On-board Diary: Ría de Arousa

Author: Ricardo Aguilar
Date: June 7, 2008



We woke to strong winds coming from the northeast, but we attempted to go out anyway to verify if the seas were calmer outside the estuary. As we were heading towards Salvora, we notice that the conditions are good inside the estuary, in case we can’t go out to sea. Luckily, the island affords some protection so the seas are quite calm and we are able to get some work done.

Unfortunately, something else besides the weather goes wrong: the robot has a computer failure. We cannot lose a day’s work, though, so we decide to return to the estuary and dive near the mussel platforms in the area around Porto Meloso.

It’s impressive how the fauna takes advantage of the surface of the ropes, chains and even the mussels to settle. We spot many calcareous sponges from the Sycon and Ascandria families, as well as a few demospongia from the Haliclona family. There are also many barnacles, jewel anemones (Corynactis viridis) and soft coral, Alcyonium digitatum, also known as dead man’s fingers. And, although we find less than we had expected, we also spot some skeleton shrimp (Caprellids).

Tons of mussel debris accumulates under the mussel platforms. And on top of the debris, we spot some echinoderms, including spiny starfish (Marthasterias glacialis), common starfish (Asterias rubens), black brittle stars (Ophiocomina nigra), sea urchins (Paracentrotus lividus) and holothurians (Aslia lefevrei).

While the divers carry on with their work, on board we are still trying to decipher the ROV’s problem. Apparently, it will not be repaired today, so we decide to take a rest and head back to the port.