The day began very early. Although I am exempt from watch, I accompanied the captain on the first two hours from midnight to 2:00 a.m. Our anchorage in Cala Galera, protected from the northwest by the Artgentario Promontory, meant that it was wise to have a watch. The wind was blowing at force seven from that direction only a few hours ago.
The day began with the sun shining in Elba, a blue sky over Portoferraio. On the Ranger, we gradually woke up with the incentive of a green tin of assorted Corsican biscuits for breakfast. You see, today is my birthday. My birthday has always given me a special pleasure and the fact that on this occasion I was already thirty-seven didn’t worry me enough to diminish my joy, indeed it didn’t worry me in the least.
At midnight we slowly pulled out of Bastia harbour. It was drizzling rain with a chilly wind, so since I was on watch outside until 4am, I wrapped up warm, put on my waterproof clothes and donned my life vest. I needed to hold on tight to stay upright as the night was not totally calm. On watch you need to stay alert and scan the horizon for vessels and other possible obstacles.
Again, with some blue notes for the diary: so far, the support we received from the local divers has been wonderful. The dive community always has a very conscious awareness of the underwater world and are willing to contribute positively to our cause.
We had spent the week anchored in Santa Margherita harbour with access to the shore via the zodiac, but now in Bastia we are moored in the harbour. So beeline to the harbour showers for all of us to get refreshed and clean – on the Ranger there is only a makeshift cold shower on the deck. And we are also connected to a mains water supply, which means a chance to catch up on the cleaning – both inside and outside the Ranger are now sparkling.
After a week documenting corals and ocean habitat in Portofino, Italy, the Ranger departed for Corsica. A majority of the crew, including myself, was taking a break ashore to get some authentic Italian pizza in Santa Margherita. As we sat down to order, with menus in hand, we received a phone call from Carlos. The weather was turning for the worst and we needed to get back to the boat, or the zodiac would not be able to pick us up at all.
The exploration of the best dive sites of the Mediterranean, with a focus on ecology and marine protection, what would be a better job description? This is our daily routine on board the Oceana Ranger as divers, and I must say, very fortunate divers…..It took us a couple of days to get to know each other on land and then underwater, but even if we are coming from different environments, the underwater spirit is here….
The dawn has come early to Saint Margarita’s bay. The first lights arrived at about five thirty in the morning and I got up at six fifteen to make the coffee and the breakfast for the crew: cereals, cheese, jam and bread together with fruit juice was what I had planned. Little by little the crew got down to their normal jobs and at eight o’clock the operations of the day had begun. The sun has crowned the mountains from the east, while the wind from the land has given way to a slight sea breeze making the Ranger swing around the anchor, changing its position.
I found myself aboard the Oceana Ranger after a flight from Brussels and a train from Milan to Santa Margherita, Italy. I´m here, not as a scientist or a campaigner, but as a photographer and documentarian complimenting our crew of underwater photographers and videographers, whilst remaining dry on the deck.
In Washington, DC, where I live and work, I typically capture a different side of Oceana. I spend my time filming our staff as they push Oceana´s international movement to protect the oceans through policy, direct action, and other media.