Reports from the Field

Ischia 2019

Dolphin research italy

I found out about this “dolphin and whales project” through google which redirected me to the Global Nomadic webpage. The location was very practical for me as I could book a direct flight to Napoli and then it was only 20 minutes by bus to Napoli harbour and 1h30 by boat to Ischia. The ferry takes you to one end of Casamicciola harbour  and the “Jean Gab”, our scientific boat, is at the other end of the harbour (10 minutes walk).

Barbara, the head of the project had given me all the necessary information on how and when to get there. The team on board was very flexible about the hour of arrival which allowed me to drop my bag in the morning, have a bit of touristy walk, a swim and then head back for the briefing.

The boat is fantastic, very beautiful, comfortable, perfectly designed to handle the sea; and there was plenty of space for all of us. As we came back to the harbour every night, we could enjoy the bathrooms of the Marina and a hot shower every evening.

Angelo the captain is a marvellous cook, who uses only fresh ingredients and adapts to any diet.

All these elements made us feel welcome and at home so the team of volunteers and the crew bonded immediately. We are still in contact now and plan to visit each other from time to time.

We learned a lot about cetaceans in this area: the different species, how to recognize them, how they behave, interact and communicate. It was a first time experience for me to really hear dolphins and sperm whales. It was amazing.

Our main job was to take shift for observation and spotting cetaceans. We also helped another association by counting some endangered birds at sea. And we took pictures and films.

I feel this project had an impact on the conservation of the species we observed and  public awareness. Most people from the island I talked to, didn’t know their sea had such animals still living there and it made them realize that they have to be more respectful to nature, that the Mediterranean sea isn’t a dead sea and that they have a real treasure at hand. They were all very interested. The association has already managed to get part of the waters to become a sanctuary and we have seen a sperm whale that was spotted 15 years ago for the first time! All the recordings of the sounds will be analyzed in the winter and have been helping the scientists in understanding a lot about behaviour since the project started. So it is very important to continue and help this project to survive.

I would definitely recommend this project as it always feels like an incredible chance to see those beautiful animals in the wild. The island of Ischia and its surroundings are also worth the trip. The food and the atmosphere were excellent and we had a great time even when we couldn’t get at sea due to the weather. Jean Gab is also an amazing boat. The team was very welcoming and interesting. They all knew a lot and we could have discussions forever.

Whale & Dolphin Conservation in Italy


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Noelle Lascoux