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Blog Posts by: Ricardo Aguilar

Today we stayed at port (Holmsund), on one hand, this was due to bureaucratic problems with the boat and, on the other hand, because we were running out of water. So, we took advantage of the day to fill the tanks, fix several things, stock up on food, etc.

This “resting” time also allowed us to finish identifying the organisms from our samples and photos (more algae, snails, fish, crustaceans, etc.), do some homework and answer e-mails.

During the night and early in the morning, there were clouds of mosquitos, moths, flies, etc. all around us. Iit made me realize how important insects are for ecosystem.

Normally we do not pay much attention to small animals: insects, worms, leeches, amphipods… they are sometimes thousands of these individuals in any small area. Obviously, they are there for a reason. . They are food. They control insect overpopulation and the structure of the sediments, and they also create microhabitats.

This is my third expedition is this peculiar sea. This time around I’m the Logistics Coordinator, which makes it a bit more exciting and interesting to be here once again.

I love the Scandinavian countries;  their landscapes, their quiet streets… and, what a difference in weather from my home in Valencia, Spain. Here, I’m saying goodbye to the summer, or at least the summer as we know it in Southern Europe.

Without a doubt, the Baltic Sea is different.

As an enclosed sea, its salinity is much lower than usual, and this salinity decreases as the latitude increases—which also makes for lower water temperatures when compared to other seas. The sea is also shallow, which tends to make it favorable for sunlight to reach the seafloor.

We’re sailing towards one of our research zones on the second to last day of the expedition. Even though we’re here to document the seafloor, we make sure nothing escapes our eyes, binoculars or cameras: seabirds, dolphins, turtles, tunas, swordfish…we’re documenting everything we see on the water’s surface.

We’re in the Mediterranean and we’re waiting to spot swordfish jumping above the water, dolphins and seabirds feeding of fish and dozing turtles on the surface. That’s the Mediterranean.

Today we spend the day at the foot of the Stromboli volcano, its impressive 924 m (3,031 ft) cone a constant presence. Still active, several fumaroles can be seen on the summit. The countdown has already begun. We’re in the final stretch of the campaign. We'll be heading home soon. 

We’re nearing the end of the expedition. The Aeolian Islands are a spectacular place to work, vacations here must be genuinely amazing. The people are peculiarly charming and you breathe an age-old peace and a sense of tranquility that we’re missing so much in our daily life. The Mediterranean is treating us extremely well and working conditions have been optimal.

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