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September 30, 2009

Sardina, Grand Canary, September 30, 2009

BY: Gorka Leclercq


©OCEANA/ Carlos Minguell


Today our wakeup call was at 4:00 a.m. We set sail from the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife at that ungodly hour in order to reach Sardina del Norte on the island of Gran Canaria early that morning.

With a calm sea, we covered the 40 miles in a little over four hours. We, the divers, made our first dive of the day in the port of Sardina.

A comfortable dive, no current, good visibility and an average depth of 12 meters. Under these conditions we had the longest dive of the campaign, exceeding 100 minutes under water. You can tell that it is a spot where many divers come. This is because the fish are very friendly and you can easily film and photograph them: barracudas (Sphyraena viridensis), haddock (Mycteroperca fusca), sea bass (Umbrina canariensis), octopi (Octopus vulgaris), mullet (Mullus surmulletus), a wide variety of sargo (Diplodus spp.), ocean catfish (Sparisoma cretense), great silver smelt (Pomatomus saltador), seabream (Pagrus auriga), garden eels (Heteronconger longissimus)… lined up in our sights this morning.

As soon as we got out of the water, we set our course 6 miles out to sea to submerge the ROV. We submerged to a depth of 500 meters in an area without currents. At 450 meters, a large squid lunged to devour the ballast, and a little while later, we were able to observe a specimen of a kitefish shark (Dalatias licha) and two hake (Merluccius merluccius). After three hours of diving, we returned to our course toward Sardina del Norte to dive again at Caleta with the hope of being able to document the devil rays that are usually observed in the area.

We reached the spot at dusk, supposedly the best time for spotting them, but as soon as we jumped in the water, we realized that we were not going to be lucky. This is because the water is quite churned up and visibility was reduced considerably if we compare it with the morning’s dive. So we chose to stay on a rocky bottom 20 meters down to be able to document the area.

After the submersion, we anchored at a nearby cove to spend the night and wake up early tomorrow morning for another ROV submersion before entering the port of Las Palmas. We will making a change of crew and continue the campaign toward Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.