Author: Ana de la Torriente Date: October 21, 2009
Early Sunday morning, various crewmembers disembarked in Chipiona. Only 6 of us were left on board ready to take turns on watch during the last trip of the 2009 campaign. Our destination port: Sagunto, in Valencia.
Author: Ana de la Torriente Date: October 17, 2009
We are back in Chipiona now. Before setting our course to Sagunto and wrapping up the campaign, we planned to work in the area surrounding Chipiona for these two days. That way, we could finish the work we did in August.
To do so, we made several submersions with divers during those two days. We documented the sea bottom in the area that we at Oceana think should be included in the Doñana protected marine area and farther offshore, at a spot where a wind turbine facility could be proposed. We took 12 samples with a dredger. We collected sediment samples that were directly analyzed on the ship.
We woke up in Puerto Calero (Lanzarote) on October 9th. We fill up the fuel tanks early in the morning and spend the day preparing the boat for the crossing, returning to the peninsula. The weather forecast is not good, with northeast winds force 5/6, but we have to adhere to our schedule.
We have to try to submerge the ROV on the Dacia and Concepción seamounts but the weather forecast is not looking good so we are going to sail over and see if conditions improve.
Yesterday, we dove for the last time in the Canary Islands, so now we are organising our trip back home and waiting for the winds to calm down so we can work for a few days on the Dacia and Concepción seamounts.
Some of us took advantage of our day off in Puerto Calero to organise the trip (last chance to shop before we set sail because we estimate we’ll be at sea for at least 5 days), others to rest or get to know the towns, and others to go diving for the last time in the Canary Islands.
Today, we began working west of Isla Graciosa. The divers explored La Burrera
in Punta Gorda early this morning. Thanks to their description of Chinijo, we confirmed the effects of conservation produced by marine reserves: large quantities of seagrass, high levels of diversity among fish species and large banks of fish.
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.
Back on the Oceana Ranger... Who would have guessed? I’m very happy.
Everything is still in its place. I have even been able to observe and enjoy some major improvements to equipment which I am constantly needing to use. An example would be a huge mechanized system for lowering and hoisting the famous ROV ballast.
Today just a few ROV submersions behind me (for now), but I can already feel their effects... my arms are no longer part of my body and my hands are increasingly more swollen and reddened.
Before continuing with the submersions and heading toward the Chinijo Archipelago -our last sampling area in the area surrounding Lanzarote- we spent the day in port; some resting, others sightseeing.
While we were with Marina Rubicón, we ran into Natacha Aguilar and the Universidad de la Laguna Cetacean Research Group. They mentioned that they were returning from Concepción Bank where they have had a bad calm, and were able to enjoy numerous cetacean sightings. Now their course is contrary to ours: working in Amanay and el Banquete.
A delight that lies some thirty terrible miles from here. We will have to stoically wait a few more hours. We are on the west coast of Fuerteventura, and we are going to port thanks to the scientific director’s immeasurable magnanimousness. We will land and rest for an entire day to come back to the onslaught of this campaign’s final stage. It is turning out to be more successful than ever on all accounts. But more erudite diaries will talk about this. We will stick to our thing.
Author: Josep María Rovirosa "Pitu" Date: October 3, 2009
It’s 7:15, the day is dawning slowly, like the way most are waking up aboard the ship. Charly is on watch on the bridge, and Captain Nuño is washing the windows the same way people do at stop lights in big cities.
Ricardo Aguilar started the day needling me, telling me I’m really bad because yesterday we found a Lophelia for the first time, but it was dead. It is a very large coral of biological interest found on reefs. It can grow up to 6 meters high and thus create a habitat for many species of wildlife. But unfortunately, we rarely find this type of coral alive because most of them are dead and have been for several years. These are considered to be subfossils. As the ROV’s pilot, I will consider this as a challenge between my navigator, Siscu and me. We won’t take our eyes off the scene until we find it.