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June 13, 2008

Venus’ girdle

BY: Silvia García




Today, we will be filming in a seamount known as Villar de Fuertes, 12 miles off the Muros estuary. We submerge the ROV to 100 meters and find a large concentration of Venus’ girdles in the first 15 meters (Cestum veneris), a ctenophore than can reach up to 1.5 meters in length. We also spot a few salps (Salpa maxima). For three hours, we filmed a wide variety of species on sandy rippled bottoms and rock bottoms brimming with life. The bottoms are once again very diverse, loaded with yellow tree corals, black coral, echinoderms and, above all, many cup sponges (Phakellia sp.) and fish, including scorpionfish, Ballan wrasse, seabass, streaked gurnards, rockfish, etc. As far as the cetaceans are concerned, we only spotted one common dolphin, who took advantage of the Ranger’s movements in the water to play for a few minutes.

The north wind picks up in the afternoon and we can’t work with the divers, so we must return to port.