On-board Diary: Estrecho de la Bocayna (La Bocayna Strait). Friday, August 28, 2009

Author: Ana de la Torriente
Date: August 29, 2009



We were not as lucky today with the ROV submersions. The first thing today we tried taking a sampling in the SW area of Estrecho la Bocayna in an area where the slope descends rapidly from 100 m to 600 m in only half a mile. When we reached the spot, a NE wind was blowing at force 4, so we decided it would be better to move to another spot. We already have experience where these conditions greatly hamper the coordination between the ROV and the ship.

The second attempt was in a more sheltered area to the SE of Isla Lobos (NE of Fuerteventura). This island owes its name to the fact that it used to have the largest colony of monk seals (Monachus monachus) on the Canary Islands which the locals called lobos (wolves). It was one of the places within their sphere of distribution they disappeared from, mainly due to hunting them for their skin, fat and meat.

After dive the ROV to just 400 meters, we found a species of black coral that we had not found up to then, Paranthipates larix. But unfortunately, a few minutes before starting to submerge the ROV, it became blocked, and we had to abort the dive.

Since we were not having very much luck with the robot, we dove to the south of the island, and the divers dove in an area known locally as the river depths. This bottom is known for some mushroom-shaped geological formations where there is a large number of different species of fish such as damselfish (Chromis limbata) and Canary damsel (Abudefduf luridus), cardinal fish (Apogon imberbis), yellowmouth barracuda (Sphyraena viridensis), horse mackerel (Pseudocaranx dentex), amberfish (Seriola rivoliana), striped seabream (Lithognathus mormyrus), two-banded bream (Diplodus vulgaris) and zebra seabream (D. cervinus), saddle bream (Oblada melanura), salema (Sarpa salpa), dusky grouper (Epinephelus marginatus), painted comber (Serranus scriba), ornate wrasse (Thalassoma pavo), planehead fish (Stephanolepis hispidus) and catalufa (Heteropriacanthus cruentatus).