On-board Diary: Chipiona (Cádiz). Day four of investigating the Chipiona sea bottom. Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Author: Ana de la Torriente
Date: August 19, 2009

Today is my first day aboard the Oceana Ranger. Since the start of the day, I have been able to see how everything is organized and coordinated, and how everyone is focused on their task.

It has been a very hot day, but the slight wind and choppy sea has allowed us to work without a problem.

We started first thing in the morning with a ROV submersion a little farther north than on previous days, off the mouth of the Guadalquivir River. As we were near the river’s mouth, visibility was minimal. However, we were able to document a 20 meter deep muddy bottom. Also in this area, we picked up a couple of sediment samples with the dredger. We came across some crabs, polichaetes and many snails or horny augurs (Turritella comunis) buried in the mud.

To finish off the day, the divers dove to the south of Bajo Salmedina within the area that we at Oceana propose to be included in the protected marine area of Parque de Doñana. In this area, nearing Chipiona, just 1.5 miles from shore, we were surprised by the huge forest of broad sea fans (Eunicella verrucosa) we found. Also, though to a lesser extent, the divers have filmed yellow sea fans (Leptogorgia sarmentosa), small coral (Polycyahtus muellerae) and tree coral (Dendrophyllia ramea). The most numerous fishes in the area have been annular sea bream (Diplodus annularis).