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May 30, 2008


BY: Keith Ellenbogen


©OCEANA/ Keith Ellenbogen


With overcast skies and a slight sea breeze at around 8am two of the four purseiner fishing left the bay heading southeast. We decided to remain anchored and wait with the two other purseiner fishing boats.

A Little Visitor

This morning, while waiting and watching the fishing boats, we were greeted by a cute little yellowish bird that perched itself on the blue/green rope high above the bow of the boat and on the railing of the observation deck.

Guardia Civil Helicopter

At about 11 am the Guardia Civil helicopter flew overhead while we continue to remain anchored in the bay of Formentera Island.

The Fishing boats depart

At 1pm the second pair of purseiner fishing boats started their engines and began to motor out of the bay of Formentera Island. Captain Jani Forsgaard followed the boats southeast as we charted a course into the open ocean of the Balearic Sea.

While on the observation deck Jan Rautawaara TITLE proudly showed us this original brass magnetic compass in a mahogany case. He is a collector of vintage seafaring equipment and over the next few months is going to refurbish the equipment to its original state.

Soaring Gaviota

As our boat departed Formentera Island we were joined by a few Gaviota’s (seagulls) that seemed to enjoy soaring past the A-Frame at the boats stern to high above the observation deck. Then as if playing with the wind they turned there body 90 degrees fully extending their wings like a sail on a yacht and quickly glided behind our ship.

Secretaria General De Pesca

At around 2pm with no land in sight the Secretaria General De Pesca (Inspeccion Pesquera) airplane flew overhead.

Tug Boat with Tuna Cages

At 3:30pm, 15 nautical miles southeast of Formentera Island we noticed the former bottom trawler Gasparillo, from La Vila Joiosa (3a AT.4.2.97) towing a tuna cage 50 meters in diameter. We are not sure if the cages are full or empty with bluefin tuna. However, we did notice the Gerald Jean IV MA-916469, Marseille pass very close to the tug boat. Despite our curiosity we continued moving southeast following our two targeted ships.

As the sun begins to set we have be underway for the past 7 hours and are now approximately 40 nautical miles from Formentera Island in the Balearic Sea.

Into the Night

In the dark of the night and in the open sea at about 10:30 pm using radar equipment we navigated to a location near two-tug boats and one purseiner fishing boat. However, he concedes if the boats should decide to move in the night it will not be easy to follow them. It is our belief they will start fishing early tomorrow morning — more to follow…