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Canary Islands : 230 ft below surface, the most amazing gorgonian gardens in the world

By : Rafa Herrero | Duration : 5min 28sec | Channel : Special Features
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The video starts this way « In the 21st Century, we still don’t know what lies beneath the surface of the sea”…
Discovered about ten years ago off the north shore of Lanzarote Island in the Spanish Archipelago of the Canary, the dive site name “El Bajo de Las Gerardias” is an underwater mountain going from 230 ft. to 90 ft. deep. It was almost unexplored until the director Rafa Herrero and his team (Dr Roger Herrera, researcher and photographer, Oscar Ocaña, coral world specialist, Jordi Chias, famous underwater photographer, Javier Parrondo, lighting engineer, Simon Butler, technical diving expert, and Dr Alberto Brito, PhD in biology and adviser) decided to go on a 2 week underwater expedition in October 2009, thanks to rebreather technology allowing deep diving and the support of the Mapfre Guarnarteme Foundation.
The site is profusely covered in gorgonians. These underwater « bushes » are not plants but colonies of tiny animals (the polyps) close to the jellyfish family and « stuck » to a mineral « skeleton ». What Rafa Herrero team discovered is what scientists agree to consider to be the biggest concentration of Gerardia Savaglia in the world. This species is an Anthozoa (its scientific name) that is uncommon at these « shallow » depths, and that grows into tree-like colonies with yellow polyps, measuring more than 3 ft. It is rare to see it as it usually lives deeper (down to 400 ft.). Gerardia Savaglia is a registered protected species according to the Annex II of the Bern Convention

We must applaud the talent and the ingenuity of Rafa Herrero who had the idea of this incredible expedition. This underwater video is pure art! Thank you, Rafa!

© Rafa Herrero Massieu  / with the support of the Mapfre Guarnarteme Foundation