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September 7, 2009

Tenerife. Monday, September 7, 2009

BY: Nuño Ramos


©OCEANA/ Carlos Suárez


“Ricardo… Where are we going today?”

A question I regularly ask the scientific guru we carry aboard at about 8 each morning. The engines purr as they warm up while the coffee is steaming in our cups so we can take in that heat that puts us in gear. Indi, the cook, hunched down below the engine controls is still in his dreamy limbo waiting for his last little sip in order to enter this world…

“Let’s see how things are at Punta Teno. Let’s see if things are going well. Because they’re going well… Aren’t they?” answers Ricardo. I strike the pose of an experienced mariner, and looking toward the horizon with my eyes half-closed, I whisper: “Well, I’m not going to tell you what I think because I’d be lying to you”. That was the Galician streak in me. We finally decided we would have to stick our noses out to see what was going one out there on the outskirts of the cape.

Done. We stuck our noses out an hour later: SPLAT! Take that. There they are again, yes indeed. The everlasting trade winds. Those that, like Peter and the Wolf, they have been announcing for two weeks, and they die down in two days. They blow pretty hard, which is why we chose to hide our noses and leave so we could submerge the ROV elsewhere.

We located an interesting point in a quiet place and we lowered the ROV. There is a significant current, and a little while later, the wind and waves arrived, jolly and curious to see what we had up our sleeves. Anyway, some go this way, others go that way and we are determined to follow our own course with a creature dangling from a 500 m umbilical cable. I can’t help remembering my classes at school about n-dimensional vector spaces. Now I understand what that knowledge is good for: All I have to do is make ‘n=3’!

Our effort paid off: thick gardens of gorgonians, vast fields of sponges and hard coral galore awaited our return to thoroughly study it all in better conditions.