On-board Diary: Cabrera

Author: Ricardo Aguilar
Date: September 27, 2006



Today, we will enter the Cabrera National Park. We have a meeting early this morning with the park rangers in order to exchange information and decide in which areas we are going to work. They were extremely helpful. Many of them have spent various years here and they are very fond of this area. Those of us who have been able to see Cabrera's evolution during the last 25 years feel very happy. The region that was bombarded by military manoeuvres carried out in this archipelago during the decade of the eighties has turned into one of the most beautiful protected natural areas in the Mediterranean.

The divers submerge themselves in Cala Galiana cove in order to observe the state of the area, continuously open to diving activities since it was declared a protected region. It is in pretty good shape and it is not uncommon to see many pen shells (Pinna nobilis) among the prairies of Posidonia oceanica here, as well as a large number of grouper (Epinephelus marginatus), seabreams (Diplodus vulgaris), white breams (Diplodus sargus), brown meagre (Sciaena umbra) and other species.

Although not one day goes by since we have been in the Balearic Islands that we don't find clouds of luminous jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca), and the quantity we have seen in this cove has astonished us.

Later, we begin to work with the submarine robot. We head toward the deepest area in the park in order to see the sea floors. This area is found toward the southeast and is made up of mud and some dispersed rocks. We spot various sea pens (Pennatula rubra, Virgularia mirabilis), large concentrations of brittlestars (Ophiopsila aranea) and a few feather stars (Antedon mediterranea). On each small rock, we spot a comber (Serranus cabrilla) and various spoon worms (Bonellia viridis). We also spot a few species of large briozoans commonly known as Venus' lace or Neptune's lace (Sertella septentrionalis).

This area is also rich in flat fish and hake, which we always find half buried in the substrate.

In the afternoon, the wind picks up and the currents become very strong, making it quite difficult to work. In the end, we decide to finish for the day and head toward the port of Cabrera.