On-board Diary: The laminaria forest, the dolphin and the veretillum.

Author: Silvia García
Date: June 6, 2008



We are doing very well with the filming. We’ve found amazing sea bottoms comprised of laminaria and maërl, harbouring as much life as any tropical forest. It’s worth it, even though we’ve worked 12 hours straight, without resting, only taking 15 or 20 minutes for lunch. Yesterday we had to postpone our work for more than one hour because a dolphin fell in love with the ROV and we couldn’t continue filming. The cameras did film the dolphin, though, and it was love at first sight. The dolphin would swim along with the ROV without leaving its side, going round and round it and tapping it with its nose, without even noticing the people. Apparently, this dolphin has been in the rias baixas for a few months, swimming in and out of the ports. They’ve named him Gaspar and he measures 3.5 meters. He must be sick or disorientated... something’s wrong with him, that’s certain.

Finally, we decided that we had time for the divers, somewhat frozen already because they had been snorkelling with the dolphin, to take one last dive and photograph the “field” of veretillum, or “sea pens” (Veretillum cynomorium), we had seen that morning with the ROV.

With 14 people on board, peaceful moments are few and far between. But, at last, it’s time to review the day’s photographs and films, at night and peacefully, with a north wind blowing that makes the port sound like a herd of cows with their cowbells ringing. Hopefully we’ll be able to film more tomorrow.