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Blog Posts by: Ana de la Torriente

We depart early from Getxo to carry out two dives with the divers, one north of the Villano Islote and another off the Culebra seamount, located on the Meñacoz coast.

We have been very lucky with the weather, so far. Sunny days and slight winds have allowed us to work comfortably.

On the Villano Islote, atop a rocky seabed, we find anemones (Aiptasia mutabilis), groups of nudibranchs (Hipselodoris tricolor), various sea slugs (vaquitas suizas ) and Eudendrium hydrozoans, off which various species of nudibranchs are feeding.

Finally, the ROV technicians couldn’t solve the problem and decided the best option was to take it to Barcelona, because it would be easier to solve technical problems there. Joan and Manuel left with the ROV and we continued our work with the divers in shallow waters.

We started the day with a dive off the Callejos de Bamboa seamount atop large blocks of rock on a sandy-muddy seabed.

We returned to Sonabia in order to document the sea floors in that area. We carried out the first dive off Cotonera Island, in front of Islares, where there are various rock formations atop a sandy seabed. The top part of the rock formations was covered in Cystoseira algae and we found other species on the rocky walls, including Berthella sp., Echinaster sepositus, Hypselodoris tricolor and Alcyonium glomeratum.

We say goodbye to Santander under cloudy skies and set sail towards our next port, Castro Urdiales.

During the first dive, off the Morcejonera rock in front of Ris beach, the flat seabed was comprised of sand and small rocks. The rocky area was covered with Cystoseira algae. We also spot some areas covered with Gelidium algae.

On the overhangs, we find different species of sponges and the sea urchin, Paracentrotus lividus. Amongst the fish species, there were conger eels (Conger conger) and Ballan wrasse (Labrus bergylta).

Joan and Manuel continue working to solve the ROV’s problems, but for now, we still can’t document deep seabeds.

Since the weather conditions outside the bay do not allow the divers to work, we stay in port and carry out some maintenance work on the equipment.

Pablo López, a biologist who works in the Santander Marine Museum, let us know that a grey seal (Halichoerus gripus) had entered the bay and was resting on a ramp at the Marina del Cantábrico, so we took the small boat and headed over to the port to photograph and document it.

We set sail at 8:20 from Santander in search of the seamounts near the city in order to dive and document the seabeds, although the sky was clouded over and the wind was causing some waves.

We’ve had problems with the ROV and we’re waiting for some spare parts to arrive from Barcelona. So, the work for today was planned for the divers only.

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