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August 9, 2008

Island of Patmos

BY: Concha Martínez


©OCEANA/ Carlos Minguell


Yesterday we anchored off the Greek island of Patmos. It is a small island, but from the ship it looks like your typical postcard of a Greek holiday to us. There are several craft of different sizes anchored like us.

Since Thursday, we have been getting strong winds again. At times, they have reached force 8, which on land means that the wind blows from 60 to 70 kilometers per hour, and in sea terms, it is called “gale (strong wind)”. Fortunately the gale has not been constant enough to cause “big waves” as usually occurs. In any event, this wind has prevented any attempt of icthyoplankton sampling as well as finding fishing boats fishing because when the seas are so rough, they don’t usually come out.

Yesterday the divers made two dives, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon at two points on this island.

They tell us that they could not have been more different. This is because the places they have been were very close together. However, the first dive gave them the chance to see vast meadows of sea phanerogams, and they especially saw a large number of rabbitfish (Siganidae). Carlos, our photographer tells me that it is a Red Sea fish and that it entered the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal.

However, on the second dive, they found the area covered with a “plague” of mucilagous bentonic seaweed. The appearance is that the entire sea bottom, sea grass, sponges included, appears covered with an unsightly, filamentous and viscous mass.

Nevertheless, they were also able to see this cute family of dotted sea slugs (Discodoris atromaculata).