • Obama's neighbors

    Author: Xavier Pastor
    Date: August 17, 2010

    As we had predicted, and after a night of sailing, we reached the bay of Port Saint Joe, a small port at the westernmost tip of Florida, at the crack of dawn. At the local marina, they had kindly agreed to receive the Fedex and UPS packages that were sent to us over night from a couple of businesses in California and New Jersey with parts to repair our submarine robot. Sometimes, incredibly enough, these things turn out right. We purchased the parts by phone. They told us that they would be in a tiny port at the other end of a huge country the next morning, and there they were.

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  • Complicated diving on the high sea

    Author: Xavier Pastor
    Date: August 16, 2010

    We awoke in the Florida Middle Grounds, an area protected against bottom trawling formed by an ancient reef about 100 miles from the coast. Its peaks reach a depth of 25 meters. There we had planned to do another series of submersions. Our initial plan was to use the divers on the reef’s peaks and the ROV on the slopes that dropped off to depths lying outside the scuba’s possibilities. The submarine robot’s problems, that we hope to solve tomorrow, have forced us to concentrate on the shallower parts of the Middle Grounds. For the first time, visibility was excellent. The sandy bottom, sprinkled with coral, also held abundant specimens of coral and tube sponges in which specimens of gobies, spider crabs, grouper, hogfish, angelfish, jellyfish and algae like the halimeda live.

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  • 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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