25 September 2010

Cetacean Sanctuary Research 18 (13-19 September)

The sea always has in store big surprises to delight the eyes of the people willing to wait and able to observe, and on board of Pelagos the people are always craving for intense moments to keep deep-down the heart. Last week, the Pelagos Sanctuary—after three sightings of sperm whales and many other of the usual striped dolphins—granted the CSR Team with the second sighting of pilot whales of the entire research season. Nino was at the hydrophone tracking two sperm whales 20 nm south of Sanremo, and the skipper, Paolo, was sitting next to him. While deciding the best route to reach the animals, on the spectrogram some atypical sounds appeared. Within a few seconds it became clear that the animals in acoustic detection were actually pilot whales. Paolo was the first to literally jump to reach the cockpit but as soon as he was up there, the observers spotted the animals not far from the boat. Almost 15 animals, divided into two small subgroups, were actively swimming all around the boat, with the three calves being the most active swimmers of the pods. After almost one hour spend with the animals the team decided that it was time to turn the bow towards the coast. The sun was setting down and the sky getting reddish. Sanremo was still far to be reached so we just enjoyed the last hours of navigation socking up the final rays of light.

Eva, Letizia, Nina and Nino (CSR Team Members)


This is the end of my second week on Pelagos and I’ve totally loved them both.  They’ve been very different weeks, but equally as enjoyable.  The whales and dolphins have be incredible, the crews have been brilliant, truly welcoming and lovely and my fellow participants have been more than I could have wished for (being cooped up in such a confined space!).  I’ve made friends that I hope I will know in years to come.  Finally thank you to Francesca, Anna, Nina, Vittorio, Nino, Eva and Letizia for making everything amazing and allowing me to join you in trying to find out more about the amazing cetaceans of the Mediterranean Sea.

Clare (UK)


What an amazing week this has been, not only have I gained valuable experience which can be used in my future career as a marine biologist. But also the great sightings that we have been fortunate to have seen have made this trip extra special! The striped dolphins, sperm whales and pilot whales all added to the trip. I think the work being done here is fantastic and hope that it makes an impact in the near future! Of course this trip would not have been possible if not for the excellent crew, who have been very hospitable, kind and helpful. Oh and the food was great too! Thanks a lot and hope to see you all again!

Victoria (UK)


Thank you, for making this trip such a great experience. For my first time seeing such amazing mammals, I really couldn’t have asked for anything more. The crew have all been fab and so welcoming and passionate about what they do. The pilot whales I would have to say were my favourite on the trip. And it was so nice seeing them with calves. I hope to have the same experiences throughout the rest of my education and for what ever comes next. Thank you!

Morgan (UK)


Coucou! So much fun on board with all of you! I couldn’t expect such an amazing week: dolphins, sperms whales, pilot whales and people were so funny!  Thank you for everything! The team was brilliant! And now the words are missing to tell how happy I was to fulfil this dream I had from so long time…

Floriane (Suisse)


Many thanks for an amazing and dream –fulfilling week . The sightings were spectacular and I thoroughly enjoyed all the lectures  - this has been an invaluable experience. All the crew were most helpful and always  willing to answer any questions. Hopefully I will be able to participate in similar experiences in the future. Thank you all very much!

Julie (UK)


Thank you all very much for this great trip, seeing sperm whales was just amazing to me! Big thanks to the crew, who did everything to make this trip special and so funny! I felt just like home on the boat.

Nora (Austria)


Great sightings and a lovely team! I have enjoyed the trip so much and if I had the slightest doubts before, now I know for sure that I want to become a whale and dolphin researcher. Thanks to everyone on board, I will not forget this week a next time I will be back for longer!

Jenny (Germany)


We really enjoyed the week of learning so much about the Mediterranean Sea and daily life of scientific work. Thanks for being so kind and the marvelous food!

Andi, Judith and Sophie (Austria)

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