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Blog Posts by: Juan Cuetos

Today is the last day at sea for the crew of the Neptune, since we’re scheduled to dock in Newcastle tonight, putting an end to this expedition, the second by Oceana in the North Sea.

We have a lot of nautical miles along five countries at our back, we’ve dredged the seabed 138 times, taken 799 samples, and done over 80 ROV transects. We’ve made a total of 28 dives which, as a diver, were certainly the best moments for me.

Life aboard a ship is a strange thing: all the crew members, each with their daily chores, packed together in a limited space and surrounded by the sea.

The boat becomes an ecosystem where each crew member seeks their space. It takes time to adapt to the boat, the rest of the crew, the hours on and off…and once you do, you realize that every day is the same, like a time loop, over and over again like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”.

Thousands of pieces of fishing gear is lost at the bottom of the oceans every day, sometimes after becoming hooked on rocks and sometimes because they’ve outworn their use and people toss them into the sea. However, this abandoned fishing gear continues to fulfill its purpose for a long time. 

We saw these deadly traps on both dives we did today: a net that has already been completely colonized by sea life and a fish trap that was full of sea horses – we opened it so that they could escape certain death.

Fifty-four days ago the Oceana crew embarked on this expedition that today is coming to an end. My mission was to document the expedition visually and I have tried to capture all the beauty this sea beholds: the light, scenery, its character and inhabitants. I’ve also managed to show all the hard work my workmates put in every day.

Today in Rotterdam, I’m gathering my things together while looking forward to going home to be with my family after covering 1600 nautical miles across the North Sea!

Dawn breaks and today looks like it’s going to be a lovely day; no wind and the sea is calmer than usual. Today’s work plan is to dive around the 4 shipwrecks that Jack has spotted on the nautical map of the area. We head to the first point on the map and couldn’t see anything. There the water had an almost green-like colour that reminds me of a swamp in summer. We move on to the next point and still there was nothing sticking out of sea bed. We made it to the final point on the map, but once again, no shipwreck.

Ever since I was small the sea has given me a feeling of serenity. From land I have often wondered what it is about the sea that gives me that sensation: the crystal-like flatness of a clam sea that reflects the sky above it just like a mirror or stormy weather days with powerful gusts of wind that thrust up waves as big as buildings. The oceans have always fascinated me in all its ways, shapes and sizes.

According to Greek mythology, the Chimera was a monstrous hybrid with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a dragon. A “chimera” can also refer to a dream or illusion, a product of the imagination that is hoped or wished for in spite of being almost impossible to achieve.

We are in Norwegian waters and we’re going to work with the ROV at 180 m down and are excited about what we're going to find down there.

It’s 5 in the morning and dawn is rising in The Humber. Today, like every day, I make myself a coffee and take it up to the Neptune’s stern to enjoy the reflections of the sunrise colours on the North Sea.