When arriving at Mytikas, a small fishermen village, the first sensations that you feel are the calm, the piece of mind of the places. The beauty of the landscape completely catches your attention! Even if not speaking English, charming, smiling and friendly people welcome you, trying to help you and give you advices.
While I wait for the boat that will bring me to the island of Kalamos, the other volunteers arrive one by one and we begin to chat and know each other. In the meantime, I start questioning myself and the anxiety is coming: “Why did I decide to come here? Will the atmosphere be good in the group? Did I choose the right program? For me, it is like a bet.” I will get the answers soon… I chose to be a volunteer in this program to discover how the project is managed by the researchers and what are the impacts of their surveys, to have a human-being relationship experience, and of course to see the dolphins. And now, today, I can say: “Yes the bet has been won”.
The week spent in Kalamos was really nice and unforgettable. All-important subjects of the project have been discussed and the atmosphere was really funny and friendly. The harmony in the group was real, everyone participating in the daily activities. It was really pleasant to live in Kalamos, a beautiful island untouched by mass tourism. And dolphins… it is difficult to explain what you feel when you see them, you have to live this experience to understand it. On the boat, we were like children, shouting each time we saw one of them! We tried to count them: one, two, three, four, five, six! We realized that we were surrounded by them, far away or just near the boat, and also below the boat. We participated in the data collection necessary for the survey of the researchers, which was really exciting. Then we followed the dolphins, and we were simply spectators of their life in their environment, in freedom, and tried to not disturb them. It was really fantastic and dolphins are fabulous animals.
Many thanks to the three researchers Stefano, Susanna and Mauro, passionate people engaged in cetacean research. They took the necessary time to explain us their project, their message, their work, and involve us in the activities. It was a pleasure to meet people so involved in a beautiful cause, having such interesting, exciting and useful job. They were understanding, patient and respectful. Many thanks to the volunteers: Suzanne, Bridgette, Françoise and Gabriele for their cheerfulness and discussions. Thanks to all for the good recipes and funny dinners!
Vorrei ringraziare Stefano, Susie e Mauro per l’impegno, il rispetto dell’ambiente, la professionalità e la simpatia. Nella mia seconda esperienza in Tethys il tempo (meteorologico) non è stato dalla nostra parte, ma nonostante ciò torno a casa con un’altra esperienza piena di belle sensazioni. L’ultimo giorno madre natura ci ha regalato una giornata piena di sole e l’avvistamento di numerosi delfini, davvero meraviglioso! Sarà vera la teoria dei desideri che diventano realtà soltanto se ci si crede davvero? Mi convinco sempre di più che sia vero e, in base a questa convinzione, credo che tutti coloro che lavorano e aderiscano a Tethys (e a tutte le idee e i coraggiosi progetti che valorizzano la vita) contribuiscano a un mondo migliore. Auguri a tutti, continuate così!
What did I expect from a week spent with the Ionian Dolphin Project? 1) a chance to learn about dolphins and their conservation, 2) a chance to meet new friends, 3) a chance to get involved in a research project that could benefit the environment and 4) a chance to experience a different country. Did the week fulfil these expectations? Yes and more...
We did see dolphins – although, due to weather conditions, we had to wait until the last day for a 'proper' sighting. The weather restricted our chances on the other days. But it was worth waiting for. The house is basic but comfortable. Our group got on extremely well, contributing to the team effort both in the house and on the boat. I was sad to leave at the end of the week.