11 May 2011

Dolphins of Greece volunteers, 4-11 May 2011

My thoughts immediately turn to what a difference my life will be from this point forward. Having said that, sharing knowledge on how to make a difference in the lives of other inhabitants of our planet earth. Joan is a pivotal tipping point, his mission to draw attention to the daily lives of these beautiful creatures is one thing, his desire to limit the impact of possible disruptions to our environment, on purpose or by accident are things everyone should consider to be a priority. The research brings you to the door, and the dolphins invite you to come on in and have some fun. Life is good. The closeness of the experience allows eye contact, the chance to smell dolphin breath, and view visual social  interactions. The research facility is very comfortable, and attractive. The city of Vonitsa is not the least bit intimidating, surrounded by beautiful hills, and a fabulous waterfront. My favourite interaction was observing the cooperative efforts by the dolphins, to make bubbles trap the fish and proceed to feast on the prey, unforgettable. Thank you  Joan, Miriam, Lauren, Ellen, Darlene, the best dolphin researchers ever!

Bob (USA)


Well, this past week has been quite an experience for me.  The amount of information we received was incredible.  I feel I have been living in a tunnel with my lack of specific knowledge about the ocean's overfishing and other concerns.  Being able to take part in this research and observe the dolphins in their natural environment, the companionship of our group, and of course, "Posi" who helped to provide my dog fix while away from my own companions all contributed to the quality of the stay. Earthwatch and Tethys are awesome organizations. I promise to work hard to spread the word to others.  

Joan has an incredible passion for the dolphins and the marine environment which he shares with us very well. Enriching the lives where we live about what I have learned will be my next project when I return home. Thank you all very much Joan, Miriam, Lauren, Ellen and, of course, photographer, Bob for enriching my life.  The laughter will not be forgotten.

Darlene (USA)


The experience of the week here in Vonitsa was amazing, highlighted by numerous unforgettable dolphin observations. Getting up each morning to the sun shining over the Gulf with a promise of studying such magnificent mammals was exciting and something we looked forward to each day. The weather was fabulous and the dolphins provided a variety of encounters from bow riding to resting to frenzied feeding – we were able to observe their natural behaviours on their terms without disruption. At the end of the transits the trip back to port with the castle as a landmark to guide us never lost its appeal.

Back at the loft learning how to crop, match and identify the dolphins we spotted provided insight into the population and the ongoing research by Joan and his teams. Joan’s presentations in the late afternoon prompted us with numerous questions and provided a global awareness of the fishing industry and the impact of the decisions we make as consumers. His enthusiasm was contagious amongst the team, with us often asking him questions all at once. Outside of the project hours, time spent relaxing at the local cafĂ©, walking around the small town of Vonitsa, discovering the castle, exploring the small island nearby and taking in the shoreline added to the week. Aside from the dolphins sightings the laughter shared at supper will be most fondly remembered.

Special thanks to Joan and Miriam for their hospitality, guidance and for sharing their passion for cetaceans. As a teacher and a biologist, we will take what we have learned and share it with our families, students and colleagues in a small effort to continue the work of conserving the ocean’s precious resources.

Lauren and Ellen (Canada)

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