09 September 2009
Dolphins of Greece, 1-9 September
Everyone comes here for different reasons and with different expectations. I came on short notice, with little fanfare or personal preparation, but with the expectation that I have been given a rare opportunity to contribute to something greater than myself, and I leave hoping that I have not let anyone down. Seeing dolphins in their natural habitat, assisting with the research, learning and understanding more the impact of our seafood consumption and consumerism globally can be very eye opening, and challenging. This is the type of experience that has the potential to change your life, in little and in big ways. We were a small team, two volunteers and two researchers, I want to say that Joan and Aina were very patient with us, and worked very hard to ensure that the two of us had a memorable experience from start to finish. They both took good nature jokes made by me and my volunteer partner and laughed through many meals while maintaining the position of leader/teacher and kept us focused and on track to make our contribution to this fabulous research project.
Learning about the environmental challenges of the Amvrakikos Gulf has been an educational experience. Learning about dolphins has been not just educational, but exciting! While I am not a scientist and have limited skills, it is a good feeling to be able to contribute to scientific research in some small way and to help prepare a conservation management plan for these precious resources. Joan and Aina are very dedicated, knowledgeable, patient and kind. They made my time here a rewarding experience and had endless patience with my fumbling ways and many questions. They are both good instructors and committed biologists and understand how to motivate volunteers. Their good nature and sense of humour led to many good times together. They also enhanced our exploration of the areas tourists by giving us good suggestions of food, tavernas and local places to visit. The dolphin project can open one’s eyes in many ways and I hope many others have an experience as fulfilling as mine. Thank you Joan, Aina, Earthwatch and partner Marsha for a terrific experience.