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September 26, 2014

Beginning of the third stage

BY: Oceana Web


© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell


After our early return from the Sahara Mountains, we started with the last stage of the campaign at El Hierro. The second and third points chosen on the island after La Punta del Pesquero, were Orchilla´s lighthouse and La Punta de los Mozos.

The first dive was at a depth around 600 m and the second on a vertical wall at about 350 m, with some slightly less steep slopes and big rocks. There we found  Asconema setubalense sponge fields, different from the ones found in the Gorringe Bank or in the Mediterranean. We also saw an impressive forest of black corals (possibly larger than Dacia´s) formed mainly by Stichopates sp., Antipathes furcata , some Bathipathes sp. and Antipathella wollastoni exceeding some areas.

On the second dive, we observed large aggregations of stone sponges (Lithistidas) of which we took a sample. This was very interesting as we had the opportunity to see in detail its structure and appreciate its hardness.  In these dives we documented the presence of the Lovely hatchetfish (Argyropelecus aculeatus), tinsel fish (Grammicolepis branchiusculus), big roughy (Gephyroberyx darwinii), scorpionfish (Scorpaena canariensis), leopard-spotted goby (Thorogobius ephippiatus) and again, the pink frogmouth (Chaunax pictus).