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Blog Posts by: Benjamin Harris

Hey! My name is Ben and I’m a filmmaker and photographer from the United Kingdom. Last week BBC wildlife presenter and myself were invited on board the Ranger to make a series of short films about the work that the Aeolians team are doing in the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

After a long day’s travel from London to Salina, we got up early to meet the Ranger crew. Introductions were warm but fast, as we had to leave port and start collecting data.

After enjoying our day off on Salina Island, today we welcomed aboard Patrick and Ben, from the BBC.

Throughout the day they were able to see how we work on board, and equally, we got to see how they work as well.

In short, like always, another great day aboard the Ranger.

 

This is my second expedition with Oceana, this time in a totally different boat to the Neptune last year, but there’s still the same good atmosphere with the work and crew members as last year.

There are some tough days, but we make the most out of the fun moments we have. We’re continuing our adventure around the Aeolian Islands and I hope we can share more of these stories with you as the expedition rolls on.

 

Just imagine breathing under water. Imagine diving at huge depths. Imagine being around the wonderful coral reefs or incredible bamboo coral. Imagine living side by side with deep-sea sharks, sea sponges or species with unpronounceable names but beauty beyond words.

This is exactly what we get to experience on board the Oceana Ranger – well through our underwater robot. We do get to see what the robot sees and get to imagine what it feels like for our true stars of the expedition – the living creatures that live hundreds of metres below the oceans’ surface.

We’re in the land of the “tiramisu,” a dessert which literally means “take me up” (due to its coffee and sugar), and also reminds me of the orders that come from the ROV pilots below deck as the ROV climbs back up again whilst being maneuvered down below in the Aeolians depths — “two up!, five up!”

A MEMORY, lost in time, and a crimson gleam on the volcano's summit while rocks crash down the slope of Stromboli island.

A PRESENT, living an experience privy to few, seeking out the strange creatures used to living in the dark, hundreds of meters below the sea’s surface.

A PRIVELAGE, to be part of a perfectly-coordinated team of human beings carrying-out this marine expedition in the Aeolians Islands.

A WISH, that our effort to understand the Tyrrhenian Sea better helps to preserve and protect this magnificent enclave in the Mediterranean.

The view of Filicudi from the Ranger is breathtaking, and below the surface is no disappointment either.

The sight of these giant mountain walls with their cracked ledges and ancient, catastrophic origins is a humbling experience when you’re “flying” the ROV just shy of one kilometer under surface of the sea we all are familiar with.

When I see the mud displaced by the ROV fall away and vanish in the deep, I can’t help but wonder about what unseen creatures or elements may be hiding-away lying in the wait in the darkness below.

 

7 areas, 26 days, nearly 500 square km, one boat and all the excitement in the world as we set out on this expedition in the Mare Nostrum on a quest to protect the depths of the Aeolian Islands—where its 29,500 lucky inhabitants get to call these beautiful volcanic islands home.

 

A World Heritage Site since 2000, these islands have numerous protected areas to safeguard its land-based heritage sites, but its surrounding seas have been left a bit forgotten. And that’s just the reason why Oceana Europe is starting its twenty-sixth expedition today.

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