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Blog Posts by: Ana de la Torriente

Taking advantage of the fact that yesterday was a day off, the Rov's technicians joined the two umbilicals, so we went out cheery. We wanted to submerge the robot at a greater depth. Unfortunately, an approximately 20 knot W wind forced us to stay close to shore, so we did the tests with the Rov off of Zumaia at approximately 1 nautical mile.

In spite of having the day off, many of us had pending work. So at a more relaxed pace, at any part of the ship you could find someone doing maintenance work on the scuba gear, checking the Rov's operating status and welding the umbilical, organizing photos, doing the timing for the recordings, identifying some of the species found or finishing up reports.

Others decided to spend the day seeing new places and via the Road to Santiago. They reached Deba, crossing fields and thickly wooded areas.

In the morning, we returned to the canyon facing the Orio estuary to document the seabed with the help of ROV.

Before getting there, 10.5 nautical miles from the coast and in waters with a temperature of 21ºC, we spotted a Portuguese man o’war.

At last, the ROV is up and running and we plan on working all day with it off two seamounts, one in front of Ondarroa and the other facing the Orio estuary.

We pass by two trawlers, from Gijon and Vigo, on our way to the canyons, working in waters 7 and 10 miles from the coast. This destructive fishing technique seriously damages benthic ecosystems and uses non-selective fishing gear that is detrimental to traditional fishing communities.

We left early to reach the canyons before the wind picked up so we could work comfortably, without the boat moving too much. We reached the Potera Arrechu seamount and surveyed the area but did not find any significant changes in depth. A group of 15 common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) appeared directly over the seamount and played with the bow.

We spent the day working on the Gaztelugatxe protected biotope, the only marine protected area in the Basque Country, apart from the Mundaka estuary that is within the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.

We carried out two dives off the two islands within the protected area, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and Aketze.

On the first island, there is an old church from the tenth century that must have been a monastery for the Knights Templar. The Aketze islote is isolated and is a sanctuary for marine birds.

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