The storm passed at last and we set sail to Sagunto where we’ll finish the 2011 campaign, although first we'll make a stop at Formentera to dive and document and destruction of the posidonia beds caused by ship anchors. In the Balearic Islands, there are a series of ecological buoys, which we talked about in this diary last year, around some points in the archipelago, that signal the location of the beds to prevent ships from anchoring there and destroying them. But there are not enough buoys and the ship captains obviously don’t care too much.
We took advantage of a three-day storm to work on the computers and do a thousand other things we needed to get done, like always when we’re in port. We’re also planning the trips home for whoever isn’t crossing back to Sagunto, like Carlos Suarez, the underwater photographer, who needs to travel from Almerimar to Lanzarote, a difficult combination; and the ROV techs who need a truck and lots of energy to disassemble all their equipment and take everything back to Barcelona, like always.
We returned to Alboran after three good days of working on Gorringe and roughly one and a half days sailing. We’re going to document another one of the many seamounts in this area, one that we barely know anything about. Afterwards, we’ll return to Seco de los Olivos for some more diving before the end of this campaign.
The fright has been minimal. Yesterday afternoon the ROV broke down, forcing us to ask for a new unit from the surface. After receiving and installing it, the tests on the port of Almerimar offer satisfactory results. Therefore it seems that we will be able to work tomorrow.
We have spent the night sailing towards the waters of Murcia (SE Spain), to document the depths of Cabo Tiñoso. It is concerning a marine area which will soon be a reserve, declared by the Autonomous Community.
In front of the coast of Almería, approximately 16 nautical miles from the coast, the Abubacer crest rises. It consists of three elevations aligned in a SW-NE direction, similar to the mountain ranges as we know them on land, but in this case underwater.
The Chella Bank or Seco de los Olivos has already demonstrated that it is worthy of protection, given the great diversity of species and habitats it houses. But, if it is possible, this small mountain is even more diverse, because it also seems to have a certain cultural value.
Oceana´s Ranger expedition is going strong as it continues through the Alboran Sea, which is the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean Sea. This area, famous for its great number and variety of cetaceans (marine mammals), did not disappoint: our on-board team of scientists, photographers, videographers and divers spotted more than 400 cetaceans in just one day!