Northern Aegean Dolphin Project in Greece

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About

Support basic research on dolphin populations at the National Marine Park of Alonissos, N.Sporades, Greece.

The "Northern Aegean Dolphin Project” is a 'work for a cause' program designed and implemented by MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal. In a time of intense economic hardship, especially for NGOs in Greece, the longevity of this research project solely depends upon the subscription revenues of its participants.

Participants will have the opportunity to get actively involved in basic-research efforts and techniques in order to monitor the local dolphin populations, while attending evening training seminars, guided and assisted by MOm’s expert staff.

The project is carried out in the wider area of the National Marine Park of Alonissos, Northern Sporades (Greece), which is currently one of the largest marine protected areas in Europe (approximately 2.260 km2), hosting various marine mammal species.

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We woke up early in the morning and we started our journey on the boat so we could search for dolphins until around 3-4 in the afternoon. We ate on the boat and if we had time we went swimming. After that we had some free time and then we all gathered in the house so we could tale a look and analyze the pictures we took. In the end when we had finished with the data we took the rest of the day off...

Reviews

99%
based on 13 reviews
  • Impact 9.5
  • Support 10
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
Graham
10/10

SOMETHING SPECIAL

My brother and I had an amazing time participating in this program.
The people behind the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project are MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal it is a not-for-profit, non-governmental environmental organisation, established in 1988. MOm's mission is "the protection of the marine and coastal environment, focusing on the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal".
Here we go
It was a full week starting from breakfast in the morning with the group then down to the “ Odysseia “ boat and the adventure got under way.

I was planning to write an in-depth review then I thought actions speak louder than words.
WE HAVE BOOKED FOR 2017

Yes, I recommend this program
Rachael
9/10

Brilliant!!!!!!!

We spent everyday on board of The Odyssey, the research boat, looking out over the waves for the dorsal fins of dolphins. Once found, you get to see how they document the sighting with underwater cameras, drones, and the boat's recording equipment. Then in the evening, it was the interns job to sort out the photos taken, crop them and group them into individuals. On days when we didn't see dolphins, we would go swimming or hiking around the Sporades.The staff are really friendly and full of character, and are very willing to help. Getting to the islands are a bit expensive, but it is definitely worth it, and its wonderful to be able to support MOm!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Victoria
10/10

The Northen Aegean Dolphin Project

It was an amazing experience! I loved that we spend so much time on the boat exploring the sea. The programm is very well organised, the people working for it are very friendly and the island of Alonissos is beautiful. It's a great experience for someone who is interested in marine life!

Yes, I recommend this program
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George
10/10

An amazing, unique experience!

I went to Alonissos in late July 2015 in order to participate for 1 week in the NADP. Overall, the experience was very fulfilling and exceeded my expectations! I would highly recommend the program to anyone and especially to marine biology students! The marine park is wonderful with abundant wildlife; specifically we observed two distinct types of dolphins (several times) and even two cuvier's whales besides numerous species of rare sea birds! The MoM staff are all very nice, experienced, knowledgeable and helpful people, experts in their respective fields and have been instrumental in making this an unforgettable experience for everybody! The island of Alonissos is amazing, green and peaceful, with amazing beaches, delicious food and opportunities for activities such as scuba diving and trekking!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Maria
10/10

Northern Aegean Dolphin Project

The Northern Aegean Dolphin Project , was a great experience as I had the chance to come closer to dolphins and the opportunity to learn more about their lifes and their breeding from the staff of MOM . The program did offer a lot to the persons that took part to it . What I really remember from this is the seesight from the boat when we were seeking out for dolphins but most of all I remember the dolphins swimming aroung us and play with us like kids . It was amazing .

How can this program be improved?
Well , if I had the chance to change something it would be to last more than a week
Yes, I recommend this program
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Layla
10/10

I would love to do it again- beautiful and a lot of lovely people!

As i was planning to take part in a dolphin research programm after my diploma for about three years or more , i really couldn't wait and tried to figure out everything before the trip started :) I was happy and suprised that there was an almost new programm in the area of alonissos- an island i badly wanted to go back to since i was 12 because of it's beautiful old village and the hidden coves i once get to knew- really a wonderful location. it was absolutely worth it to wait years for this experience and i don't regret having studied zoology with the goal of environmental protection and animal conservation and maybe joining someday a beautiful organisation like MOm with so kindharted colleague and passionated scientist if i'm lucky enough.The eye of a nearby swimming, bow-riding dolphin looked me right in the eyes and it's like feeling the beauty of nature in a moment like this ! Not only that the sightings of different dolphin species, turtles, sea birds (it's also impossible to see Monk seals) and visits of islands and coves around alonissos were exciting and fullfilling- there were a lot of kind people to meet, join and go out with in the evening. The programm leader of the NADP comes up with a lot of interesting information (in lectures and anytime you have questions) about the environment and the marine mammals jn the marine park and is a sweetheart as well :) ! The captain of the boat has an amazing knowledge about the area , is fun and also protecting everybody on board getting sick. (Which is not really a problem on board) The programm is absolutely well organized and i recommend MOm and the NADP to everybody looking for an amazing experience.
Take part and enjoy this beautiful place- I loved it !

How can this program be improved?
One week is too short. The NADP broshure could mention that it is all organized for breakfast and snacks, water etc.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Bud
10/10

I WANT TO GO BACK!!

My fiance and I had a fantastic time participating in Mom's dolphin research project in the National Marine Park of Alonissos. Every day was filled with a new adventure as we searched for dolphins and whales. In addition to the research there were many unforgettable experiences. Our living accommodations, meals, historic sights, swimming in secluded coves with warm crystal clear water, and expert staff made this an experience we will never forget.

Highlights include learning about the various dolphins and whales that inhabit the region, observing bow-riding dolphins while aboard the research vessel and sighting rare and elusive Cuvier's beaked whales.

The NADP is a very worthy project and the information they collect will help in the future protection and conservation of the dolphins and whales occurring the region. I give the project my highest recommendation and encourage participation for an extremely rewarding experience.

Finally, I want to give special thanks to Niki, the project leader, for her expert guidance in all aspects of the work and to Costas the highly skilled skipper of the research vessel.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Alexandra
10/10

Northern Aegean Dolphin Project, Greece

Participating to the NADP was an almost religious experience just by thinking that i may belong to the last generation that will be able to see dolphins free in their natural hapitat. This was not the first time that i was working with MOm and i knew in advance the quality of their work.
In September 2013, i embarked on the "Odysseia" boat and the adventure around the National Marine Park of Alonnisos-Northern Sporades began.
For a whole week, we would record various and rare species of animals that shelter around the Marine Park, its islands and islets. During this time i was fortunate to come across with almost every species of dolphins that exist in the Mediterranean sea. Lovely vegetarian food and a captain telling us stories on how a seaman's life was in the past complemented our breaks.
After getting a special permission we had the chance to visit natural reserve areas and dive into crystal clear waters observing the sea-life at the see bed in places where no human intervention existed.
In the evening we would attend seminars with a Marine Biologist and our dedicated supervisor Androniki Pardalou at the Information Center of MOm.
After a long day of observation and seminars, the Greek night life followed which would include greek restaurants with live music, concerts, traditional fiestas and bars. We would go out with the whole team to taste traditional dishes and drinks and then for dancing at the beach bars.
Joining the project was a fantastic experience that i would definitely love to do again.

How can this program be improved?
I would add a really really young member in the boat crew for the next years ;)
Yes, I recommend this program
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Georgia
10/10

Experience of a lifetime!

My participation in the NADP program was a really challenging task from the beginning as I did my internship there - and I believe I made the best choice. Through this program I felt that I have contributed to the dolphins' better future. I have learnt a lot about those sweet animals, the beautiful area of the marine park and the island of Alonissos.
The highlight for me was every first time we spotted an animal, either it was a dolphin or anything else. The enthusiasm was so great from all the people of the group! I was lucky enough to see the world's rarest pinniped, the mediterranean monk seal, in its natural habitat. And not only that, but we spotted a plenty of other sea animals during our researching trips, such as sea turtles, rare sea birds, tuna fish...it was magical! A few people have such a chance. One of the strongest feelings left in the end is that you have been able to come in touch with the nature and feel part of it...But there was not only the scientific work that I enjoyed but also the communication and the connection with other people of the group, for example while eating all together on the boat.
I could go on for hours telling about the beautiful experiences that I have gained, but I believe anyone should just go and live them himself!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Despina
10/10

Amazing Experience!

Amazing!It was a week full of surprises!On board every day with great people and great feelings searching and studing about dolphins!To feel part of the team even for a week and helping was the best thing!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Deborah
10/10

Amazing Adventure!

My fiancee and I had an amazing time this past September participating in this program.

This was truly a trip of a lifetime and I was unprepared for the richness the program offered us in the week we were there. Our leader was thorough, organized and an excellent communicator and every day was truly a new adventure.

The island we stayed on was beautiful and our daily excursions were full of adventure and learning.

I highly recommend this if you are looking for a way to learn about wildlife conservation, stay in an awesome place and spend your days as part of a team making a difference in the world.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Mirka
10/10

I dint want to leave!!

I dint want to leave!! I had a wondeful time and I was able to witness the first live sighting of a Cuvier's Beacked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris), of two different animals, in the same day! Every time I think of that moment I still get a chill and a small adrenaline rush....

The whole experience was incredible from the first moment we met the smiley faces of the researchers and the other volunteers who made us feel at home until the fare well at the end of this amazing journey!

The whole program was very well organized and the research team was very helpful and patient with us newbies. They explained everything in detail so we were able to understand the purpose of this project, what they are looking for, the methods they use and what we were supposed to do! In the mornings we would go out looking for dolphins and in the afternoon we were given presentations and talks. There was also enough time for us to rest, swim, eat, go out at night and discover Allonissos without compromising the project!

Thank you Mom and all the people from the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project for this opportunity!

How can this program be improved?
I found 1 week was a very short because by the time we got the hang of the whole experience we had to leave!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Aline
10/10

My beautiful experience with MOm

By participating in the dolphin census project in the northern Aegean Sea, I could reconnect with an aspiration I have had since I was a child : marine biology. In a gorgeous setting I had the opportunity to accompany biologists in the field, follow their work methods and feel their passion for their research topic: the beautiful marine fauna of the region. The great professionalism and personal commitment I met at all levels of MOm's work impressed me: at the scientific level (project conception, data collection and processing), in the communication work and the awareness-raising, the inventiveness at fundraising and the conviction of the volunteers from a variety of backgrounds.

The fieldwork consisted in systematically sailing around and scanning the horizon to locate dolphins. When we met some of them, their exact positions and the constitution of the group were identified and each individual was photographed, if possible from both flanks. After a few hours at sea, work continued in MOm's office: I helped sort the pictures we made at sea and match the left and right flanks of each individual to begin with the database that would allow getting a precise picture of the mediterranean dolphin populations situation and developing conservation strategies. The combination of fieldwork and data processing gave me a good understanding of MOm's work. Furthermore, I received explanations and got to see movies about the broader ecological conditions and about the socio-economic reasons underlying this situation. Thus a very comprehensive approach.

Last but not least: I had a great time discovering not only the beautiful island of Alonissos, with its old village, its beautiful beaches, its breathtaking views and its surroundings, but also a very welcoming, warm-hearted and open people. MOms collaborators, very friendly, showed me around the place and introduced me to the local nightlife and delicious food ;). I even had the chance to discover a little bit of Athens with them.

MOm's work and the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project are awesome and I can only encourage you to support them with your participation or a financial support !

How can this program be improved?
Well, I would not change anything in the program itself, but its costs plus the travel costs make it difficult for me to repeat the experience as often as I would like.
Yes, I recommend this program

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About MOm

MOm/The Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal (www.mom.gr) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental environmental organisation, established in 1988. MOm's mission is "the protection of the marine and coastal environment,...