On-board Diary: Corals and gorgonians

Author: Daniel Jiménez
Date: July 5, 2010



We start the day at 8 am and head towards Rota to explore the southern part of the Guadalquivir estuary. The seas are calm, which is a good sign because it makes our work with the ROV easier.

We sail for 40 minutes until we are roughly 4 miles from the coast of Rota, in the southern part of the Guadalquivir estuary. We launch the ROV without any problems, the seas are calm and, given the area’s characteristics (the seabeds are at no more than 40 meters depth up to 6 miles from the coast), we won't have any problems.

The seabeds are rich in sediments and minerals and this fosters the growth of species more commonly found in deeper waters, like orange branching corals (Dendrophyllia ramea) and gorgonians. As soon as there are groups of rocks, the corals and gorgonians become abundant, thanks to the area’s high concentration of sediments.

We submerge the ROV various times successfully that morning. In the afternoon, the temperature rises to 40º or more, but the breeze helps to cool us down. We submerge the ROV twice in the afternoon, again with no problems, and we also take samples with the dredge. Once we head further out towards the south, the seabeds become less varied and are mainly comprised of clay and marine mud.

As it gets later, the seas get rougher and it becomes complicated to work with the ROV. It has been like this for the last few days, so we decided to return to port and study the material we obtained today. We had a small problem on the way back because the zodiac’s rope got tangled in the ship’s engine. But the logistics team worked it out quickly and we returned safely to port.

Tomorrow is another day and we hope to see many new things.