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Blog Posts by: Ana de la Torriente

After leaving Menorca due to bad weather on the northern coast of the island, we now find ourselves on the eastern coast of Mallorca. We’ve taken advantage to let the storm go by, seeking shelter on the coast of Santany. Then, when the storm was dying down (“julepe frescachón”… Felipe Mellizo “Los Tres anillos”), we anchored in the bay of Pollensa.

We don’t have many days left in Italy, because we plan to be back in the Balearic Islands at the end of the month, in Palma de Mallorca. So, we decide to continue working with the ROV, documenting the seamounts west of the Aeolian Islands, facing the northwest coast of Sicily and head slowly towards the Balearic coasts.

We set sail from Brindisi toward the south of Capo de Santa Maria di Leuca, in the Ionian Sea. This is an area where deep sea coral reefs dominated by Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata have been described. Several scientific campaigns have recorded colonies of these species from depths of 110 to 470 meters. At these depths, 30 different species of sponges have been recorded in association with these deep-sea coral.

Today we continued with the campaign by making two Rov immersions and one with divers. Ana Leiva (director of Fundación Biodiversidad) and Juanjo came with us. This was because they showed great interest in finding out what a day of work on the Ranger was like and our activities and the information we are collecting on Bay of Biscay habitats and species. Marta Madina, Oceana's director of communications, also came with us.

We started the day sounding the canyon near the Castro Verde seamount to later sail toward the coastal area between Punta El Mariano and Punta la Code (between Islares and Castro Urdiales) where divers went on a shallow dive (between 6 and 15 meters deep).

We started the day sighting a group of 3 common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), about 7 nautical miles sailing toward Cabo Matxitxako.

It was once again a day of intense work with the Rov. We made the two dives in the same canyon off "Las Palomas" oil rig on a muddy bottom with some scattered rocks.

Today was an intense day of work with Rov. During the first dive, in the canyon off Ondarroa, we documented a muddy bottom where the following creatures dwell: prawns of the genus Pleisonika, octopi (Eledone cirrhosa), catsharks (Sciliorhinus canicula), four-spotted megrims (Lepidorhombus boscii), silver pout (Gadiculus argenteus) and color tube anemones (Cerianthus membranaceus). These last ones formed abundant bunches.

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