"The" Mediterranean spot to see fin whales, sperm whales and dolphins: Tethys’ study cruises in the Ligurian sea
How can you get involved in the protection of our seas and meet whales and dolphins in their natural environment? By embarking upon an unforgettable holiday alongside researchers who study marine mammals in the Mediterranean Sea.
Among all of the environments that Man interacts with, the ocean is the one that eludes our control the most. It is so vast that we are under the false impression that nothing may threaten it. However, that is not the case: the marine environment increasingly needs to be protected if we want our planet to have a future. Many of us would like to do something to help protect and conserve the oceans.
Whales and dolphins are at the top of the marine food chain, and as such they can significantly inform us about the health state of the oceans. This is particularly true of the Mediterranean: relatively small, closed, and with the most populated coastline in the world, it forms the perfect observatory of the marine ecosystem.
By committing to learn ever more about cetaceans, we can truly protect both their, and our, environment. This has been Tethys’ ‘philosophy’ for over 25 years, since their first scientific cruises were launched to research fin whales, sperm whales and dolphins. The Institute’s efforts have yielded scientific results, conservation measures, and public awareness.
It was on the basis of the data collected by Tethys that the Pelagos Sanctuary was established - the first marine protected area of its kind for the protection of marine mammals at an international level. Yet a lot remains to be done, and that is why this year the Institute will again carry out its research cruises in the Ligurian sea. These cruises are open to volunteers, who year after year have become ambassadors of The Sanctuary and our work, spreading the word to ocean enthusiasts around the world.
The field season runs from 14th May to 30th September, and the cruises take place on board our 21-meter motorsailer “Pelagos”, which focus on a significant zone of the Mediterranean for cetaceans. Participation does not require particular competences. The volunteers’ help is crucial in assisting our researchers with data collection.
The participation fee (€840 to €940 according to the period) funds the various activities undertaken, and special discounts are available for students, who may use this experience as educational credits (to be defined with their educational institution). Some weeks are also entirely dedicated to students (find out more by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org).
In short, this is an extraordinary experience for whoever loves the sea. It is a holiday in nature that does not require particular skills, only enthusiasm, team spirit, and a desire to engage with marine mammals and their conservation. It also represents a precious experience for students, enabling them to be in contact with expert biologists and sophisticated research equipment.
For further details see Tethys' dedicated website