On-board Diary: Pitiusas

Author: Ricardo Aguilar
Date: September 22, 2006



We are between the islands of Conejeras and Bledas. We would like to take samples here while the weather gets better in the east. Just when we are about to begin to submerge the ROV, the wind suddenly changes and begins to blow from the west, making our shelter useless, so we must leave this area. Once again, we set sail toward the east coast of Formentera, where it seems the weather is rapidly improving.

In front of Cap Sa Creu, the conditions were perfect for working. We submerged the robot to approximately 35 meters and continued descending little by little. We reach a sandy area scattered with some rhodoliths, where we also find various purple heart sea-urchins. Soon, we spot a dense, well-conserved maerl bed. As we continue to descend, the maerl is still present, but as we reach 48 meters, we begin to see various marks on the sea floor left by the trawlers. The difference between the well-conserved area and the area damaged by the trawling is obvious, and since visibility is optimum, we can clearly see the whole extension of the affected area. When we reach 80 meters, we come upon a full trawling net caught on a large rock and, to our great surprise, behind that large rock (and protected by it), an extensive and incredibly beautiful field of branching sponges.

Just when we thought our day would be ruined, we have had one of the best dives we could hope for.