22 June 2009
Delphi's Dolphins 06, 14-20 June
Since I was a child I admired cetaceans and dolphins especially. I always wanted to be a marine biologist however I did not follow my dream and became a finance analyst. Thanks to Tethys my dream became true: at least for one week in Gulf of Corinth, I could taste the life of researchers and it was the most exciting experience in my life and I definitely will try to come back next year. Having an opportunity to see dolphins in their natural environment was a great privilege and I am very glad that we were lucky to spot an amazing group of 25 striped dolphins. They were really playful and curious like kids, coming very close to boat, swimming under the boat, watching us, and they managed to splash water at us a couple of times. I was having the time of my life.
I tried not to expect too much when I came to Galaxidi. I didn’t want to be disappointed and to be honest I really had no idea what to expect. I signed up for the project as dolphins have always fascinated me even as a child and I couldn’t think of a better way of encountering them than to volunteer in research aiming to conserve them. The experience this week was much more interesting and personal than I could have imagined. Our first sighting was of 3 striped dolphins and for me that was enough to learn the importance of conserving the dolphins and above all protecting our entire environment. Also, for my own joy that sighting would have been more than enough. However we were so incredibly lucky as to come across a group of about 25 lively enthusiastic striped dolphins on Wednesday (afterwards we realised that there was also one common dolphin in the group, not so common now). To be allowed to experience their playfulness, beauty and above all freedom in these yet unspoiled surroundings was more than a dream, it was surreal. The dolphin is not a clown, was not born to perform for humans, never chose to work for the dolphinariums all over the world. It is an animal and like we humans our entitled to our freedom so are they. Hopefully someday everybody will realise this. I hope that others who volunteer will experience the same feelings and thoughts as I did and not only enjoy this wonderful time but in their own little way make a contribution to changing the way the world is heading right now. Greece was not unknown to me but on Thursday night we accompanied the team to a dinner with friends in a little Greek village. While the day turned to night, the meat was on the fire, the goats were running by and the company was great. All in all an unforgettable greek night. I couldn’t thank the team enough for the whole experience.
I was in the Gulf of Corinth dolphin project for 2 weeks and I had the best time! I was so lucky the first week and even luckier the second as I saw all three species: short beaked common dolphin, bottlenose and striped dolphins! I was lucky as we had two sightings of a group of 20-25 striped dolphins within the two weeks and I got amazing footage of the dolphins bowriding and socialising. It was an amazing trip to see them and then be able to recognise one individual that we had seen the week before!! In the second week it was a bit rough out at sea but I still enjoyed the wave hopping. Thanks to Silvia Giovanni and Aina! I had a brilliant time. I will definitely be coming back soon. Thanks guys!
How to explain? You expect to see dolphins, and it becomes reality. I had two sightings of three and 25 individuals. The group was really amazing, dolphins were coming from everywhere, looking at us, jumping, and even showing off for one of them. I really enjoyed it. But I was also curious about the lectures and help that we could give when being back at home. I liked the analysis part of the job and even if I collaborated only a few days during this project, I appreciated explanations about mission’s goals, methods and analysis given by the staff. Hope you will enjoy the results of your research!