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Blog Posts by: Enrique Talledo

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.

At 6 a.m. in the morning, my mobile phone’s rang; we had to make the most out of our time in the Baltic. An hour later, we set out in to a dense forest in search of the one of the most beautiful mammals: the moose. 

But, none of the four of us that went out saw any—one day perhaps…

Later, we conducted our 11th dive in Swedish waters. The salinity here is very low, around 3 parts per thousand.

The days pass between the ROV's deep trips to the seabed and documentation in shallower waters. The shocking scene of yesterday's trip is still on my mind and will be something I’ll never forget. We started the first dive of the day when, at about 20 meters deep, we came across a loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) hooked to the seabed by a fishing hook.

Sea turtles are in danger of extinction. Among the main threats are accidental catches, marine pollution, changes to their spawning habitats, climate change, egg collection and maritime traffic.

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.

Can you imagine opening a window to the sea and being able to watch the seabed of the North Sea for two months?

Our observation methods, beyond our own sight, are multiple camera systems, sensors, underwater robots, dredgers and other sophisticated devices. In terms of documenting things in shallow waters, the dive team has enjoyed the bird colonies on the Scottish coast as well as extensive underwater kelp forests.

It’s taken many years for this wish to finally come true: to document underwater life in the cold waters off the Norwegian coast. This is what we have been doing for the last few days. I’m really happy to be one of the first to explore these sea bottoms and to finally find the one of the “top ten” fish in the North Sea: the Atlantic wolf fish.     

At twenty-five metres from the ocean surface and a water temperature of 9ºC, I came up across a young puffer fish. I think my eyes were bigger than his when I realised what it was in front of me.

To give you an idea about our work on board, I will briefly share with you what a typical day is like. The alarm clock rings at 6.45 am, the first rays of sun have already appeared. By 7.30 am both the members of Oceana and the kind and varied crew finish our breakfast. It is then time to get down to our well-defined task. In my case, I divide my time, trying to capture good shots using the photographic and video cameras.

Today we reach the halfway point of the campaign and with a little analysis of what we have been documenting on a daily basis it is easy to see that from a depth of 200 metres the seabeds are mainly composed of mud.

Dozens of submarine canyons descend in parallel to the 225 km of the Lebanese coastline.

 Few benthic creatures adapt to living on these muddy slopes, with gradients that may even exceed 45 degrees.

It’s always good to celebrate a birthday in a special and different way, and even better if it’s for a good reason. And that’s how it’s been, embarked on DEEP-SEA LEBANON Expedition and documenting life on board. Today we are a few miles from the battered cities of Tripoli and Beirut, just a few hundred kilometres from a cruel and senseless war.

Hello again, I want to take advantage of this, my last diary of this expedition, to explain the reason for so much effort, both human and financial, and the enthusiasm and total dedication that we all share. You might wonder why the MPAs are created and whether it is worth it. I asked myself the same question at one time ... Over many years, I have been able to get to know many protected areas first hand, and I can confirm that they are not just a good idea, but that these days they are necessary, absolutely essential.

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