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Blog Posts by: Rubén González

Back at sea, this is my sixth expedition with Oceana, my first in the North Sea and also my debut as a logistics coordinator.

There have been many pre-campaign preparations and many hours of work focused on making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. It seems that the effort has paid off in the end and here we are at last, aboard the Neptune with our “scientific contraptions”, doing our small part to protect the oceans each day while we sail the waters of a North Sea that has shown us its best side until now, although it does wake up in a grumpy mood some days.

Thirtieth day on board and almost half the expedition is over. I feel extremely welcomed by the wild North Sea and, for the time being, it’s been showing its best side. Outstanding temperatures, light passing rains and more than acceptable conditions at sea. We left Scotland after seeing an extensive variety of species and magnificent vertical scenery. Meanwhile, we’ve been delighted with Norway’s dreamlike landscapes, with jutting granite and abyssal walls with laminar edges, where dives seem to pass in an instant and breaks with friends are a gift…

It’s interesting how they react when they see us coming: they raise their heads, eye each other, and when one makes the first move towards escape, the others follow. They stop a few meters away (a false precaution and hardly effective) to satisfy their curiosity. They watch us, watch each other, and exchange concerns in a strange language, to end the interaction with a half turn and a cold goodbye after a brief greeting. The only trail in their wake are a few waves in the water, or a few forgotten footsteps on the beach.

When we dive in tropical seas the water is a transparent, warm blue – ideal conditions. Yet 15 days into the campaign we’ve been diving in cloudy, green and cold water and we’re delighted. We’ve found ecosystems similar to those in warm water in both Scotland and Norway, that is, “if you can call temperatures of 9ºC” warm. This ecosystem in an authentic forest, “the enchanted forest”. A kelp forest (kelpos) several meters high has covered the bottom on every dive up to 20 meters deep, blocking our view of the rock.

It’s taken many years for this wish to finally come true: to document underwater life in the cold waters off the Norwegian coast. This is what we have been doing for the last few days. I’m really happy to be one of the first to explore these sea bottoms and to finally find the one of the “top ten” fish in the North Sea: the Atlantic wolf fish.     

At twenty-five metres from the ocean surface and a water temperature of 9ºC, I came up across a young puffer fish. I think my eyes were bigger than his when I realised what it was in front of me.

Today, like most days, when I got up it was already daybreak. The sun looked amazing (it was actually raining) but I was in a good mood and left the bedroom to go and have breakfast with the crew and to prepare ourselves for another day lost out at sea near Norway - not knowing what date of the month or day of the week it was! But what I did know was that we were going to have another adventure.

We’re kicking off Monday ready and raring to go after our first stop in the port of Haugesund in Norway. At 7 am we were already lowering the two small boats into the water – today we’re going to be diving!

At lunch time, we sheltered between some islands about 8 miles off the coast and it’s here where we did the second dive of the day. The scenery is spectacular and the feeling you get from being here is just amazing! It’s my first time as a diver for Oceana and I feel very fortunate to be able to do live and share this experience with all the team. Thank you all!

This is my first campaign with Oceana, my job is to captain an inflatable and help with ROV maneuvers and dredges on deck. The experiences of the past fourteen days of sailing in Scotland were unbeatable, and we had great weather, except today, Sunday, as we’re docked at a Norwegian port and the day is gray and rainy.

My name is Adolfo De Los Ríos Cerón, I’m 23 years old and I captain of one of the campaign’s inflatable boats. I finished the advanced course in underwater and hyperbaric operations two months ago and I was offered this opportunity just as soon as I was done. Honestly, I feel extremely lucky that my first job is like this one. In terms of my shipmates, there’s an extraordinary atmosphere on board: everyone is warm, pleasant and very hardworking. In short, so far this campaign is looking like a fantastic and very, very productive job. LET'S KEEP ON GOING, OCEANA TEAM!

 

Sometimes you take a dive in fresh water, other times in salt water. Today, the ROV had to dive in water with gas. These are small areas that turn out to have gaseous activity below the seafloor; this gas sometimes breaks through the surface in a big soap bubble (at least that’s how I imagine it).

As luck would have it, today not only were we able to dive in these areas but we also came across not one, but two “northern dogfish”. For biology beginners, like me, these are fish with very big mouths, menacing, the kind that like to hide beneath rocks.

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