Blog Tags: Expedition
You've probably never heard of the Desventuradas – two tiny, remote islands off the Coast of Chile.
Anticipation and excitement is building as Oceana’s U.S. West Coast staff prepares for seven days at sea exploring and filming largely undocumented coral and sponge colonies off the coast of Oregon!
We will be deploying a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) along offshore banks and canyons containing rocky reefs and soft substrates at depths up to 1,300 feet. Some of these areas, including North Heceta Bank and Siletz Hotspot have not previously been explored with an ROV. During the expedition we hope to capture footage of glass sponges, gorgonian corals, black corals, sea whips, and more.
This post comes to us from our Communications Officer in Brussels, Belgium, Angela Pauly, as the Oceana Ranger sets sail to explore the Mediterranean.
Less than two months after our successful coastal expedition in the Baltic ended, we’ve sent out another team on board the Ranger, our research catamaran, to study a (very) little known escarpment (steep slope, rocky wall) in the Spanish Mediterranean just south of Cabrera National Park.
"Dead silence on the boat. All you hear is the waves hitting the sides. We are rolling up and down, up and down, on the waves. Concentrated faces staring at the sea. Up and down, up and down. Klaus is standing up on the boat eating potato crisps. Grillchips. I’m feeling sick, sea sick. I try to focus my eyes on the horizon but it doesn’t help. It’s fine, I will be on the boat for just four more hours…"
On World Oceans Day this past Saturday, Oceana launched its first ever Baltic Sea coastal expedition. We’ve dedicated this mission to studying the Baltic coastline, and particularly Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Finland, where a number of unique and incredible areas will be explored
Our Baltic expedition came upon a sad sight this week: a dozen baby seals lying dead on the seafloor.
The team found the bodies while diving in Bogskär islet off of Finland, home to a small grey seal colony. The dead seals were about six months old, and one was found near a dead adult. The cause of death is a mystery—there were no visible injuries and the rest of the colony appeared to be healthy.
The deaths are being investigated, and hopefully we will find an answer to this tragedy. It’s possible that the seals were accidently caught and drowned in nets and then dumped back into the sea. They may also have suffered from a viral outbreak. Whatever happened, here’s hoping that it was an isolated incident and that the colony is able to recover from the loss of so many young seals.
This is part of a series of posts about our Pacific Hotspots expedition. Today's highlights: On their first day in Washington, the team saw a minke whale, harbor seals and more in the San Juan Islands.
Washington Leg, Day 1
Just before 5 a.m., captain Todd Shuster started the two quiet engines of the eco catamaran, Gato Verde. Shortly thereafter we were riding the waves out of Port Angeles Harbor.
Due to gale force wind advisories in the central Strait of Juan de Fuca, we were forced to re-route our diving to the San Juan Islands. For years, we have been interested in the abundant forage and orca whale populations, steep drop-offs and strong currents in this area. As we approached the islands we were exuberant, curious, and hopeful of what we would find today.
Living among the sand and rocks of Hein Bay, a bed of scallops and sea urchins were kept company by corals and a diversity of fish species. A brief appearance by a minke whale off the bank was a highlight of this dive.
This is part of a series of posts about our Pacific Hotspots expedition.
California Leg, Day 2
This morning after we passed the barking sea lions on the breakwater at the end of the harbor, we traversed through fog so thick there were no signs of land anywhere to be seen. We pushed trough swells upwards of 6 feet to get to our fist dive site of the day. A mola mola (aka ocean sunfish) we passed along the way didn’t seem to mind the intense swells as it basked on the ocean surface.
After motoring out 20 miles across Monterey Bay (north of the Monterey Canyon), we deployed the ROV at the former California halibut trawl grounds. As a direct result of the work of Oceana, this area has been closed to bottom trawling since 2006.
The seafloor here is primarily soft sediment and ranges in depth from 50-250 feet. The areas were teeming with signs of life, including burrows, tracks, and holes. Some places had a lot of juvenile fish and crabs suggesting these areas may be a nursery ground for fishery species. Overall, we were surprised by the diversity of habitat formations and creatures.
This is part of a series of posts about our Pacific Hotspots expedition.
Today, in beautiful Monterey, Oceana kicked off the first part of a three-week research cruise. This week we are aboard the research vessel Derek M. Baylis, focusing on Important Ecological Areas (ocean hotspots) in Monterey Bay.
Today’s goal consisted of conducting trial runs with the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) called Video Ray Pro IV as well as allowing the Oceana crew from South America, Alaska, Oregon, and California to get our sea legs and refine our on-board duties. With a small High Definition camera on the ROV, we recorded about an hour of footage at each of the four sites we visited.
At the Monterey Shale Beds, at depths up to 125 feet, we observed a myriad of life in the nooks and crannies including sea cucumbers, anemones, gobies, juvenile rockfish, kelp rockfish, sculpins, gorgonian corals, an octopus, a wolf eel, and a metridium (an anemone that looks like white cauliflower). We watched a sunflower star feeding and a sheep crab that was not so ‘sheepish’ as it instigated a wrestling match with the ROV.
Sara Bayles is the author of The Daily Ocean blog, where she documents her efforts to collect trash from her local beach for 365 non-consecutive days.
Now Sara and her husband, Dr. Garen Baghdasarian, have embarked on a new and exciting adventure. They are currently at sea on a 4,680-mile research expedition The 5 Gyres Institute across the South Pacific from Chile to Tahiti. It’s the world’s first expedition to study plastic pollution in the South Pacific gyre.
After the trip, Sara and Garen plan to bring their findings to as many people as possible through articles in peer reviewed scientific journals, lectures in the community, school visits, student involvement, photography, video and follow-up research expeditions.
In other news, Sara and Siel of Green LA Girl organized The Blogger Beach Cleanup last year for 350.org’s International Day Of Climate Action. More than 120 volunteers, 40+ bloggers, and several non-profit groups participated to make the event a success.
Good luck to Sara and Garen on a safe and successful journey and we look forward to hearing the results of the trip! You can follow their progress at the 5Gyres blog.
Nominations end this Wednesday, so don’t delay -- nominate an ocean hero in your life today!
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