Volunteering in Italy – “Ba Bene”

Posted by: Ruslana

My 2 weeks on the Dolphin and Marine Research project was incredible beyond words! This is a truly unique experience, from the places you see, the people you meet and the food you eat, it’s all just one big amazing adventure. Prepare to embark on the experience of a lifetime!

Situated in the Gulf of Naples, Ischia Island is subject to an amazing climate and picturesque scenery; think the island version of the Amalfi Coast. Tip: Arrive early so you have time to unpack and explore your home for the coming week/s.

The entire crew (researches and volunteers) came from all parts of the world, including Canada, Switzerland, France, Italy, England and America. And there was absolutely no language barrier, even if you didn’t know English all too well. Our nights were filled with laughter and the Captain’s marvelous dinners and my god you can never have too much pasta!

Some nights we would go to restaurants and pizzerias in Casamicciola, Ischia Porto and on Mt. Epomeo. It was a great way to see the island. There was always such an energetic and happy atmosphere on board and everyone was just so fascinating and lovely to talk to; you really make amazing connections. Don’t even worry about learning Italian, ba bene (a phrase you’ll most definitely learn that means “it’s alright”), you can easily learn a bit on board!

Life on board revolves around espressos, delicious traditional Italian food, hilarious conversations, memorable moments, spa treats when the weather won’t allow us to go out, cetacean sightings and so much more! The project itself was very fascinating. We learned a lot about Cetaceans and their continuous adaption to their changing habitat and how humans are impacting their existence. It really opens your mind.

Every time we went out to sea we saw something incredible. The feeling of sighting for hours on end and then in a split second catching a glance of a dolphin/whale is indescribable. Seeing the mammals in their true habitat and right in front of you makes you want to jump in the water with them! Leaving was the only upsetting part of the Dolphin and Marine Research project. It definitely called for many visits to gelaterias. But ba bene! Because I know I’ll be back soon.