Day 29: Heading to the ‘Alabama Alps’ - Oceana USA
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September 10, 2010

Day 29: Heading to the ‘Alabama Alps’

Senior campaign communications manager Dustin Cranor is back on board the Latitude after a short hiatus on land, and he’s here to tell you about the latest leg of the expedition in the “Alabama Alps,” an ecologically rich reef in the Gulf of Mexico. More on that below in the video with our chief scientist, Mike Hirshfield.

Here’s Dustin:

Thursday, September 9

As Will Race and the rest of our Alaskan colleagues headed back to Juneau this week, a new crew was making its way to Gulfport, Mississippi to board the Oceana Latitude.

Our next mission? Documenting seafloor habitat areas along the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico that may have been harmed by underwater oil.

During this leg, Spanish ROV operators Jose Manuel Saez and Josep Fleta will use a device to reach depths of approximately 1,500 feet and film in high-definition.

The Oceana Latitude also welcomed support divers Thierry Lannoy (France) and Jesus Molino (Spain), as well as Maribel Lopez from Oceana’s Madrid office. Dr. Michael Hirshfield has also returned to the ship. Here he is talking about this leg of the expedition:

Dr. Michael Hirshfield on Oceana Latitude Describes Deepwater ROV Research Sept. 9, 2010 from Oceana on Vimeo.


As we sailed throughout the day to an important habitat area known as “The Pinnacles” off the coast of Alabama, we passed several research vessels, including Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise and NOAA’s Pisces.

We also encountered several flocks of birds hovering above the ocean’s surface. And as any fisherman will tell you, birds diving on the surface of the water typically means there are fish nearby. This is likely a good sign for the menhaden fishermen that passed us as we were leaving Gulfport this morning.

What do you think they will find down there? Stay tuned to find out.