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October 1, 2014

Punta de Orchilla

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© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell

 

Right before dawn, we headed towards Punta Orchilla, in search of a new volcanic bottom to document. At this beautiful place the peaceful sea surface gets ruffled by the wind. The ROV dive was aborted due to adverse weather conditions one mile from the lighthouse. Our next dive, about 300m deep, would be more successful. Once in Mar de las Calmas, sheltered from the rough winds, we found important ecosystems with Dentomuricea gorgonians, extremely beautiful habitats housing black corals (Stichopathes) and rock formations covered with different kinds of sponges.

After the dive we had a little mishap because the ROV´s umbilical fiber optic cable got stuck for a few long stressful minutes on the rocks, until the ROV technicians finally got to release it.

The day ended with a third smooth deeper dive (900m) that left us all pleased with the work done, in which we once again documented an arrowhead dogfish (Deania profundorum), a deep-sea hydroid Corymorpha sp. and got amazed at the strange dance of the rare Ellapsipodidae holothuroidea.