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July 31, 2011

On our way to Gorringe

BY: Nuño Ramos


© OCEANA / Carlos Suárez


Since I wrote the other day about returning from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean due to bad weather, today I’ll write about returning to the ocean again. The small window of good weather in Gorringe appeared a few days ago and the forecast looks good so we quickly set sail from Almerimar. We intend on picking up Ana de la Torriente in Portimão and then continuing on to Gorringe Bank. The Mediterranean gave us one typical day of beautiful weather which was great for sighting common and gray pilot whales, striped and common dolphins, as well as a couple of loggerhead turtles serenely floating, looking at us intrigued, lifting their heads out of the water now and then. The wind picked up at night and continued into the morning, and we reached the Straits of Gibraltar with 30-knot westerly wind, in other words: blowing straight toward the bow. The forecast for that day was completely wrong but, in the end, it wasn’t so bad, the wind quickly died down into a good breeze, and we returned to the Atlantic with great weather. To welcome us, as we sailed by Tarifa, a fin whale showed us its dorsal fin a few times, but unfortunately, we didn’t see it for long.

After another day of sailing up and down the waves, reading and working, we reached the Bank of the Guadalquivir early in the morning and used the ROV to dive for a couple of hours. We had time and took advantage of the opportunity. Some interesting findings included a variety of worms and three Coronaster stars. While sponges and various species of sea fans, various fish and an octopus or two passed in front the camera lens, the merchant ships sailed past us, just half a mile away: we were right on the border of the exit route from the Mediterranean to Cape St. Vincent and northern Europe. At last, we reached Portimão that evening and after filling up the water and diesel tanks and tying up the boat, leaving it ready to sail in the morning, we anxiously headed for the showers and beer, not necessarily in that order. Ana joined us; the next day we were heading for Gorringe!