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June 22, 2008

Ría de Viveiro

BY: Silvia García



At 8:00, as we are leaving the Ria de Viveiro, we start the day off with a large group of common dolphins –around 25-, calm seas and gentle sailing towards the mouth of the estuary. We are lucky enough to see a young dolphin jumping vigorously, lifting his entire body out of the water. It’s a shame we didn’t get it on film.

This time, we head towards the north, 4.5 miles from the estuary, or half an hour’s worth of sailing. The place does not have an official name. It’s a sandbar, and it has a longer shape, different from a seamount. We submerge the ROV at 153 meters and film for 3 hours and 10 minutes, traveling less than 1 mile. The robot has to move slowly because we must stop and zoom in on anything interesting.

At midday, we anchor off the island of Coelleira so the divers can document the seabeds. Carlos, the photographer, gets some spectacular shots of nudibranchs, sponges and other species, always with the help of Josiane, his diving buddy and chief of the diving team. They also spotted the largest conger eel they’ve ever seen; it was as long as Josi and swam right alongside them. Jorge and Pilar, who were taking footage, filmed a variety of algae and sponges on the island’s seabed in great detail. The images are truly spectacular and visibility was good. They were filming for almost 1 hour in 24 meters depth, so they had to stop for 8 minutes underwater before coming up.