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September 9, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

BY: Dustin Cranor


© OCEANA / Carlos Suárez


As Will and the rest of our Alaskan colleagues headed back to Juneau this week, a new crew was making its way to Gulfport to board the Oceana Latitude.

The next mission: Documenting seafloor habitat areas along the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico that may have been harmed by underwater oil.

During this leg, Spanish ROV operators Jose Manuel Saez and Josep Fleta will use a device to reach depths of approximately 1,500 feet and film in high-definition. Stay tuned for updates about what we are finding!

The Oceana Latitude also welcomed support divers Thierry Lannoy (France) and Jesus Molino (Spain), as well as Maribel Lopez from Oceana’s Madrid office. Dr. Michael Hirshfield has also returned to the ship. Here he is talking about this leg of the expedition: http://www.vimeo.com/14860722

As we sailed throughout the day to an important habitat area known as “The Pinnacles” off the coast of Alabama, we passed several research vessels, including Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise and NOAA’s Pisces. We also encountered several flocks of birds hovering above the ocean’s surface. And as any fisherman will tell you, birds diving on the surface of the water typically means there are fish nearby. This is likely a good sign for the menhaden fishermen that passed us as we were leaving Gulfport this morning.