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July 17, 2006

Operations on the Gerona coasts

BY: Pilar Barros



As soon as we docked in Roses port, the Ranger’s crew was divided into three work groups:

On the one hand, and the main reason why we had to make a stop in these facilities, in order to install a davit crane on the Ranger’s stern which would allow us to carry out operations with the ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle, an underwater robot capable of filming and photographing at hundreds of meters of depth, in areas the divers cannot reach) and to help us with other diving equipment such as: lifting the Zodiac, etc… This operation will have the Ranger out of service for an unknown number of days, the most optimistic guess is 4 days, but it could be up to 7. Carlos, Jordi, Albert and Xosé are working arduously on this project, under the burning rays of the sun.

Meanwhile, Xavier Pastor, the director of this campaign, is headed towards the French coast, by land, along with Maria José Cornax, to explore the ports of the Gulf of Lyon, a total of 30 ports, searching for fishing vessels using illegal fishing gear, drift nets (as I am sure you are aware).

The third group was comprised of 4 divers: Juan, Thierry, Jorge and myself, Pilar. After almost one month without any diving (or very little), at last we were diving every day. From now on, the Ranger’s “Mediterranean 2006” campaign will concentrate on documenting the condition of the Mediterranean’s marine ecosystems, and this would mean diving every day. We started this week on the Costa Brava, concentrating on three sites: Medas, Roses and Llafranc islands. Since we do not have the Ranger, we must relocate by land, to where the collaborating dive clubs are located. During our dive in Roses, at Cap Norfeu, we were able to document some white gorgonias and seaman’s hands coral, among other things. On Medas island, however, we concentrated on the fish, since they are plentiful in this area and also very friendly, practically posing for our cameras. Here we were able to take pictures of groupers, meagres, breams, gilthead seabreams, dentex, mackerels, etc… The scenery is completely different compared to Llafranc, a wall full of gorgonias fills Jorge, Juan and Thierry’s camera lenses with bright red and yellow hues while a bank of bogues pose for the cameras. For the Llafranc dive, we contacted Emilio at “Tritón Diving,” who introduces us to Miguel Bosé and chooses a magnificent diving spot for us called Los Ullastres. We very much appreciate his collaboration.

While the divers are being hypnotised by this underwater magnificence, the work continues on the Ranger, and as time estimates go, it will take the full 7 days of the week to complete the work. But since our documenters, Juan and Jorge, take advantage of all opportunities, during the time the Ranger is out of service they document the spectacular fishing activities in the Roses port, including trawlers leaving the port at 7 in the morning, at the sound of a siren as if it were a race, and coming back at 5 in the afternoon in order to unload the catch of the day (of all sizes), which is transported directly to the fish market.