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Blog Posts by: Natividad Sánchez

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ an old adage says. This phrase is even more relevant when talking about hidden gems lying in sea-bottom areas of the North Sea, which many consider to be a cold and dark sea, composed of murky waters and dull animals living in it.

Time to summarize and to start thinking about the report we must prepare about all the findings we’ve made during the expedition.

Today, we had an event in Vaasa with journalists, scientists and representatives from governmental agencies and fisher’s associations. It was good to have the chance to exchange information and feelings with people that are also interested about this part of the Baltic Sea.

Now, we start the process of putting all the information we’ve gathered into motion so that we may promote a transboundary marine protected area in this unique ecosystem.

Due to the inclement weather, we’ll have to stay in port for the next few days and today will be our last day at sea.

Luckily, after anchoring overnight, we were able to sail towards our work site for the day and were able to complete a dive, a grab, CTD and use the drop camera.

Afterwards, the whole crew took stock of the equipment and started packing. Tomorrow a truck will pick up everything and take it back to our warehouse in Spain.

6:00 – The raise the anchors while we’re still in bed, with a long trip ahead to our first diving spot, we set-off earlier than usual. 

6:45 – Various alarm clocks ring at the same time, signaling another day of hard work lie ahead.

7:00 – The smell of a freshly-made food reaches its way to our bunks, Cris has our breakfast ready. Carlos, he’s in charge of the toasts.

“Pass me the coffee”.

“Anyone want more toast”?

“What’s in this juice”?

“Cris, is there any yoghurt”?

Being the last diary entry I’ll make on this expedition, I’ll try to tell you, from a personal viewpoint, what I’ve felt throughout these past, intense days.

The scientists on board, led by Ricardo Aguilar, have already classified some 70 species. As you can imagine by now, this is despite the fact that out of dozens of dives, we’re only able to document small variety of invertebrates, fish, plants or algae at a time.

Driven by a weather report of increasing winds, we jumped into the water earlier than usual near the island of Bullergrund, near Vaasa.

The dive was similar to the ones we did yesterday: we dropped down to 8 meters and were unable to position the metallic frame we use for sampling because it kept on sinking into the muddy seafloor. The visibility here is a bit over half a meter and it took us 30 minutes to walk underwater from the from the shore using our compass as the only guide.

I was so happy to manage squeezing-in the opportunity in my schedule to visit our expedition in the Quark. And, equally, I was happy that my visit fit within the expedition's schedule as well. It would have been such a pity to miss this chance while the crew was in Finnish waters.
 

Our workday started today just like it did in my previous diary entry: we were visited by journalists, only this time they were from the Finnish newspaper, Pohjalainen. Later, before heading to our new port of Vaasa, we conducted a dive in the area near Holgrundberget, in rather murky waters at a maximum depth of 3,5 meters.

Today we continued conducting inventories in the beautiful Quark archipelago, unfortunately we couldn’t use the drop-video camera because it rained the whole day.

This doesn’t impact the diving though, so our talented divers carried out two dives as usual. The rest of us got a much-needed opportunity to catch up with some of our other work, such as checking samples and sending e-mails.

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