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Blog Posts by: Ana de la Torriente

The entire reserve of Roques de Anaga at the north end of the island of Tenerife is made up of two volcanic rock formations in the sea where there are singular animal and plant species. Besides being the place where the only known Gallot's lizard (Gallotia galloti insulanagae) population can be found, it is an important area for birds because 6 different species have been observed to nest there.

In the morning, the most urgent task was to repair the remote control that stopped working in the Sahara Mountains and build a new ballast. Mónaco called Michel, the technician who worked on French submarines and, after investigating the situation, he decided to install a second control via cable. Now we have two systems installed and this reassures us that we will be able to respond in case of breakdown.

Day off.

Washing, shopping, hardware store (of course), search for a new ballast and how to repair the winch, and of course of few beers.

Taking advantage of the peace that reigns onboard, we invite Suso Trujillo Rodríguez, Councillor of the Environment in the City Hall of Agüimes . This local government has requested, through plenary agreement, the designation of a Marine Reserve in Arinaga three times (in 1996, 2000 and 2006).

Unfortunately, we weren't able to continue diving off the Sahara seamounts and we are now on our way to Grand Canary.

As we all know, the trip to Mogán will take two days, so we quickly man our stations. Like always, some disappear, others work on their videos and photographs and small groups gather both on deck and inside to share a cigarette or chat. Meanwhile, Indi and Ricardo, binoculars in hand, go on deck in search of birds and cetaceans.

We reached the Sahara Mountains around noon. Up to now, most of the people on board had disappeared. Some went off to read, or watch movies while others downloaded and classified their photographs or worked on video footage. Ricardo clung to the binoculars expecting to sight birds or cetaceans while Indi raced from the deck to the kitchen, identifying red-billed tropicbirds (Phaeton aethereus) while preparing lunch.

We took advantage of the calm to document the sea bottom off the Northern end of la Gomera. The days continue to be sunny, and the little wind blowing makes the heat inside the Ranger too intense at times. It is a good day to go outside during the crossing to the sampling stations and enjoy the coastal scenery. We sailed parallel to some gorgeous cliffs until we reached los Órganos, an impressive geological structure formed by basaltic columns with a shape similar to organ pipes; hence its name.

This time, we submerged the ROV in Punta del Jurado, north of La Gomera. We were surprised to find so many shortnose greeneye (Chlorophthalmus agassizi) atop the muddy seabed, all looking in the direction from which the current was coming. We have documented this species in the Mediterranean in the past, but always individuals alone, never in such large groups.

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