Posted by: luisginillo | April 14, 2013

TORTUGA! TORTUGA!

WOW. We got back to Torrevieja yesterday evening after two days out at sea and what a couple of days they have been. Success came when at last we had calm weather in a high turtle density area.

At sunrise on Saturday we were already well on our way towards a sea mount (an underwater mountain) of known high turtle density five hours sailing from port. After not finding any turtles despite perfect flat calm conditions in the morning, we thought that we were out of luck as the wind began to strengthen in the afternoon. Yet at last, we came across four loggerhead turtles. We successfully deployed National Geographic´s Crittermcams and took skin and blood samples from both. The Crittercams take high definition video footage from behind the head of the turtle allowing us to study its behaviour and interactions with other species. The Crittercams are also able to take depth and temperature measurements. The mechanisms are ingeniously designed so that they can be programmed to release after a specific amount of time, in our case four to five hours, leaving the turtle to continue on its journey.

The last few days have been a fantastic success. The dogged persistence and unstoppable enthusiam of the crew (not to mention the many hours of hardwork) paid off. We can´t wait to see what the first Crittercams deployed on turtles in the Mediterranean will reveal about their life underwater.

Our tradition: sunrise to the sound of the overly catchy Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack being played at high volume on the loudspeakers throughout the ship.

Our tradition: sunrise to the sound of the overly catchy Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack being played at high volume on the loudspeakers throughout the ship.

Mirror-flat waters - a more than welcome sight!

Mirror-flat waters – a more than welcome sight!

Ana, our top turtle spotter, on mast lookout.

Ana, our top turtle spotter, on mast lookout.

TORTUGA! Ricardo and Jeppe go out on the RIB to catch the turtle and bring it back on board.

TORTUGA! Ricardo and Jeppe go out on the RIB to catch the turtle and bring it back on board.

Livio, our first turtle of the day.

Livio, our first turtle of the day.

Our second turtle, Ella, named after Ella Maillart - an inspirational Swizz explorer and olympic sailor.

Our second turtle, Ella, remaining quiet and calm. She is named after Ella Maillart, an inspirational Swizz explorer and olympic sailor.

Francoise and Ricardo work efficiently and quickly together to take the samples.

Francoise and Ricardo work efficiently and quickly together to take the samples.

Both skin and blood samples are taken.

Both skin and blood samples are taken.

The samples are placed into liquid nitrogen for storage.

The samples are placed into liquid nitrogen for storage.

Christian gets some upclose footage for HYDRA.

Christian gets some upclose footage for HYDRA.

Ricardo is hoisted up the mast for lookout.

Ricardo is hoisted up the mast for lookout.

Dolphin sightings were also recorded.

Dolphin sightings were also recorded.

The underwater sea mount shown on the ship's GPS.

The underwater sea mount shown on the ship’s GPS.

A screen shot from Christian's underwater footage of Livio.

A screen shot from Christian’s underwater footage of Livio.

 

 

 

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