Author: Ricardo Aguilar
Date: September 24, 2006
After verifying the bathymetry of the area at night, we are ready to submerge the robot early the next morning. This area has a depth of 110 meters and, although the weather is still not as good as we would like, the conditions are not all that bad to begin working.
We find mixed sea floors of sand, maerl and rock. There are plenty of sponges on both the maerl bed and the rocks, while the sea floors rich in detritus attract various crustaceans and fish, such as hermit crabs (Dardanus and Pagurus), blue swimmer crabs (Portunus sp.), shamefaced crabs (Calappa granulata), streaked gurnards (Trigloporus lastoviza), blennies (Blennidae), European hake (Merluccius merluccius) and even a rockfish (Sebastes sp.).
Amongst the rocks, we also see some forkbeards (Phycis phycis), swallowtail seaperches (Anthias anthias), scorpionfish (Scorpaena scrofa), various squat lobsters (Munida rugosa), and a sponge crab (Dromia sp.). There are also large specimens of sea beards (Nemertesia ramosa). And, another great surprise: a scattering of uncommon species of gorgonias. Among them, we identify a Callogorgia verticillata that is usually found at greater depths and is present here at only 114 meters, some Muriceides lepida and various Spiminuricea klavereni. We also spot what looks like a northern gorgonia (Swiftia pallida), but we are not sure.
There are plenty of sponges including a large elephant ear sponge (Spongia agaricina), as well as remnants of fishing tackle such as fishing lines caught on the rocks.