Yesterday was an intense day where our divers and underwater cameras had the opportunity to document interesting marine ecosystems. Despite that today was the ROV´s turn to get wet, we had to turn around due to the rough weather conditions, without being able to carry out the dives scheduled for today. Most of us took advantage to update our everyday work, leaving enough time to record aerial shots of a rugged coastline with crystal-clear waters.
It was seven in the morning when we started what would become a good day for everyone. A new working day awaited us with the uncertainty of not knowing if sea conditions would let us send the ROV down to a significant depth. But we got lucky and could document interesting detrital mud bottoms with rocky outcrops.
After the storm that hit the island yesterday, we set off determined to carry out two dives in Comino Island sheltered from the swell.
Our goal, to document two ecosystems included in the Habitats Directive: sandbanks and underwater caves. Our day finished with dozens of images of species that will contribute to improving the protection of these Mediterranean submerged paradises.
Right before dawn, we headed towards Punta Orchilla, in search of a new volcanic bottom to document. At this beautiful place the peaceful sea surface gets ruffled by the wind. The ROV dive was aborted due to adverse weather conditions one mile from the lighthouse. Our next dive, about 300m deep, would be more successful. Once in Mar de las Calmas, sheltered from the rough winds, we found important ecosystems with Dentomuricea gorgonians, extremely beautiful habitats housing black corals (Stichopathes) and rock formations covered with different kinds of sponges.
Today we begin the day quite satisfied after leaving behind a spectacular first part of the campaign. During the past five days we have worked intensively on two productive seamounts that rise from depths greater than 3000-4000 m.
Only a few days have passed since we left behind our fruitful stage in search of illegal driftnet vessels in Sicilian waters. Today we took another step on our new path, this time on the Island of San Antioco, in Sardinia.
While the rest of the crew went about the daily chores on the Ranger, an expedition made up of Xavier Pastor, Olimpia García, Juan Cuetos and I, left for some of the ports where last year there had been quite a lot of illegal driftnet vessels.