02 July 2008

Cetacean experiences in the Mediterranean Sea

A large whale surfaces in the early morning on a golden sea surface. You can hear her powerful blow and smell its fishy scent. A shiver gets down your neck and you experience an unexpected sense of brotherhood with that immense animal as she dives in the deep blue waters of the Cetacean Sanctuary.

In the coastal waters of Greece, a gentle dolphin rides the bow wake of the inflatable boat. For a second he looks at you, directly in your eye. You have seen dolphins thousands of times on TV and magazines, but that single glance will stay with you forever. Getting back to the field station with the inflatable feels like riding a horse. The warm summer wind embraces you and there is nowhere else you want to be.

You meet people from different nationalities and share these experiences with them and with the researchers in charge. You see whales and dolphins, but also less popular but equally fascinating animals. Elegant jellyfish performing their endless dance, shearwaters caressing the water with the tip of their wings, little owls singing their night song. Your mind opens to an entirely new world.

The Tethys Research Institute has been studying Mediterranean whales and dolphins for two decades and has become one of the foremost research organizations working in the basin. But it is more than 'just' research. It's about the sea and how it feels to be out at sea - with the wind, the waves and all those amazing marine creatures.

Giovanni Bearzi

You can join one of the courses organized by Tethys in the Ligurian and Ionian Sea by visiting the relevant section of the Tethys web site.

No comments: