At last, we reach this immense canyon south of Menorca. The first dive takes us to a depth of 235 meters, a record for us. As soon as we reach the bottom, we see an anglerfish (Lophius sp.) camouflaged amongst the fine sediment. Soon, the walls of the canyon begin to rise quickly and we come across different sea floors; some covered with large quantities of detritus and others with rocks. Some of these rocks are quite large and are spotted with sponges and some gorgonias.
We will make our last stop in port to load supplies and rest a little, before finishing this year's campaign. At night, we have been carrying out bathymetric measurements of the Cañon de Menorca canyon, where we will be working during the next few days. The profile given by the computer looks very promising. From a platform of 80-90 meters, a pronounced drop begins and reaches over 1,000 meters depth. If the currents and the sea remain calm, the dives here will prove to be very interesting.
The area of the canal of Menorca has a platform of at least 100 meters depth that joins the islands of Mallorca and Menorca, but in the southern section of its slope, it falls to great depths, habouring many extremely interesting ecosystems.
We are going take samples in different areas and depths here in order to find out which species inhabit these ecosystems. We will begin in front of Cala Ratjada cove and Cap de Pera and will slowly head toward the east.
Today, we will take samples with the ROV in two areas within the park. One in the southeast and another in the north. The sea floors are sandy with large concentrations of sand urchins, especially Spatangus purpureus.
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.
In the end, we had to take shelter for the night in Porto Petro. In the morning, the storm had subsided and we set sail toward Cabrera.
We did 2 transections with the robot in the limits of the Cabrera National Park in order to find out the state of the sea floors in the areas that are not included within the protected area: one in front of Cap Picamoscas and the other southeast of Punta Ancino.
The day does not start off well. The weather forecast is calling for force 3 and 4 winds from the southeast and southwest, but we also have a force 7 and 8 windstorm coming from the northeast. Obviously, we cannot continue our work and we must leave the area in search of shelter. We set sail toward Cabrera, but the direction of the wind indicates that the port there will not be comfortable either. So, we continue sailing in search of a sheltered cove on the southern coast of Mallorca.
After verifying the bathymetry of the area at night, we are ready to submerge the robot early the next morning. This area has a depth of 110 meters and, although the weather is still not as good as we would like, the conditions are not all that bad to begin working.
The weather has not improved but we will continue our efforts. We will attempt to descend along the side of the submarine mountain, Auxias Marc. The work is not easy to carry out due to the strong currents, the swells and the wind, but after much hard work, we can finally discern the sea bottom. Again, we thought the day would be wasted, but as the hours go by, the weather conditions improve and the sea becomes calm; so we are able to continue our work more comfortably. Again we spot an extensive maerl bed.
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.