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August 4, 2008

In Greek waters

BY: Concha Martínez


©OCEANA/ Carlos Minguell


As I had already told Keith, on July 30, the Marviva Med was arriving in the port of Athens and the little changes in the Oceana’s crew that were planned for that port were made. In Athens, we said goodbye to Alberto Iglesias, one of the safety divers, as well as Keith Ellenbogen, the onboard underwater photographer since the campaign began on the Marviva Med in late May.

Another underwater photographer joined us in that port, Carlos Minguell, who was coming back from a short break, Thierry Lannoy, the diving coordinator, who also performs the functions of safety diver, and me, Concha Martínez, Oceana’s Director of Development in Europe. I am joining the crew as a communications person for a few days and to learn how to help out with whatever arises.

The truth is that it is extraordinary to have the possibility of participating in Oceana’s projects “in the field”, especially for people like me. We are “office staff”.

In my case, being able to join the Ocean Ranger’s crew, or like now, the Marviva Med helps me to see the projects we are working on directly. This also helps me to incorporate information in grant requests which is my job in the organization.

After being in Athens for a few days waiting for the weather conditions to be favorable so we could go out, on Saturday, August 2, we set sail toward the Northeastern Aegean Sea. However, the winds weren’t going to help us much, and we are sheltered, anchored off of Cape Sounion and in front of the Temple of Poseidon (500 A.D.) waiting for them to die down a bit to continue our course.

Yesterday, the divers went out to dive in a nearby area where they identified that there was a shipwreck fairly close to where we were anchored.

They came back satisfied from the dive. The most notable part was that the shipwreck had different fishing nets tangled in it; both new and old ones. They also documented the invading seaweed, Caulerpa racemosa, that is a tropical seaweed that has expanded in the Mediterranean, and has colonized the native marine habitats.

It seems that the weather conditions are going to help us and we are going out this afternoon.