On-board Diary: Cabo San Antonio

Author: Ricardo Aguilar
Date: July 9, 2007



Today we start the day with a dive in the Cabo de San Antonio. Here, the marine reserve guards provide us with information about the area.

It is a rocky wall with one rock descending to approximately 20 meters depth. Like other places in this area, there are few gorgonians, including some dispersed white sea fans (Eunicella singularis) and yellow sea fans (Leptogorgia sarmentosa).

Nudibranchs are abundant and include sea slugs (Discodoris atromaculata), as well as Hypselodoris sp. and Thurridilla hopei.

We find moray eels amongst the rocks(Muraena helena) along with cleaner shrimp(Lysmata seticaudata), scorpionfish (Scorpaena spp.), etc., as well as the popular damselfish (Chromis chromis), rainbow wrasse (Coris julis), some slender gobies (geniporus) and some striped blennies (Parablennius rouxi).

The diversity of the area is complemented by sponges such as Agelas oroides, Cliona viridis and Crambe crambe, some anemones (Aiptasia mutabilis) and various red algae including Mesophyllum alternans, Peyssonnelia spp, Acrosymphyton purpuriferum or Galaxaura oblongata.

Many ceriantids (Cerianthus membranaceus) appear in sandy areas, as well as some spirographs (Sabella spalanzani) and a few bunches of Posidonia oceanica.

Almost the entire area consists of a very thin layer of sediment covering all types of organisms.

We submerge the ROV at 40 meters depth and find a muddy area with some small rocks heavily covered by fine sediment. Unfortunately, the wind has produced some large waves that make it difficult to work and we have practically no visibility. We then decide to suspend the work until the next day. We head towards the port to take advantage of the rest of the day and do some shopping for supplies so we can speed up some pending work.