On-board Diary: In front of Cala Mitjana

Author: Ricardo Aguilar
Date: September 17, 2006



At night, the wind picks up and, although we could have kept sailing until we reached our destination, the rough seas would have prevented us from carrying out our work anyway. So, in order to take advantage, we have decided to change our plans a little and do some diving in the south-eastern part of Mallorca, where we will be sheltered from the north-easterly winds that are powerfully blowing and we will have more of a chance of success.

In the morning, we begin by submerging the robot to 40 meters depth, and then continue to submerge it to approximately 100 meters. The first section is an area that is partially covered by green, brown and red algae, and a few specimens of Colpomenia sinuosa. Not far off, we begin to see a few small rhodolites of calcareous red algae, the typical components of maerl beds. They are Lithothamnion valens and Phymatolithon calcareum, but we frequently spot others belonging to the Peyssonellia family. Amongst the algae we can see various different types of sea-urchins: Brissus unicolor, Spatangus purpureus and Echinocardium cardatum.

Amongst the maerl beds, we also spot many crustaceans of all types, especially the crabs belonging to the spider crab family and the Inachus genus. At more than 60 meters, we can still see the maerl bed spread over the sandy bottom, where it is quite common to see the daisy anemone (Cereus pedunculatus). Once in a while, we come face to face with the deep scars left by the trawlers that fish in this area.

The weather has not been good, but at least we have taken advantage of the day. We will spend the night in a nearby cove so we can continue our work at dawn.