San Sebastian-Gomera – Spain – Europe: day 339: Dawn and Mike’s observations in the Med

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Biking total: 43 days, 1877 km, 13’400 altimeters.
Climbing total: 174 days, 3000 km, 104’451 altimeters.
Sailing total: 122 days, 3403 nm
We meet Dawn and Mike Dorsett on sailboat White Princess in the marina of Gomera. They are dive-masters and want to contribute to the TOPtoTOP-initiative. We plan to produce a submarine film for school presentations in Barbados begin of December. That’s why we are heading to Barbados end of next week. Here Dawn and Mike’s observations in the Med:
As promised, here are our observations on the Med. We spent about 15 months there & got as far as Malta & Sicily, most of our diving being around Malta as we have been diving there for 10 years.
1. An invasive fresh-water weed has taken over the whole of the sea bottom around Malta, and is reaching as far as the Balearics. Wherever it grows, all normal plant life is smothered & dies. We believe it was introduced by accident & nothing eats it.
2. While diving or sailing we were unable to find much bio-luminescence in the Med until you get within 50 miles of Gibraltar. 10 years ago it was spectacular, now its all gone.
3. The numbers of fish of all species are down, even damselfish. 10 years ago you could see huge shoals of them, now there’s just a few individuals & very few young ones. In addition, the ones we saw appeared to be undersized when compared with Atlantic damselfish and displayed some behavioral changes – we had never before seen them begging for food from divers, & they were quite aggressive about it – it appeared quite funny at the time to have a 3 inch long fish bite my finger & refuse to let go. The impression we got was that they were starving, and that may mean a serious decline in plankton levels.
4. In Sardinia we saw some beautiful bays with crystal clear water – and totally sterile – no fish at all in sight.
5. Finally, everywhere, you see rubbish floating around, usually plastic carrier bags, which decompose into particles resembling plankton & are mistaken for food by fish.
Best wishes,
Dawn and Mike Dorsett,
White Princess.
Thanks a lot Dawn and Mike!

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