On-board Diary: Montaña Clara, La Graciosa, Chinijo Archipelago, Lanzarote. October 7, 2009

Author: Gorka Leclercq
Date: October 7, 2009



Hoy miércoles hemos zarpado a las siete de la mañana del puerto de Caleta del Sebo, en la isla de La Graciosa. Este enclave en sí mismo es de una belleza espectacular, pero si además coincide con un clima de calmas como el que hemos tenido estos días, lo hacen más bello aún si cabe.

Today, Wednesday, we set sail at seven a.m. from the port of Caleta del Sebo, on the island of La Graciosa. This enclave in itself is of stunning beauty, but it also coincides with a climate of calm seas, like what we have had these past few days. This makes it even more beautiful, if I can say that.

We set our course to the north of Montaña Clara Island to make our first ROV submersion where we were once again able to document a wide variety of species. These included smooth grenadiers (Caelorinchus caelorinchus), flytrap anemones (Actinoscyphia sp), a large anglerfish (Lophius piscatoris), and what we couldn’t miss, another specimen of dogfish, in this case a blackmouth catshark (Galeus melastomus).

Once the submersion was over, it was the divers’ turn to submerge in “La Roncadera”, a craft located off Las Conchas beach (since I’m from San Sebastián but live nearby on the island of Lanzarote, it is if I felt twice as at home here).

The submersion did not let us down and we managed to document a wide variety of species, among them the first angel shark (Squatina squatina) of the campaign. As always, we came away wanting to extend the submersion, but nitrogen is boss, and we had to ascend to the surface to conclude today’s dive.

The activity on the Oceana Ranger was non-stop, and as soon as we got on board, Captain Nuño Ramos set his course for the second ROV point to the south of La Graciosa Island.

For me personally, it has been one of the most rewarding ROV submersions of the campaign. We were dealing with a sandy bottom that is normally rather dull, because the “life” usually concentrates on rocky bottoms which is where most species seek food and shelter. Nevertheless, this time around, the sand was choc full of large glass sponges (Asconema setubalense), gorgonians (Paramuricea sp), black coral (Antipathes sp, Batipathes sp), and among the fauna we came across, of note was another redeye gaper Chaunax sp) with its spectacular orange color and another blackmouth catshark (Galeus melastomus).

When the dive was over, we set sail again for Caleta del Sebo on la Graciosa where we will spend the night in order to continue working tomorrow at this marine reserve in Northern Lanzarote and the islets of the Chinijo Archipelago.