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May 23, 2006

L’Ille Rousse at 46 knots ahead

BY: maureen

May 9, 2006

We are anchored opposite the port of L’Ille Rousse on the northern coast of Corsica. You can’t go above deck without having your toupée carried away by the wind. Since early morning, having extricated myself from the middle bunk for a change, we have been accompanied by winds of up to 80 km per hour. Luckily, they are coming from the SW which means that our anchor position is affording us an excellent protection against the swell. Today, we have had to suspend the dives we had scheduled as a result of being unable to ensure diver safety with the dinghy. A wind like this makes it unmanageable, not to mention a sure-fire accident risk. It is also not a very good idea to go ashore for the time being. We’ll wait until it calms down a little.

Sunday the 7th and we continue on our way here after the marvellous experience with the basking sharks. The sea was calm and the only thing worthy of note was a couple of ocean sun fish swimming close to the surface, as is their want. They tarried just long enough for us to have fitted ourselves out and prepared the film equipment to get some shots of them before deciding to return to the sea’s depths. All part of the job! Our divers have the patience of Job. They take it all in their stride, have a laugh, and then proceed to divest themselves of the diving suits and to pack up the equipment and to…”wait for the next chance, mon ami!”

Carlos Pérez–Anchored opposite the port of L’Ille Rousse in Corsica

Monday the 8th we finally reach the Corsican coast. Today’s challenge was to use our tri-dimensional probing equipment for the first time to scan the work bottom and to chart its relief. The truth is we have been left open-mouthed on looking at how after each scan the seabed increasingly became a relief image which enabled our team to see its structure from several angles, simulating an underwater camera. It is like being able to “cut a slice of the ocean seabed and serve it at table”. We are thrilled with the machine. We’ll get to know and handle it better with use.

After exploring the seabed we decided to drop anchor where we were. We then put the frogmen into the dinghy, camera at the ready, and left them free to explore the area with the aim of documenting it. On their return they told us how impressed they had been by the beauty of the undulating submarine scenery.

Well, that’s it. Here we are. The gusts are now caressing us at a hearty 50 knots, which is about 95 km per hour…God Almighty! To think I could be at home, warm and snug in front of the box!

Carlos Pérez–Anchored opposite the port of L’Ille Rousse in Corsica