On-board Diary: Cabo de La Nao

Author: Ricardo Aguilar
Date: July 8, 2007



We’re still in Cabo de la Nao. We’ve done two more dives with the ROV on this sea floor and one dive with the divers in Cabo Negro.

Today it was the Audouin gulls (Larus audounini) that have accompanied us this morning. We continue to study these mostly muddy sea floors with the ROV where we spot crabs, gobies, sole, cuttlefish and a few octopus. The small anthozoan Epizoanthus arenaceus also frequently occurs here.

We have also spotted a few abandoned nets and a strange, unidentifiable object covered in algae, hydrozoans and other marine creatures.

Yesterday, Sunday, this area was teeming with recreational boats and jet skis. Since most of the people on those watercrafts are unfamiliar with marine signals and signs, we have to be on guard so they don't come near the area where we are working and damage the ROV or endanger the divers when they are underwater.

Here, scars from trawl fishing are frequently seen but since the mud is more compact, the doors penetrate less in the substrate and the marks are not as deep.

On the rocky wall in Cabo Negro there are numerous groups of mullets (Mullus surmuletus), along with cardinalfish (Apogon imberbis) –with their brood in their mouths-, seabreams (Diplodus vulgaris), sharpsnout seabreams (Diplodus puntazzo), etc.

Gorgonians are scarce and we only spot the white one (Eunicella singuaris) with some Keys simnia (Neosimnia spelta) eating the polyps. Bryozoans frequently occur, such as Pentapora fascialis and Myriapora truncata, and hydrozoans covered by many nudibranchs laying eggs, such as Cratena peregrina or Flabellina affinis. We also see a flatworm, the pink flatworm (Prostheceraeus roseus) about to eat an ascidian.

It looks like all the animals in this area are either reproducing or feeding.

We head towards Denia to tie up at port and spend the night there in order to continue working tomorrow in the area of Cabo San Antonio. At the entrance to the port, the common terns (Sterna hirundo) greet us by diving into the water to catch some fish.