An exciting week has finished today. The sea conditions were not ideal, and the weather forecast was unreliable but we were still able to collect good data. Thanks to the help of our German speaking group of volunteers, we sighted groups of striped dolphins, sperm whales and fin whales on our last couple of days. We were also lucky enough to have Margherita Zanardelli, Simone Panigada and their lovely daughter Viola with us as guests on our last day. Having studied fin whales for over 20 years, Margherita's and Simone’s highly trained eyes were able to spot a fin whale blow over 3 miles away! We were navigating in the pelagic area when two different kinds of blows appeared on the horizon, and we had a sperm whale and 2 fin whales feeding within a half-mile radius. As the perfect way to end the week, we celebrated the 25th birthday of our new Spanish research assistant, Maria. The boat and the whales say farewell to our other new English research assistant Joanna, who leaves after 5 weeks of committed work. We will be waiting for her to come back in 2011!
Francesca, Viridiana, Joanna and Maria (CSR Team members)
I’m not quite sure whether it was the enthusiasm of the ‘crew’, the variation within the group or the elegant beauty of the whales, we were lucky enough to see, but I can safely say that for whatever reason, this week has been the best week of my life. I have learnt so much about these animals I have adored from a distance but now I truly have a thirst for more after seeing them so close up and in their natural habitat. Thank you so much to all the people at Tethys for this magnificent opportunity and I am so thrilled to have been a part of this worthy project, and to have contributed to the conservation of these awe inspiring cetaceans. Thank you to the crew onboard the Pelagos this week for welcoming me with open arms and simply making my week as amazing as it was. All the best for the future.
One of the best boat trips I have ever taken – well organised and qualified tuition – lovely food and great company on board, plus the highlights on the last two days : the sperms and fins and dolphins we got to see- this really mesmerised me. I keep my fingers crossed for the Tethys organisation and the work for these beautiful animals—good luck and God bless.
E stato molto interessante , piacevole, ed istruttivo, Ma la cosa che mi ha colpito di più è la devozione di queste ragazze… veramente sono fantastiche, sanno mettere le persone a loro agio , parlano tante lingue, mettono allegria, sono competenti in tutto. Insomma ho passato una settimana stancante ma stupenda grazie a loro.
It was the first time for me, that I was on a boat for such a long time , so I’m very glad and thankful for these days with you. I’ve learned a lot about living on board and most importantly about the research. I will never forget the wonderful time and the sightings of the whales. They are so giant and seem to be so peaceful. As Ali said on one of the days: “now I know how big is the sea and how small are the animals”. Thank you for these wonderful days and all you did for us. I want to tell my pupils about your work and the necessity of protecting the whales of the Mediterranean Sea.
For us it was great to be on board with you and to have the possibility to see those lovely and impressing creatures called whales. The idea of combining scientific research with having lovely holidays has been fascinating for most of us – congratulations! We wish you all and the whales, of course, the very best for the future and we will keep all of you in our minds – maybe we will meet again, who knows.
Gitta, Hans & Johannes (Austria)
Was this all for real? Do the whales really exist ? Was life on the boat so strange to face? Was it so easy to live with strangers? This experience shows that all is possible if you have a fantastic team of researchers, well trained, always smiling and with the right attitude to face all difficulties. Thank you!