On-board Diary: La Gomera. Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Author: Ana de la Torriente
Date: September 9, 2009
This time, we submerged the ROV in Punta del Jurado, north of La Gomera. We were surprised to find so many shortnose greeneye (Chlorophthalmus agassizi) atop the muddy seabed, all looking in the direction from which the current was coming. We have documented this species in the Mediterranean in the past, but always individuals alone, never in such large groups.
The great discovery of the day, however, was the large amount of fan coral (Flabellum chunii) we found on the muddy-sandy seabed. To date, this species has only been documented in Grand Canary. In the past, we’ve only been able to take a few samples, so we assumed this species was not abundant in the archipelago. The work we are carrying out with the Rov is providing new scientific information that will expand the knowledge of the distribution of this species in the Canary Islands.
It was also a good day as far as sharks are concerned. During the dive with the rov a tope shark (Galeorhinus galeus) crossed our path and just before the divers got into the water, in front of Punta San Cristobal, we saw a hammerhead shark (Sphyrna sp) swimming on the surface.
Before returning to port, the divers dove at Playa de la Cueva, near Punta San Cristobal. The star of this dive was a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) that appears there every afternoon, and has been doing so for 6 or 7 years. Rumor has it the turtle lived in a recuperation center for marine species and that is why it returns to this area.