Dolphins of Greece volunteers, 29 May-4June 2011

Wonderful experience.  Each day was different and special.  The first day we saw up to 50-60 total dolphins; a wonderful way to begin.  The second day we saw only 2 but got to stay with them for about 2 hours to see a large variety of behaviors.  The last day was special as we left the Gulf and got the rare opportunity to watch the behavior of 3 common dolphins, which is very rare because this species has almost vanished from its former paradise. This experience was very special for me. I have been on three other cetacean studies and this one had by far the most intimate and longest encounters allowing me to observe a wide diversity of behaviors.  Thank you for a great experience and good luck with the rest of the project.  I will continue to spread the word!

Seena (USA)

Hola Joan! Thank you for an amazing experience, I think you are doing a very important work and I am glad I got to be a part of it, even for just 8 days. I’m sad to be leaving so soon. I feel like I am at a important point in my life (just graduated from college) and I really have no idea what to do with my future. I think this experience has given me a little direction, mainly confirming that I want to support and promote conservation of the ocean and all the creatures that live in it. It’s so easy in NYC to forget how closely people depend on the ocean to survive and make a living in an area that is suffering directly from the neglect we show towards our oceans. This was a unique and eye-opening experience. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and depressed when considering what we have done and continue to do to the planet, but to see so many dolphins still in the wild and to see that the scientists who are studying them are hopeful is kind of reassuring. We still have a long way to go so keep up the good work! thanks for letting me be a part of it, I had an incredible time.

Alex (USA)

Another Earthwatch completed for me, but this one has been especially meaningful due to the dedication, knowledge and skill of you, Joan. Your concern for the future of the dolphins was obvious and rare in our world of self-interest, greed and unconcern for the future of the planet. Fortunately, you, and like individuals, may be able to provide the scientific information and informed leadership to save, not only these marvellous mammals, but also, man himself. I try to be hopeful. The careful planning and detail of the program allowed me to experience a unique interaction with the dolphins. The thrill of observing these animals in their natural environment was exhilarating. The identification of various individuals provided me the opportunity to be more observant of specific characteristics. The informative aspects of the week allowed for in-depth discussions among the participants. In addition, it was great fun. I hope that necessary funding and support continue to come to Vonitsa and your dolphin project; best wishes for the future.

Jerry (USA)

About Joan Gonzalvo

Joan Gonzalvo is the project manager and scientific coordinator of the Ionian Dolphin Project. He is a Catalan biologist whose main research interest is the conservation of the marine environment and, more specifically, the study and conservation of cetaceans.

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