We’ve been taking samples in Emile Baudot. The ROV has gotten hooked twice: once on a rock and again on a longline.
The amount of ropes, fishing lines and nets that are scattered around here is incredible. Towards the south, between 140 and 160 meters depth, there are some large rocks, some of them forming interesting structures, where dozens of remnants of fishing tackle are caught, making it difficult to work with the ROV here.
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.
On the night of 7th–8th June we went to the north of Salina Island. The preceding few days we had seen several fishing boats with driftnets in Lipari and we suspected that they would be casting them in this area.
That’s exactly how it was. Before sunset, we had been able to verify that many of them were fishing in the area. We observed and documented them casting their nets and later sent the information to the Oceana office in Madrid, who set about alerting the Italian authorities.
After navigating along the Italian coast for two days, on the morning of 5th June we arrived at the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north-east coast of Sicily. The objectives at this point of the campaign were: on one hand to continue with the search for and documentation of illegal netters; and, on the other, to make a number of dives to document the formation of underwater fumaroles. This interesting phenomenon is very characteristic of the area due to the volcanic activity of the archipelago.
We left the shores of Corsica, and the stormy French waters, for the peace of La Maddalena archipelago, in the north of the island of Sardinia.
Although Corsica made an excellent impression on us through the tranquillity of the streets of Bastia’s Vieux Port area, and the spectacular views of the Corsican coast, Sardinia also has beautiful scenery. We’ve also discovered many mountainous areas in this part of the Mediterranean, with mountains and cliffs that drop down to the turquoise blue waters of the sea, forming coves and a picturesque contrast of colours.
Yesterday we left Bastia in Corsica, bearing south, after the Coastguard had politely but firmly invited us to leave the country, France, in order to avoid further confrontations with the driftnetters, as it seems these were mobilising in order to block our passage. We’d scarcely had time to properly enjoy this island, which has all the charm of the Mediterranean and merits a longer visit, and we left before the divers had been able to dive in its waters to learn a little more about its habitat.
Following five days spent in Marseilles with the weather unsettled and the driftnetters moored and waiting for the good weather conditions that would allow them to return to their habitual robbery, we finally set sail at dawn on 18th May, bearing for Hyeres, fearing that we would again find driftnetting activity near the port. If so, we would again film the illegal fishing.
We arrived on Sunday, after spending half a day bouncing over the many high Mediterranean waves which were the result of a fresh 40-knot southeasterly wind. We’ve taken advantage of these few days of bad weather to make small repairs, wait for the technical service on the satellite telephone and to swap guests. Our good friend Ben disembarked, who we’d given sea legs to through the rough weather, and we welcomed on board a member of the Oceana Board in the United States.
On the 7th of May we set sail from Torredembarra (Tarragona, Spain) in a northerly direction, and after the planned preparations we sailed through the Mediterranean sea. I was very excited at the start of this expedition, and a little nervous.
The weather was on our side and we sailed comfortably, enjoying the good temperature. Watches were allocated for the journey and the routine on-board work started. Our destination was the port of Roses, where we wanted to photograph all the trawlers of the port sailing out at once.