The island of Gozo, is part of the Maltese archipelago, and is the second largest island in Malta. Gozo has a long tradition that connects — this current modern day island with the mythical island of Olygia in Homers’s Odyssey book V. Within Homer’s fabled poem, Olygia was ruled by ‘Calypso’, a nymph, (a nymph is any member of a large class of mythological entities in human female form), who detained ‘Odysseus’, the hero of the story, as a prisoner of love for seven years – who she desired to make her immortal husband — until Zeus freed Odysseus.
As sure as the sun would rise, in the morning with Mediterranean Sea as smooth as glass — the purseiner fishing fleets were busy catching and caging the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. Within 100 meters of the activity Patricia Lastra, tuna scientist as well as Gorka Leclercq, underwater videographer documented the purseiners using fishing nets. With an estimated 10,000 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna caught every day the size of these nets and cages are massive.
Under a full moon with strong winds, rough seas (category 7) and deep swells (reaching 8-12ft) the Oceana Marviva Med continue the course set by Expedition Leader, Xavier Pastor to monitor the purseiner fishing activity in the open Mediterranean Sea between Malta, Tunisia and Libya.
As of June 16, 2008 the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus Thynnus) fishing season has been officially closed in the Mediterranean by the European Commission due to non-compliance by member states within the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Recovery Plan.
At 8 am the dive team assembled for our first dive in the Mediterranean as a team. From Left to Right Keith Ellenbogen, underwater photographer; Alberto Iglesias, Diver Master; Enrique Talledo (Kike ), underwater videographer; Thierry Lannoy, Dive Master; and Carlos Perez, Operations Manager.
One hundred nautical miles from Malta, last night we anchored in calm waters adjacent Isla Pantelleria. This defining features of the island are beautiful steep vertical cliffs and a strong angular landscape.
With a half moon visible in the clear skies, expedition leader Xavier Pastor asked the dive team to prepare our equipment for a morning dive. More to follow….
Early this morning with grayish blue skies predominant wind changed direction and is now blowing from the North. With the force of the winds the sea condition changed from calm to moderate/rough. Now swelling with some force (5 -8 ft), the sea swayed the boat, the people and all the equipment from side to side. Starting to get our sea legs each of us found ways of suppressing the feeling of the swaying seas.
With the sun closing in on the horizon, at 8pm the Oceana Marviva departed the beautiful island of Mallorca and is now heading approximately 500 nautical miles southeast through the Mediterranean to Malta (an independent country since 1964). Sailing at an average speed of 8.2 knots per hour the voyage is going to take 72 hours and cover 500 nautical miles.