On-board Diary: Los Estells

Author: Ricardo Aguilar
Date: June 27, 2007



Yesterday the 26th, we couldn’t sail and had to stay at port in Cabrera. Today we woke up at seven in the morning and sailed towards the south. While the divers explored the area of Los Estells, we did some transects.

This has been an eventful day. When we submerged the ROV, we blew a circuit breaker and all the screens went black. We had to lift the ROV onboard again and start over. Then, our zodiac almost sunk and we've had to suspend the diver's work for this afternoon. The rest of the day was calmer.

Actually, it's the area that has disappointed us. I thought we would see more rocks and more life. Between 70 and 80 meters depth, we came across some coralline platforms in good condition harboring a multitude of small sponges, but not one gorgonian or one coral. Between 80 and 100 meters depth, the sea floor was mostly sandy or detritic mud full of greater weevers (Trachinus draco and T. radiatus), some small-spotted catsharks (Scyliorhinus canicula), many ceriantids (Cerianthus membranaceus), hermit crabs (Pagurus sp.) and not much else. Between 100 and 115 meters depth there were two types of sea floors, one sandy rippled floor with similar characteristics as the one before, and another with some outcrops and sponges.

The most interesting thing we found was an area with extensive laminarians (Laminaria rodriguezii) at approximately 80 meters depth, and in another place, one sole yellow-colored gorgonian that looked to us like a Villogorgia brebycoides. Oh, and a brown ray (Raja miraletus) on the detritic muddy floor at 85 meters depth.

Tomorrow we’ll head towards Emile Baudot and later we’ll return to the eastern areas of Cabrera to take at least one sample of each side.