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July 30, 2010

Palma de Mallorca.

BY: Gorka Leclercq


© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell


We are docked in the port of Palma. From here, we planned two dives at Dragonera Island. The “catch” is that it is 25 miles away and making the crossing in our dinghy would be impossible.

After making several arrangements, Carlos Pérez appeared among the ships of the port of Palma with a vessel that was a bit “atypical” for our diving tasks… “it’s the only thing that I have found, guys, he said to whoever laughed more than they should, the…”

So we put our gear aboard and we set sail for Dragonera Island aboard our nifty new little “Ferrari” red boat. As soon as we set sail, there were giggles:

“…It will be marvelous, to travel to Majorca….”

In a little under two hours, we reached the Dragonera Island and we took up the position to begin the first submersion at “Cap de Tramontana”. The wall drops vertically down to a depth of more than 40 meters. After taking a peek at the deepest part, I decided to rise a few meters and do the submersion between 20 and 25 meters because that way I have more time at the bottom for filming. A “typical Mediterranean” dive, that is, with few fish, so I focused on filming sessile life in the shadowy areas. These shaded environments are where “life” concentrates: pheophytes (brown algae), rhodophytes (red algae), sponges and a couple of cnidarids such as the jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca are the species that I was able to film on this first dive.

After recuperating in the shelter of a cove in the town of San Telmo, we began the second dive at “Mitjana Island”, an islet emerging in the channel between the two islands. The base is a sandy bottom about 16 meters deep where phanerogams (Posidonia oceanica) prevail. I swam into a vertical crack where a cavity is formed that is full of the cnidarid Parazoanthus axinellae. After the dive, Thierry Lannois, our diving coordinator, showed me a small crack where I could see a moray eel (Muraena helena) and I glimpsed a couple of Monaco shrimp (Lysmata seticaudata) behind it. I adjusted the camera and lights to see whether I was lucky enough to see the moray eel open its mouth and the shrimp come in and remove parasites from it ha!… A wait of almost twenty minutes and there’s no way it was going to happen, at least the moray eel dedicated a few snaps of its jaw to me and showed me its teeth several times…Maybe I can make a video with opera music and the moray eel singing “Nessum Dorma” by Puccini… More tomorrow.