On-board Diary: Abubacer Crest, Almería

Author: Silvia García
Date: July 24, 2011



In front of the coast of Almería, approximately 16 nautical miles from the coast, the Abubacer crest rises. It consists of three elevations aligned in a SW-NE direction, similar to the mountain ranges as we know them on land, but in this case underwater.

We went there to carry out immersions with the underwater robot (ROV). The depth at its highest point is approximately 200 metres under the sea surface, logically, does not allow immersions with scuba divers, so therefore the only possibility of “taking a look” at these sea beds is with the use of the underwater robot (ROV). We do not have details about the area, because no study concerning its biological diversity has been carried out before.

We carried out the immersion by the more SW wall, a practically vertical wall which rises up to just under 300 m under the surface, where we find the top of this mountain. The most eye-catching thing about this immersion has been the oyster reefs we have found, with high concentrations of this mollusc in many of the rocky outcrops of this pronounced slope.  It seems that they are ancient reefs, since we have not felt that we have found any living oyster. As a result of the slope it is impossible to take samples.

This mountain, of which we had no idea of what to expect, has turned out to be, if it can be said that way, something disappointing. It is a hill far away from the coast, unexplored, with an impressive bathymetry which could give rise to a multitude of different communities, from the top to the deepest areas. But the only diversity we have found has been that of abandoned fishing tools, in infinite variety and abundance.  An exaggerated amount of fishing lines, grapnels, ballasts and entire nets that continue to trap fauna. We leave the area, like always, because of the risk involved in sailing between a labyrinth of fishing lines and nets.