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June 29, 2006

The Relay

BY: Oceana Web



The new faces I saw come aboard the Ranger on the night of the 29th were not so new, except for one. The arrival of the first “batch” of new crew members felt like a reunion: Maribel López, co-worker from the European office, Jorge Candan and Pilar Barros, video cameraman and his underwater assistant and… Miguel Bosé were joining us again!!! The new face to come aboard our catamaran made a long journey to join us. Phil Kline flew from Oceana’s Washington DC office to help us in our search for illegal netters, our documentation of the Mediterranean and to see first-hand how the European office works.

The next morning, we left the San Telmo port in Cagliari (Sardinia) in order to do some work underwater. Once we reached the dive spot, Jorge, Pilar, Juan and Thierry prepared their cameras and suffered the unbearable heat in their wetsuits until they finally dove into the area we needed to document: the habitats of Secca di Mezzo.

The preparations necessary in order to scuba dive resemble a strict protocol worth seeing. Normally, these preparations are quite arduous, but when cameras are involved, it turns into a veritable art form. Jorge and Juan delicately fuss over their “babies,” the cameras. The equipment must be perfectly assembled and the watertight housings must fully protect the eyes which will give us our underwater images. The final result is: Jorge’s “baby” (video camera) weighs 18 kilos and it looks like a mini submarine with a spotlight on either side of the camera; and Juan’s (photography camera) turns into the all-seeing eye thanks to its huge convex lens.

Thierry, the diving coordinator and Juan’s underwater assistant, and Pilar who is Jorge’s diving buddy, also prepare their equipment. The whole crew is focused on the divers, it’s their moment, they are the protagonists. We search for the dive spot on the nautical charts and in those moments just before reaching it, when the divers are ready with their wetsuits on and their BC’s, tanks, masks, fins…they hold our attention and we hold our breath a little, until they dive into the water and we see they are relaxed, ready to head straight for the bottom. From the Ranger we can see bubbles coming to the surface, indicating where they are!