Monday I met up with Kimberley the other volunteer from the UK . She is originally from Canada but teaches in a school in London . We take our five and a half hour bus journey to Vonitsa, the weather here is very hot Tuesday We met the rest of our team of five on the beach at 2pm, there are two ladies, Lynne and Christine both from New York , and Shotaro, a young man from Japan , who is studying to become a vet. Our team leaders Joan, pronounced Jewon and Ioannis pronounced Yannis. We have our first briefing, where Joan tells us that tomorrow we are going to Kalamos an area which used to have bottlenose dolphins, but sightings had been very rare in the past few years in this area. We are shown the recording sheets where information has to be recorded on as we spot dolphins. For example we have to note the time, group form whether the groups is tightly formed, loosely formed, disbursed, widely disbursed. How big the cluster is, the surf mode and direction the dolphins are swimming. We also have another form to complete about the fish farm area if dolphins are also in that area and their behavior. Wednesday, first day out on the boat We had to be up really early this morning to leave our base at 7am. The seven of us drove for an hour to Kalamos keeping along the shore line. The weather was already very warm. We passed a collection of bee hives by the road side. We had tasted Greek orange honey yesterday with our yoghurt it was delicious. We all boarded the inflatable boat we had to sit on the sides and hold onto the ropes especially when the boat was going very fast. We were all given our positive position, which means to keep watch for dolphins. The bow of the boat is 12 o’clock and then people were given areas to be on watch, so to start off with I was between 9 and 12 o’clock. We were told to shout out our coordinates and distance very loudly as soon as we spotted anything. We had been going for just one hour when Shotaro caught sight of a group of striped dolphins, we were all so excited, there were between 15 and 20 all swimming in front of us. Joan told us that these types of dolphins have only been spotted twice in this region in the last 20 years We then had to record how they were performing, arial – jumping full body out of the water, socializing – touching and rubbing together and percussive where only part of the body is out of the water. The most exciting part was where they were Bow Riding this is where they come along side of the boat as if they are swimming with you, and then they would show off by jumping in the air as if to say “look at me!” Joan was delighted with this spotting as it was very rare, let’s see what our luck is like tomorrow! Have a look at these two photos Joan has taken today of us,as part of Tethys research. The first one is of Kimberley, me and Ioannis, the other volunteers and Joan are behind us. I will post some more news and pictures tomorrow.
See the short video I took of the dolphins as they came along side of us - it was wonderful!!