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Blog Posts by: Carlos Pérez

Today, a day off, I was emotionally hit hard. Today an old friend said goodbye to me. It’s been hard. We’ve spent many memorable times and other not so memorable times together. My friend, who I’ve placed all my trust in, has been the guardian of my things, my sweethearts, my tools, my riches, my sort of secret notes... He has acted like a faithful squire or he has tried to protect me from the filth that sometimes surrounds the lives of human beings; not always successfully. Always generous, always self-sacrificing. I never heard the least complaint from him. Always by my side.

We woke up in Puerto Calero (Lanzarote) on October 9th. We fill up the fuel tanks early in the morning and spend the day preparing the boat for the crossing, returning to the peninsula. The weather forecast is not good, with northeast winds force 5/6, but we have to adhere to our schedule.

We have to try to submerge the ROV on the Dacia and Concepción seamounts but the weather forecast is not looking good so we are going to sail over and see if conditions improve.

Today we awoke off of “La Restinga” at the extreme south of Hierro Island. As soon as we arrived, we concentrated on performing the first bathymetry to locate the spots where Ricardo wanted the ROV submersion. After locating them, I left the ship to Pairo to study the abatement and decide which will be the best strategy of the transect that interest the campaigns.

Today we set sail from the Puerto Amarillo Marina. We got up at the crack of dawn to arrive early at the ROV inspection and diving spots near the “Los Gigantes” area. The weather seems to be calming down, and the winds are quite tolerable on this Eastern-Southern-Western face of Tenerife. Today the gear was about to give us trouble, and we had to change a main diving compressor pressure gauge, thus putting off the morning dive to the afternoon. We also had to hoist the ROV back on board after having placed it in the water. On board, all the tests were correct.

We woke up in Barbate. Atlantic heat, sandy shades of colour and the large, pine green dunes. We are tied at the same port and pier that received the Ranger for the first time on Spanish land after the 2005 expedition from the U.S. city of San Diego. Wow… I’m having a déjà vu!

Following five days spent in Marseilles with the weather unsettled and the driftnetters moored and waiting for the good weather conditions that would allow them to return to their habitual robbery, we finally set sail at dawn on 18th May, bearing for Hyeres, fearing that we would again find driftnetting activity near the port. If so, we would again film the illegal fishing.

We are anchored opposite the port of L’Ille Rousse on the northern coast of Corsica. You can’t go above deck without having your toupée carried away by the wind. Since early morning, having extricated myself from the middle bunk for a change, we have been accompanied by winds of up to 80 km per hour. Luckily, they are coming from the SW which means that our anchor position is affording us an excellent protection against the swell. Today, we have had to suspend the dives we had scheduled as a result of being unable to ensure diver safety with the dinghy.

 We finally reach the Corsican coast. Today’s challenge was to use our tri-dimensional probing equipment for the first time to scan the work bottom and to chart its relief. The truth is we have been left open-mouthed on looking at how after each scan the seabed increasingly became a relief image which enabled our team to see its structure from several angles, simulating an underwater camera. It is like being able to “cut a slice of the ocean seabed and serve it at table”. We are thrilled with the machine.

 Sunday the 7th and we continue on our way here after the marvellous experience with the basking sharks. The sea was calm and the only thing worthy of note was a couple of ocean sun fish swimming close to the surface, as is their want. They tarried just long enough for us to have fitted ourselves out and prepared the film equipment to get some shots of them before deciding to return to the sea’s depths. All part of the job! Our divers have the patience of Job.