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September 1, 2009

Mogán, Grand Canary, Tuesday, September 1, 2009

BY: Gorka Leclercq


©OCEANA/ Carlos Minguell


Today is September 1st, the return to the “daily grind” for many of you, so set aside that backlog of work for a moment. My proposition to you is to disconnect from it all for a few minutes and read the ship’s log.

Yesterday evening we set sail from Punta de Jandía, at the Southern end of Fuerteventura toward Mogán, at the Southern end of Grand Canary: almost seventy miles of sailing we planned on covering in about eleven hours. However, when we entered the channel between the two islands, our friend “Ali” (short for Alisio or trade winds in English) felt like partying and had us dancing to the tune of Isas, Folías and Malagueñas all night long.

I watched a “flick” on the laptop on my bunk (I am the only lucky soul on the Oceana Ranger with a bunk bed all to myself. I use it to stow all the stuff that goes along with on board filming. We’ll talk about that and my tribulations at the airports to check in the nearly 100 kilos of gear I carry with me some other day…).

Once the laptop was fastened to the bunk so it wouldn’t fall off, and once I was in a similar position on the opposite side, I watched “Man on Fire” starring Denzel Washington with Tony Scott’s typical hallmark of frantic producing.

Now what I wanted to get to: once the movie was over, after two and a half hours in a pose that was half “Pilates” and half “Kama Sutra” on the bunk, instead of being sleepy, I was wide awake. So I went up on deck to keep “Jus” company. He is one of the pillars of the Ranger’s crew. Together with Mario, the other sailor, they stood guard for three hours while the ship sailed at night after more than eight hours of ROV submersion. During that submersion, both of them stayed on deck controlling the umbilical cable so there would be no “mishap” during the submersion.

As I was telling you, I was with Justino for a few hours on guard between cups of hot chocolate, cookies and the Canarian dances with “Ali” who still felt like partying.

The good part is that with the genova unfurled, we were doing more than nine knots, so we finally covered the distance in eight hours.

The next morning there were sleepy faces at breakfast, and everyone was in his or her spot for a new ROV submersion four miles to the South of Mogán.

The submersion began, and a little after it reached the bottom, Pitu and Siscu, the ROV navigators hit their target and show us, beneath a small reef at a depth of 270 meters, the first Darwin’s slimehead (Gephyroberyx darwini) and Mediterranean slimehead fish (Hoplostethus mediterraneus). After the submersion and sailing for awhile by the imposing cliffs of Güi Güi, we docked in the port of Mogán where we were due for general provisioning and a nice hot shower after dinner.

We received a visit aboard the ship from Arturo Boyra and Cristina Fernández, two good friends who, like us, are passionate about the sea. Stemming from this is Oceanográfica, a company whose business is to spread awareness of the Canarian marine environment and publish authors of numerous publications. They have been running it for seven years. Some of these publications are guides which we turned to on the ship for answers to our queries. Tomorrow, Arturo will sail with us to see a ROV submersion onsite. With luck, we will find some “odd creature” for them to include in their next book.