We were not as lucky today with the ROV submersions. The first thing today we tried taking a sampling in the SW area of Estrecho la Bocayna in an area where the slope descends rapidly from 100 m to 600 m in only half a mile. When we reached the spot, a NE wind was blowing at force 4, so we decided it would be better to move to another spot. We already have experience where these conditions greatly hamper the coordination between the ROV and the ship.
Last night we changed ports. We were docked at Marina Rubicón to the south of Lanzarote. We set sail from this port to continue with the task of documenting and identifying the sea bottom of Estrecho de la Bocayna.
For the moment, the weather conditions favor us, and we can continue diving, both with the ROV and divers, to the south of Lanzarote. The southern part of the archipelago is more protected from the trade winds that blow during the summer. So for now, these are the spots we are sampling. Nevertheless, we keep hoping that the winds will die down so we can approach the more exposed areas at the northern part of the islands.
Today we changed our location and travelled south, to the Bocayna Strait, to carry out two dives with the ROV, one on each side of the strait.
We documented black coral, seaman’s hand coral, yellow coral, pandora and monkfish, although in this case, the most impressive site was a field of glass sponges (Asconema setubalense) at 376 meters depth.
We reached Lanzarote first thing in the morning. To be able to work with the ROV, we scouted for a spot sheltered from the wind, to the SE of the island. We focused our attention on sampling the areas surrounding Punta la Tiñosa where there is a proposal for an LIC (Lugar de Importancia Comunitaria, or Place of Community Importance in English. This was an area proposed to be protected and included within the European framework in the Natura 2000 network.)
The voyage aboard the Oceana Ranger has been stupendous. We sailed the whole way with sails, and we took advantage of the force 5 or 6 NW and NE winds. First we passed the underwater mountains of Dacia and Concepción with the idea in mind of making some submersions with the ROV. However, in spite of the fact that sea and weather conditions have been good for sailing, the wind and some waves reaching up to 3 meters did not allow us to work with the ROV.
After all of these months of work, it seems unreal that we have finally reached the end of the campaign. During these last days, there are mixed feelings of happiness and tiredness. On one hand, we are sad to have to leave the ship and stop being constantly on the water. On the other hand, the fatigue from the intense work aboard the Marviva Med and the joy of knowing that we have compiled very valuable information for developing the campaigns and reaching goals - that has to be analyzed- encourage us to leave the ship.