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October 7, 2009

Isla de Palomas

This morning, we brought divers to the Isla de las Palomas (Island of Doves). I stayed on the Ranger where Carlos put me on a bubble-watching mission. While diving, you breathe in air from your tank that later is exhaled to rise to the surface.

A group of four or five divers emits a steady stream of bubbles that is distinguishable between the waves. It’s pretty straightforward to keep them within sight, but like everything with the sea, this can change rapidly. During the dive, the group might stray into twos or threes and if the wind blows it can obscure the pattern of bubbles. The Ranger maintains a safe distance from the divers and we also warn away other boats.

In the afternoon, we arrive in Cartagena, a beautiful city full of quiet meandering streets. I went walking through different plazas and to shake off the heat that has clung to us the past week I drank three ice slush drinks (two lemon and one horchata). During this ramble through the city, I met several people from Morocco and ate dinner in a Moroccan restaurant.

In this part of Spain, there is an intangible sensation of the proximity to Africa. It highlights the socio-political human lines crossed by marine fish, turtles, dolphins and other animals. To follow them and document human impacts, it will be obligatory for us to also explore the African coast of the Mediterranean. Ranger’s upcoming plans include searching for illegal driftnets on the Moroccan coast.