When I was asked by our Science Director Ricardo Aguilar last winter if I wanted to join on-board the Ranger for Oceana´s Malta expedition it was very difficult not to sound overly excited (which I probably did) when saying yes. Because I REALLY wanted to go on-board the Ranger. And, here I am! Finally! Sailing and doing field work for the second day now. And, I have to say, it is as exciting as I thought it would be. Though the ROVs we have done so far may not have been the most exciting ones, as they have been carried out in relatively deeper waters, today we managed to spot some very nice marine features, like plenty of bamboo corals with lobsters and other types of marine life. With all the information collected so far, I hope we are able to provide important insight into the marine ecosystems in Malta’s waters and fill in data gaps to enhance better marine protection and management.
Another meaningful part of the work is to detail the bathymetry data available. As also found out during Oceana´s earlier expeditions, the official charts are able to give only rough estimates of the bottom formation and having more accurate data on this helps in drawing a more realistic picture of the world found beneath the waves. Today for instance, we found out that something that looked like a seamount in the charts actually appeared to be a pit.
The days at sea may be long, but they are totally saved by the things we get to find and the groups of dolphins that come and put on a show for us when we least expect it.
© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell