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Blog Posts by: Carlos Minguell

Driven by a weather report of increasing winds, we jumped into the water earlier than usual near the island of Bullergrund, near Vaasa.

The dive was similar to the ones we did yesterday: we dropped down to 8 meters and were unable to position the metallic frame we use for sampling because it kept on sinking into the muddy seafloor. The visibility here is a bit over half a meter and it took us 30 minutes to walk underwater from the from the shore using our compass as the only guide.

I was so happy to manage squeezing-in the opportunity in my schedule to visit our expedition in the Quark. And, equally, I was happy that my visit fit within the expedition's schedule as well. It would have been such a pity to miss this chance while the crew was in Finnish waters.
 

Our workday started today just like it did in my previous diary entry: we were visited by journalists, only this time they were from the Finnish newspaper, Pohjalainen. Later, before heading to our new port of Vaasa, we conducted a dive in the area near Holgrundberget, in rather murky waters at a maximum depth of 3,5 meters.

Today we continued conducting inventories in the beautiful Quark archipelago, unfortunately we couldn’t use the drop-video camera because it rained the whole day.

This doesn’t impact the diving though, so our talented divers carried out two dives as usual. The rest of us got a much-needed opportunity to catch up with some of our other work, such as checking samples and sending e-mails.

In this part of the Baltic, you notice the connection between the land and sea, fresh and salt water, best. A brackish environment, the most common species here are those typically found in lakes and rivers, albeit for a few bivalves, saltwater fish and marine algae.

Foxes and minks lurk about the rocky coast and the plants seem to crawl onto the land. The low horizon makes it difficult to discern where the water ends and land begins or telling apart a lake from the sea.

With Swedish waters behind us, we set-off for the second part of expedition in Finland. Our welcome here couldn’t have been any better: just a few miles after crossing the “border”, we arrived in an Marine Protected Area (MAP) for seals. Anchoring isn’t allowed within a MAP, so we anchored northeast of the zone and, within a few minutes, had our first visit…

At 6 a.m. in the morning, my mobile phone’s rang; we had to make the most out of our time in the Baltic. An hour later, we set out in to a dense forest in search of the one of the most beautiful mammals: the moose. 

But, none of the four of us that went out saw any—one day perhaps…

Later, we conducted our 11th dive in Swedish waters. The salinity here is very low, around 3 parts per thousand.

After an early-morning visit by a team of reporters from TV4 Sweden, we conducted two dives around the island of Holmön. The first dive was rather unexciting: a flat seafloor that stretched almost to the shore and only a few species to document. The second dive, on the other hand, was far different: abundant marine plants—some, up to two meters tall—as well as a number of invertebrates that are often associated to the plants, like snails.

Today, we got to be out and film with the drop-video camera for several hours, since we now have two boats in addition to our floating home and office. The drop-video camera is an inventory tool that is widely used in both Sweden and Finland for marine inventories in the Baltic Sea. It allows you to efficiently cover a large area, although you usually cannot determine all the species you see on the video. It does however give you an idea of the type of substrate and vegetation and conditions that prevail at each filmed point.

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