My travelling companion, Nuño Ramos (captain on the Transoceanic Expedition in 2005), and I arrived at Cagliari and went straight to the Ranger, which was moored in the Port of San Telmo. As we had expected, immediately after boarding the yearned-for Ranger, engines were started up and our crew colleagues, with a full tummy, and after having received us with open arms, cast ropes loose and set off in search of more illegal driftnet vessels.
As other office colleagues had predicted, the chance of embarking on the Ranger enables us to go beyond the realm of pure information, and allows us to bring (with even greater intensity) sensations, feelings and emotions to the projects on which we are working at Oceana. Seeing illegal driftnet boats fishing, sacking our sea stocks, or witnessing the absence of fish life in our seas, not only makes one angry, but also hurts.
Faced with such feelings, there are no better tools than the desire to work and the thrill of documenting the state of our oceans and making our voices heard and our “evidence” heeded by different governments, and before the European Union. Because the omnipresent ingredient in the Ranger, and which forms an integral of the boat itself, is the strength, the work, the constancy, the patience, the generosity, among so many more values that are brought by each one of those who go to make up Oceana. From the office regulars, to the cook, the underwater cameramen, the scuba divers, the captain, the seaman…
We spent the night sailing to the port of Carloforte, on the island of San Pietro, from where we got ready for another expedition in search of driftnet vessels, this time by car. We set off the next morning. Xavier Pastor, Juan Cuetos (photographer), Enrique Talledo, (cameraman) and I, got into a red Panda that we drove onto a ferry to take us to the island of San Antioco, where last year we documented the shameless presence of this illegal practice. As Juan says, we were the “FELPE”, which basically stands for ‘the ecological front for the freedom of the swordfish’.
After we got back to the Ranger and having captured more driftnet boats with our cameras, we sailed out to see until reaching a depth of 1,000 m, where driftnet vessels normally fish. We spent the night on the lookout tracing out a semi-circle in order to return to the port of San Telmo in Cagliari the following day. There it was crew relief time, with all that this brings with it, including the strange and sad sensation that arises from the departure of travelling companions, and the curiosity and excitement of welcoming new crewmembers on board. Maria José Cornax, Soledad Esnaola and Enrique Talledo bid us farewell with a simple “See you later”.