After being under way all night without any problems, we reached Gijón. To finish off the campaign, the objective for the day was to take some samples of mushroom sponges, a species we have recorded along the Galician and Asturian coasts. We have not been able to identify it because it is probably a new and undescribed species.
Today we continued with the campaign by making two Rov immersions and one with divers. Ana Leiva (director of Fundación Biodiversidad) and Juanjo came with us. This was because they showed great interest in finding out what a day of work on the Ranger was like and our activities and the information we are collecting on Bay of Biscay habitats and species. Marta Madina, Oceana's director of communications, also came with us.
We started the day sounding the canyon near the Castro Verde seamount to later sail toward the coastal area between Punta El Mariano and Punta la Code (between Islares and Castro Urdiales) where divers went on a shallow dive (between 6 and 15 meters deep).
Just like the day before, early in the morning, starting the day, we came across a group of 9 common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). As they did not approach the ship, we continued our course toward the Castro Verde seamount.
Today was an intense day of work with Rov. During the first dive, in the canyon off Ondarroa, we documented a muddy bottom where the following creatures dwell: prawns of the genus Pleisonika, octopi (Eledone cirrhosa), catsharks (Sciliorhinus canicula), four-spotted megrims (Lepidorhombus boscii), silver pout (Gadiculus argenteus) and color tube anemones (Cerianthus membranaceus). These last ones formed abundant bunches.
Taking advantage of the fact that yesterday was a day off, the Rov's technicians joined the two umbilicals, so we went out cheery. We wanted to submerge the robot at a greater depth. Unfortunately, an approximately 20 knot W wind forced us to stay close to shore, so we did the tests with the Rov off of Zumaia at approximately 1 nautical mile.
In spite of having the day off, many of us had pending work. So at a more relaxed pace, at any part of the ship you could find someone doing maintenance work on the scuba gear, checking the Rov's operating status and welding the umbilical, organizing photos, doing the timing for the recordings, identifying some of the species found or finishing up reports.
Others decided to spend the day seeing new places and via the Road to Santiago. They reached Deba, crossing fields and thickly wooded areas.
Today we’ve surveyed canyons, identified interesting places and planned future dives. While sailing towards the canyons, we sighted various groups of common and bottlenose dolphins (Delphinus delphis and Tursiops truncatus). We also found a jellyfish known as Aguamala (Pelagia noctiluca) approximately 9 miles from the coast.
We’ve been at sea for almost two months with this campaign and have sailed for many miles –northern miles- although the truth is that we’ve been quite lucky with the weather and have been able to work practically every day. Slight winds and calm seas rocking us gently. The divers must dance to the rhythm of the currents that move them from side to side. The “heavy seas” remind us that, many miles away from here, the weather is more like winter, either more Cantabrian or more Atlantic, but definitely “more northern.”