On-board Diary: July 23, 2008

Author: Ana de la Torriente
Date: July 23, 2008



In the morning, we returned to the canyon facing the Orio estuary to document the seabed with the help of ROV.

Before getting there, 10.5 nautical miles from the coast and in waters with a temperature of 21ºC, we spotted a Portuguese man o’war.

The substrate all along the canyon was muddy and this is where the angular crab (Goneplax romboides) likes to build its nests or caves. In deeper waters, in an area with more detritus, the seabed was dominated by the crinoid Leptometra celtica and rugose squat lobsters (Munida rugosa), which also build their nests in the sand and mud.

The fish species we found were mainly small catsharks, soles, hake, monkfish, triglids and dragonets. We also saw various catshark eggs atop sea pens (Funiculina quadrangularis).

Amongst the benthic invertebrates, there were the mollusks Calliostoma sp and Eledone cirrhosa, the goose foot starfish Anseropoda placenta, the polychaete Hyalinoecia tubícola and the anemone Mesacmaea sp.

After three hours working with the ROV, we hauled it up and travelled to our next destination, a rocky seabed comprised of slabs covered by fine sediment, at approximately 100 meters depth, in front of San Sebastian, 3.2 nautical miles away. On our way to the second site, we passed the trawler from Gijon that we saw yesterday, working in waters at 150 meters depth.

Despite the cloudy waters and bad visibility, we documented the seabed, with few organisms occurring in the rocky areas, but other areas with strong presence of polychaetes Bonellia viridis, sponges Phakellia ventilabrum, yellow corals Denprophyllia cornígera, sea urchins Echinus melo and some perch Acantholabrus palloni.

Once we finished, we returned to port to spend our last night in Zumaia. Before entering the port, though, we were lucky enough to see the competition shell (row boat) Deun de Zumaia as it was training, and Jesús and Kike took advantage to document it by taking dozens of photographs.