Today was the first day using the remotely operated vehicle “ROV” aboard the Ranger. On the way out to the research sight, most of the crew members were sitting in the kitchen area. Ricardo stuck his head in the door and yelled “pilot whales.” I shot out to the deck. I don’t remember the last time I moved that quickly. When I got to the front of the deck I saw approximately 12 pilot whales, which were most likely long finned pilot whales. I had never seen a pilot whale before so this made quite an impression on me.
We woke up Sunday morning at sea and began preparations for the day. However due to difficulties with the underwater lights, the crane on the back of the boat, and the rough weather, the decision was made to head to port to insure that the boat was ready for the arrival of the ROV crew tomorrow. The ROV is a little mini-submarine that goes down unmanned and takes pictures underwater. It is very useful for exploring depths too deep for the divers to go.
We left Aguadulce in search of sea grass beds again today. The first dive was in the afternoon and it was very hot onboard. After the divers returned, the rest of us went for a swim to cool off. The water felt fabulous and refreshing when I first jumped in but within 5 minutes I was freezing. It’s amazing how cold ocean water is once you get offshore, even in August.
We arrived back in Aguadulce port this morning after a rough night at sea. I awoke several times to find myself bouncing up and down off of my bed.
We spent the day preparing for the next leg of our journey. This meant doing things like laundry, grocery shopping and preparing equipment. We picked up 2 new crew members; a sailor named Concha and a new cooked named Gabriel.
We sailed west overnight to Cabo de Gata. I was surprised to wake up this morning and realize that it was after 9 a.m. I stumbled up the stairs and much to my surprise; there were two new faces on board. The two new people were divers familiar with the area that would serve as guides for the day. The area we are in, Cabo de Gata, is a marine reserve that has various management zones. In some zones fishing is prohibited and in others all activity including diving is prohibited.
Hola! My name is Elizabeth Griffin and I am a Marine Wildlife Scientist from Oceana’s Washington, D.C. office. I met up with the Ranger in a small port in Southern Spain called Aguadulce on Sunday. We were in port until this morning which gave me the chance to become acquainted with the boat and the crew before we set sail. I also got to know the mosquito sharing my bunk! I was happy to have Margot, another scientist from our Washington office, here to show me the essentials, such as how to flush the toilets on the boat.
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