Coral Gardens Near Bandon, Oregon - Oceana USA
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June 23, 2011

Coral Gardens Near Bandon, Oregon

This is part of a series of posts about our Pacific Hotspots expedition. Today’s highlights: albatross and coral gardens.

 Oregon Leg, Day 3

Last night we anchored the R/V Miss Linda just north of Bandon, Oregon and two miles offshore. We woke to calm seas and high anticipation for another day of work with the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), surveying seafloor habitats. 

Steaming west about six miles offshore we crossed paths with a rapidly moving pod of dolphins and we were graced with the company of black-footed albatross and sooty shearwaters.

As the ROV descended on the first dive, we passed through a swarm of krill just before reaching the seafloor 300 feet down. At the bottom we saw a garden of colorful corals, sponges and crinoids that looked like sword ferns in an old growth forest. 

It was a great dive and we were rearing to go explore more and deeper areas. Shortly after the ROV was back on deck, I looked at Matthias, our ROV operator, and realized we had a problem with our equipment. We spent the next three hours poring over maps while Matthias heroically repaired the circuit boards in the ROV. 

The ship is our island and we have everything we need. With the ROV back to full power, we completed two more successful dives. We saw the muddy plains of the continental shelf alive with shrimp, flatfish and more crinoids. 

We found more coral and sponge gardens and yelloweye and canary rockfish seeking shelter on the crevices of boulders. Finally, we recovered some wayward research equipment floating near one of our dive sites. After calling the number on the equipment we learned they were devices for tracking fish and marine mammals as part of the Census of Marine Life that were ripped from their moorings and sent adrift by a powerful Pacific storm. 

Tomorrow we head out again for another day of adventure and ocean exploration. Stay tuned!