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Blog Posts by: María José Cornax

Today we will stay at port in Rota. There is a windstorm in the Straits of Gibraltar, and we'll have to wait for the weather to improve in order to cross over to the Balearic Islands. We must prepare the boat today and reorganise all the information we’ve obtained during the week, prepare the documents to send to Madrid and, in short, draw some conclusions.

We practically haven't slept at all. The dive with the ROV was impressive, in spite of the fact that it was in shallow water, we spent three hours observing the nocturnal feeding habits of squid and cuttlefish, and the dark shadows of the predators hunting the small fish attracted to us by the lights.

For days we’ve been seeing what we believe to be Cymodocea nodosa floating in the water. Its presence off the coasts of Huelva was documented for the first time in the delta of the Piedras River, in March of this year. We believe there must be more areas where meadows of this seagrass can be found. We ask Ricardo and he gives us some coordinates he has obtained from satellite images.

Today, we wanted to finish mapping the area where we found the gorgonians in order to delimit it and prepare a proposal for its protection. But, when we reached the waypoint, our hearts were literally broken in two… Two trawlers were fishing atop the sea beds we had documented the day before. The Nuevo Panchita and the Abuelo Pichin were illegally trawling their nets at approximately 23 meters depth and at less than 6 miles from the coast.

Today, no one had hopes of finding anything “exceptional” on the sea bed. After 5 months of campaigning, the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean and the marvellous ecosystems we’ve observed, it's difficult to make everyone understand the importance of these waters and their riches.

Today, we set sail from Rota at 6:30 in the morning in order to sample some sandstone located between Matalascañas and Mazagón where we suspect there may be gorgonians. Juan Carlos Calvín disembarked today and tonight we will return early to port to pick up the photographer who will take his place, Juan Cuetos.

I never thought I would go back to working on the Ranger in Andalusia, much less so in Huelva. It’s a strange feeling to see a place you are so close to from such a different perspective. This morning we set out from the port of Rota and headed for the mouth of the Guadalquivir to document the sea bed in the area of the National Park of Doñana with the ROV and the divers, but with poor expectations owing to the visibility conditions the area offers.