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Blog Posts by: Ana de la Torriente

First thing in the morning, we returned to the Llanes Canyon and submerged the ROV up to 240 meters depth. We documented the flat, sandy seabed with low density of organisms. Although we did find various specimens of the anemone Actinauge richardi, holothurians Eostichopus regalis and sea urchins Echinus acutus. It seems especially important that we are recording few fish sightings during the entire campaign off the Cantabrian coast.

We begin the day by planning a dive in front of Cape Peñas, but we had to suspend it due to the wind and rough seas, and decided to set sail to Cantabria.

We recorded the depth at various points around Llanes Canyon in order to get an idea of the morphology of the seabed and identify possible dive spots.

We set sail from the port of Gijón at 7 in the morning and headed towards the Avilés Canyon in order to find and document the white coral. When we reach the canyon, facing Cape Peñas, almost 9 miles from the coast, we submerge the ROV and border the southern coast of the canyon.

Here, we find various colonies of white coral (Madrepora oculata) on the steep, rocky seabed at more than 200 meters depth, as well as a many sponges, anemones and gorgonians.

What a day. Peñas Cape has surprised us with a forest of cup sponges (Phakellia ventilabrum) at only 25 meters depth. The divers dove off the Merendálvarez reef, NNE of the cape, and recognised it because they’ve seen it so many times on the seabeds we’ve filmed with the ROV, always at 80-100 meters depth.

They filmed and photographed it, documenting the enormous amount of deep-sea sponges we found in this area. Close to this location, but at 70-80 meters depth, we are once again thrilled to see the richness of the seabeds comprised of corals, sponges and large fish.

Today, we tried to find the white coral again. The current has made it impossible to combine the movement of the boat with the current at 200 meters depth, where the ROV was located. The boat would continuously be dragged away from the ROV and it was impossible to follow the route we had planned. We carry out two dives, without success.