[editor’s note, by sandy]: This entry was written on Thursday, April 21. It has been translated from the Spanish.
(c) Oceana / ZOEA
8:00 a.m. The crew is ready to begin the day. We have to move the Oceana Ranger to the site where the press conference will be held, at Bayside Miamarina (right in the center of Miami, the immense Latin metropolis of the United States where if you don’t speak Castilian it almost seems strange). The port captain, Juan Ginarte, comes by to guide us there. With us is Doralisa Pilarte, Director of Communications for Oceana North America, who has organized this meeting with the press.
10:00 a.m. During the press conference Carlos Pérez, first mate of the Ranger, and Ricardo Aguilar, Director of Research, both speak. I wait until the end to refer the journalists to Ann Compton, because of the special importance her presence aboard the Ranger has for Oceana. Without Annie and her husband Stephen McAllister, member of Oceana’s Board of Directors, the Expedition from the Pacific to the Mediterranean would not have been possible. Or at least not so soon.
Annie and Mac
They are the owners of the catamaran which they have so generously put at Oceana’s disposal. McAllister (who knew Xavier Pastor from earlier projects and work in defense of the marine environment) mentioned that he had a boat and wanted to give it to Oceana. Xavier, of course, seized the day. Hardly a year after their first conversation, the Ranger is a dream become reality, with twelve crew on board, of many nationalities and many talents. We are biologists, telecommunications engineers, photographers and videographers, divers, journalists… The ocean is our life. And when we are not on the boat, we are in Oceana’s offices, driving projects to guarantee effective protection of the seas.
Taimy, the cave diver
Among the press that come to see the Ranger off is a camera from Miami’s Channel 10, as well as journalists from the Miami Herald and the Florida Sun-Sentinel, accompanied by a photographer. Taimy Alvarez, the Sun-Sentinel photographer, stays to talk with us for a moment. “It’s sad to see the change in the oceans between the time I was young and now,” she said. “Before there were many more fish.” The daughter of Cubans who relocated to Miami, she knows what she’s talking about, since “my father is a fisherman, he named me after the movie `Taimy, the sailor’s daughter'” and, besides, since it couldn’t be otherwise, she’s a diver. She dives with her husband in the caves of northern Florida, “where only one percent of the world’s divers are licensed to go, trained by the National Speleological Society.”
While the photographers shoot, all standing on the catamaran’s starboard deck, I can’t get over how amazing it is that Oceana is working on a global scale to protect and conserve our oceans. Because while the Ranger expedition crew are talking with the American journalists, our colleague Cheryl Haro arrives from Oceana’s office in Santiago, Chile, where the Board of Directors has just met to design the organization’s next projects. And we are all thinking of our colleagues in Europe who, just a few hours ago, opened the International Symposium on Oceans in Madrid – thanks to the cooperation of the Fundación Ramón Areces – a two-day gathering of distinguished marine experts. Among them, of course, will be Michael Hirshfield, Chief Scientist for Oceana.
We think of all of this with great satisfaction, because what we are telling the journalists on either side of the Atlantic is connected. Only one example: the lecture given by Professor Bernd Christiansen, of the University of Hamburg, will focus on underwater mountains (seamounts); and in a month and a half, if we stick to our current plans, the Ranger divers will be filming and photographing the flora and fauna of the seamounts of Gorringe Ridge, southeast of the Iberian Peninsula.
7:00 p.m. Goodbye to Miami. The Oceana Ranger sets sail from Bayside Miamarina, headed for Bimini Island in the Bahamas. We will be sailing through the night, will arrive tomorrow, Friday the 22nd, at dawn. And in the early morning Oceana’s divers will return to the water once again. The Transoceanic Expedition resumes its work, as captain Nuño says.