On-board Diary: Ses Olives, the first of the seamounts and sperm whale in the Channel of Majorca.

Author: Silvia García
Date: July 28, 2010



Tonight, we will sleep lying a-hull above Ses Olives, the underwater elevation that we are researching. Oceana is requesting protection of this singular spot given its importance as a hot spot for marine life here in the Channel of Majorca.

Ses Olives is the first of the three foremost submerged elevations in the Channel of Majorca that we are researching. Later we will head over to the other two, Ausias March and Èmile Baudot. On the only ROV submersion that we have been able to carry out, today we have moved in a 400 and 600 m range. Again, a technical problem with the ROV has forced us to abort the submersion. The technicians have been sweating blood, and not exactly because of the temperature above 40º that we have withstood. In the afternoon, almost at dusk, we sailed to a deeper area, about 900 m deep. We did so to heave the ballast to the bottom in order to roll up the steel winch cable again. After a frustrated submersion, coming to a deep area was a great idea because it may chance to happen, without expecting it, that someone shouts “sperm whale!”

Later on, and after enjoying the sighting of the young Physeter macrocephalus (measuring about 10 m), we attempted to catch cephalopods by illuminating the water with some lights to enjoy the sea’s bustling nightlife. However, we desisted after several small fish and small zooplankton organisms concentrated without any squid appearing.