On-board Diary: The mouth of the Oriñón estuary

Author: Ana de la Torriente
Date: July 12, 2008



In the morning, we return to the mouth of the Oriñón estuary to dive, once off the whale of Sonabia and then again off the Cercadas Islands.

For the first dive, we return to the underwater passageways of the Whale, where some rocks are 6 meters high and many of them are covered with red calcareous algae.

We spot various species of large gorgonians at 18 meters depth: Eunicella verrucosa, Leptogorgia tormentosa and Leptogorgia lusitanica. And other species, such as the sponges Axinella polypoides, Cliona celata, Sycon sp. and the cnidarian Leptosammia pruvoti.

For the second dive, we covered the smallest island of the Cercadas Islands, which is completely perforated underneath and has passageways and caves that harbour species that prefer darkness, such as conger eels (Conger conger) and glass prawns (Palaemon elegans). We also found other crustaceans, including European lobsters (Homarus gammarus) and velvet crabs (Necora puber). The rocky walls were covered in sponges and cnidarians, such as Actinothoe sphyrodeta.

We also saw a large school of salema (Sarpa salpa) feeding on algae on the sandy-muddy seabed.

Unfortunately, we also documented garbage, including plastics and ropes on the seabed.