“I never thought a simple google search would lead me to one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I’ve wanted to study marine biology for as long as I can remember and I figured, what better way to know for sure that this is the right path for me than to get out there and see and be apart of the work that is involved? Global Nomadic happen to be one of the first three websites I clicked on and it seemed to be the most organized as opposed to the others and boy am I glad I chose this project. Initially arriving on the island of Ishcia there was an apparent language barrier but the locals were more than happy to help assist me in finding where I needed to go. I arrived a day and a half early to the project and stayed at the Hotel Gemma. They were very accommodating considering I had not made previous arrangements for my stay. They had complimentary breakfast every morning and the gentleman working the front desk let me borrow his phone charger during my stay until I purchased the correct wall plug in piece.
Upon arriving to the Jean Gab I was greeted by the researcher, Hayley, who immediately offered me drink and food after helping me get my luggage into the boat. I was given a tour of the boat and once the rest of the volunteers arrived we were given a very informative orientation and a basis of our itinerary for the week. The first day out sailing I unfortunately got sea sick, but I was resilient and determined to gain as much from this project as possible. We ended up having a Sperm whale sighting that very day, come to find out the whale was not yet in the database! It was a perfect way to end a rough start to the day. I also participated in photo identying previous dolphin sightings as well as collected data on the the birds we saw. I firmly believe this organization is making a significant impact in their cause. There was impeccable team work amongst the volunteers.
We each took turn in cooking and cleaning. I cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for Angelos generosity and willingness to share not his boat, but his knowledge of the sea and his personal experiences. On the days we weren’t able to sail we visited the local resorts and shops as well as snorkeling in the bays around the island. Prior to this trip I had an extreme fear of boats and large bodies of water in general. I can confidently say I have defeated this fear, much of which was due to the support and encouragement of the volunteers and Hayley especially. It was bittersweet when it came time to leave but I now have full affirmation that this is a career I want to pursue and I’m looking forward to going back next year!”
By Celeste Rowe
Dolphin Research Placement in Italy