Live aboard a famous historic boat and assist with important dolphin data collection as you sail along the Italian coastline! This project has been operating since 1991 and it directly contributed to the establishment of the marine protected area known as Neptune’s Kingdom. The main focus of the project is to collect data which can create an accurate picture of the cetaceans’ life including population sizes, social structures of the populations, habitat use and distribution and the acoustic repertoire of the animals. The project also evaluates the impact of the operations of local fisheries and vessel traffic upon the ecosystem.
In addition to its scientific goals, the project promotes education and awareness activities for the public, publishes its results to the scientific community and aims to improve the conservation efforts in the area.
What's not Included
Ischia, often called the “Green Island” because of its lush flora and fauna, is located in the Gulf of Naples and is a volcanic island. The island’s 46 square kilometers are home to about 60,000 people. Many tourists flock to Ischia to enjoy the therapeutic healing offered by the abundant, natural thermal springs and thermal mud. The region is a feeding and breeding ground for fin whales, striped dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and sperm whales and it is also considered a critical habitat for short-beaked dolphins.
Volunteers will be involved in every aspect of this project and will work very closely with the captain and crew. This is a very serious research project. Participants should be prepared to learn about the research methods used by the team and assist with data collection as well as sailing the boat and helping with cooking and cleaning duties.
Weather permitting, volunteers will be out at sea every day and will work in one hour shifts to spot dolphins and whales as well as sea turtles, manta rays, sword fish, tunas, large schools of fish and sea birds. Once there is a sighting, everyone on the boat will have a job to do. This will include:
- Filming the dolphins using a GoPro camera underwater but also to monitor surface behavior
- Recording behavioral data
- Recording bioacoustics through the boat’s underwater microphones
- Photographing the animals for identification purposes
- Steering the boat
In the event that weather conditions prevent the boat from sailing, volunteers may assist with data entry and analysis, attend lectures given by the research team or explore on the island.
Please note: Activities take place in the wild and that the animals behavior is unpredictable, therefore cetaceans sightings are not always guaranteed.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
- Minimum age of 16
- Good physical health
- Comfortable in hot weather
- Comfortable on a boat
- Good level of English
- Highly adaptable
Volunteers can choose to have one day off per week which can be used to relax on the sandy beaches, see the sights of the island or indulge at one of the natural thermal pools.
Some popular activities include:
- Visiting the old village of Ischia Ponte and the Aragonese Castle
- Hiking to the top of Mount Epomeo
- Visiting the other islands including Procida and Capri
- Going scuba diving.