Reports from the Field

Italy Whale and Dolphin conservation internship

I found out about Global Nomadic unexpectedly while looking for an internship opportunity online. I have been studying Marine biology and was looking for an organisation that could provide me with hands on experience and valued work amongst professionals. This is exactly what I have found with the whale & dolphin conservation project and so much more. The crew comprises of a handful of people on board a historical sailboat called ‘Jean Gab’ , it is of high value to the crew and it becomes a member of the team as soon as you step foot on deck. There is lots of opportunities to learn and get involved such as learning how to put up the sail or if you’re more interested in the science behind the research you can be analysing acoustic data collected from PAMguard software. This data is given to universities and independent researchers to use for their projects, it consists of clicks and whistles of whales and dolphins found at sea. You will learn to recognise the different sounds you hear from the spectrogram and learn how to use it to identify which direction the animal could be found. This makes it a lot easier to pin point a sighting location, HOWEVER you will not always get to see the animals as it is out of the hands of the crew to guarantee that the animals will show themselves so you just have to be patient and trust the process. Data is constantly collected and year by year more papers are being released based on this data assessing the conservation status and impacts of anthropogenic factors on marine life in the Mediterranean. The hope is to restore and conserve the Mediterranean to allow marine life such as whales and dolphins to thrive.

Life on deck is not for everyone, it is hard work but it is also very rewarding. The accomodation is underneath the deck in bunk beds, there are currently 4 available so you and the other participants are in the same room together, the captain has his own room. There are 2 small toilets on deck which can be difficult to use especially when out at sea and you walk around like jack sparrow swaying from side to side trying not to topple over. There are toilets and showers at the port which you will return to every night for dinner, so you can have a hot or cold shower. Daily chores are split amongst the crew such as sweeping, cleaning the toilet, cleaning the dishes. The captain always prepared lunch and dinner so you don’t have to worry about cooking, if you are vegetarian or there are certain foods that you would not like there is no guarantee that something will be prepared, but you will be able to make something for yourself. There is a wholesome atmosphere at dinner time after a long day where everyone sits down at a table and eats together. Sometimes the crew will invite some of their friends to eat with us and we can all exchange stories or attempt to learn a new language! There are people coming for this project all over the world so you can get to know many different kinds of people and make memories that will last you a lifetime. You get free time to explore the island and sometimes the captain will take you out snorkelling or swimming in one of the bays of the island. I would recommend this project to anyone with an interest in marine life, a student looking for extra experience or an opportunity to experience life on a boat and being a part of the crew.


Italy: Whale & Dolphin Conservation


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Patrycja Glaz