Early this morning, expedition leader Xavier Pastor instructed the dive team — left to right: Gorka Leclercq, Underwater Videographer; Josiean, Dive Master; Alberto Iglesias, Dive Master; Keith Ellenbogen, Underwater Photographer — to prepare for underwater exploration of two small Italian Islands Lipari and Stromboli.
These islands were selected as they offered an opportunity to photograph and videograph marine life living in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The profiles for both dives were similar 65 minutes maximum depth 80ft/25m water temperature 18C/70F with visibility of 80ft/25m.
Once the ‘larvae-net’ has been raised out of the water, the microscopic larvae and small animals are sifted through a fine 500-micrometer mesh net and placed into ethanol containers. The larvae samples are reviewed onboard the Marviva Med by scientist Patricia Lastra. The larvae samples will be sent to the Spanish Oceanic Institute in the Balearic Islands, Spain for final analysis and identification.
Oceana is collaborating with Oceanographic Institute researchers, conducting essential research to sample targeted areas within the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea for larvae of the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and other pelagic species such as swordfish.
One of the many goals for Oceana is to utilize this data to confirm these are fertile breeding waters for The Atlantic Bluefin — and that conservation measures are needed immediately to prevent the endangered Atlantic Bluefin Tuna from becoming extinct.
Naples, spelled Napoli in Italian is the second largest city in Italy and the origin of the margarita pizza. Traditionally the pizza is made with mozzarella cheese, pomodoro (tomatos) and basil - each representing the red, white, and green of the Italian flag. The pizza was named after it was served to Queen Margherita when she visited the city.
The Oceana Marviva Med research vessel docked in Pontile Falavio Gioia the cargo shipping center of Napoli, Italy — due to the size of our ship (86ft) and status as a scientific research vessel — we were unable to dock in a less industrial harbor.
At 5:30 in the morning, as the sun began to rise over the horizon — the Oceana Marviva Med is approaching the harbor of Napoli, Italy to re-supply the ship with fresh food and fuel. Under the bright yellow light, between the Isla De Ischia on the port side of the vessel and the Island of Capri starboard side our crew continued to watch for illegal driftnet fishing boats from the bridge of our vessel.
At 2pm this afternoon the Oceana Dive Team explored the underwater world around Isola Di Ponza, Italy. In calm seas protected by the leeward side of the island we descended to a depth of 100ft/30m for 60 minutes.
In contrast to the last dive where I focused on the environment — for this dive I concentrated on creating an image that captured my impression of the animal as it observed us observing them.
Onboard the Oceana Marviva Med, this afternoon at 2pm the Dive team loaded all the scuba diving equipment (scuba tanks, oxygen safety bottle, and camera/video) onto the yellow RIB (Rubber Inflatable Boat) hanging on a crane 15ft/5m over the side of the boat for a dive to Formicce — a short distance from the harbor of Isola Di Ponza.
Anchored outside the harbor of Isle De Ponza, Italy the Oceana team of photographers, videographers, scientists, and environmentalists boarded the yellow RIB (rubber inflatable boat) to in search of illegal driftnet fishing boats within the marina. Throughout the day we documented approximately 10 fishing boats with illegal driftnets — that were covered under tarps to mask their activities.
To help clarify some of the confusion of why driftnets are used in Italy I asked our lead scientist and fishing boat expert Maria Jose to explain:
This morning the Oceana dive team traveled an hour and half to the most southern part of Sardinia, Italy to dive around Capo Teulada (Chia Laguna), near Cagliari. With flat seas and the most spectacular turquoise blue the eye can see — we descended into the ocean below the steep vertical cliffs that ascended into the skies.