Our day kicks off at 00:00 hours when we begin our 12-hour night shift. Our nocturnal team includes resident bird expert and survey ‘rookie’ Graeme, who is on his first trip, and scientist-cum-musician Megan, whose soon to be released marine concept EP has been inspired by her time at sea. The day shift takes over the reins at midday, with keen knitter Becca who, when not working, can knock up a whole pair of mittens in a few hours and fisheries man Declan, who lends a sense of gravitas to proceedings with his recently acquired beard.
We spend most of our time in a small shipping container which houses a baffling (to the untrained eye) array of computer monitors, cables, buttons and switches. Here we control the video feed, lights and lasers to our underwater camera system, view the live footage as the camera moves along the seabed, and take notes. We are assisted by the ship’s crew who deploy and recover the gear, and the knowledgeable Marine Scotland Science engineers who help with all things technical.
|Many many monitors...
|A gannet on the wing
We have recorded sponges at sites where they have been known to occur in the past. We have found cup-shaped ‘flabellate’ sponges that are likely to be the species Axinella infundibuliformis, which look like prawn crackers.
|Two flabellate sponges either side of a blue encrusting sponge
Another common species is one we believe to be the ‘papillate’ sponge Polymastia boletiformis, otherwise known as the hedgehog sponge due to its spiky texture.
|A yellow papillate sponge alongside an orange encrusting spongey friend
More news and life on the Scotia to arrive shortly...