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Blog Posts by: Helena Álvarez

Tonight we finally were hit by the trail of the storm so the sea was quite rough. We tried to make bathymetry at night to get an idea of where to sample the next day, but heavy swells reaching up to two meters and 15-knot winds, made it hard to use the ROV, so we replaced it with Van Veen grab benthic studies.

This morning we woke up to the cry of: Whales!!! The sea was quite calm, and two northern or Rudolph whales (Balaenoptera borealis) were spotted from the Ranger while feeding at dawn.

This time we set off to the second destination of this phase of the campaign, comprising the northern mountains of the Canary Islands. This is Dacia, a mountain whose summit is at only 90 m deep and that was tried to be reached in Oceana´s first Canary Island expedition back in 2009; an unsuccessfully attempt due to bad weather.

Tonight the expedition "2014 Atlantic Seamounts" started setting off from Playa Blanca (Lanzarote). After some ROV and shipment related issues, we headed to Triton Twin Mountains, also known as The Peanut Mountains, due to their particular shape.

Navigation was tricky since a storm was approaching and the latest weather forecast indicated that it would strike our destination. Still, it was worth trying to reach these mountains, because they are virtually unexplored places.

Oceans play a fundamental role in regulating Earth’s temperature and the natural greenhouse effect that maintains life as we know it. They are able to do so by acting as a “carbon sink” and absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2).  However, due to our rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions, too much carbon gets into the oceans, lowering their pH and resulting in a phenomenon known as ‘ocean acidification’.

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