On-board Diary: Placer de la Barra Alta

Author: Ricardo Aguilar
Date: July 5, 2007



After sleeping in Columbretes where, by the way, we were the only boat anchored, we’ve gone to Placer de la Barra Alta to continue working with the ROV in the northeastern area. The depression we found last year is located there.

The sea floor is similar throughout the entire area. At first, there is maerl at approximately 60-70 meters, although it’s chopped up by the continuous passing of the trawlers. After that, it’s muddy.

In the hollow that drops 50 meters, towards the northeast, the sea floor is also muddy. Everything is covered by a thin slime, except some small rocks at approximately 130 meters depth. These rocks harbor lobsters (Palinurus elephas), rugose squat lobsters (Munida rugosa), bluemouth rockfish (Helicolenus dactylopterus), largescaled scorpionfish (Scorpaena scrofa) and poor cod (Trisopterus minutus).

The divers have explored el Placer between 15 and 35 meters depth. The sea floor is rocky and harbors various algae (Halimeda tuna, Sargassum sp., Dictyopteris membranacea, Peyssonnelia spp., Mesophyllum sp., etc.) with numerous small anthozoans, such as Maasella erdwardsii, and species of sponges including Dysidea, Crambe, Ircinia, etc.

In the afternoon, we’ve sampled other areas nearby where we had discovered some hollows. The results were spectacular. We found numerous red gorgonians (Paramuricea clavata), some of them quite large. It is a very rich area, with banks of dentex (Dentex dentex), John Dorys (Zeus faber), cuckoo wrasse (Labrus bimaculatus), swallowtail seaperch (Anthias anthias), clouds of mysids and young fish and even an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) that was being cleaned by various perch... Also, near one of these hollows there was a kelp forest that was quite dense.

Finally, we decide to head back to Cabo San Antonio at the last moment.

We expect to get there by morning to start working with both the ROV and the divers.

Today has not been an easy day for working because the wind was uncomfortable, although it wasn’t strong, and the current made it difficult to handle the boat. But we had good results.