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A thank you note for our N.A.D.P. supporters

NADP2013ParticipantsSMALL

MOm‘s Northern Aegean Dolphin Project is a research project on dolphin population monitoring in the wider area of the National Marine Park of Alonissos Northern Sporades.

Our first round of field expeditions began the summer of 2013; during that period we met a lot of interesting people, from all over the world. We had an amazing experience and we learned a lot!

Thank you all guys for believing in our cause, for making us better and for giving us the chance to actually realise this project!

Now, the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project is more mature and absolutely ready to embark for its 2014 expeditions! So far, seven groups are ready to go and it seems that it is going to be a very interesting period, starting from mid May till mid October. Also there is an 8th group that will be comprised by the lucky winners of our current contest!

So what did these lovely people actually say about their experience of the N.A.D.P.?

Sofia ( 23 years old, Cyprus): “The NADP may be one of the best ways to spend a week of your life. Participants get the chance to experience dolphins in their natural habitat; something extraordinary that can only be gained in a handful of places. It is also a dream trip for wildlife photographers. I personally love taking pictures of animals in their natural habitat and this trip gave me an amazing opportunity to fulfill this dream. And what better time to take this trip than in the summer where not only the weather is wonderful (this is Greece we’re talking about) but also dolphins give birth to their young. Last summer I saw not one but two calves riding the waves with their mothers. The setting for the project is also extraordinary. Life on the island of Alonissos is simple and peaceful but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something for everyone! The picturesque chora (“the capital”) on the top of the island is a must. You can enjoy a delicious Greek or international meal or drink while enjoying one of the most breathtaking views you have ever seen and probably will ever see. This is true for both the daytime and the nighttime. And last but definitely not least, as a participant you get to meet amazing, dedicated people who you can tell just love what they do. They are always there whatever you need them for, from having a casual chat about your life, goals and dreams to scientific reports and documentaries. I would do it over and over again!

Aline ( 40 years old, Switzerland): “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 !

Alexandra ( 25 years old, Greece): “Participating to the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project 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 habitat. 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 complimented 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 sea bed in places where no human intervention existed. In the evening we would attend seminars with a Marine Biologist 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 for ouzo and ‘meze’ and then for dancing at the beach bars. Joining the project was a fantastic experience that I would definitely love to do again.

Brad (23 years old, USA Florida): “This project was great! The staff was helpful with the travel especially since it was my first time in Greece. The island has great beaches and some good tourist areas as well. The actual project work involves photographing dolphins, so hope that the sea isn’t too choppy so you can see the fins from a distance. After photographing the pictures have to be matched to see which dolphins are the same to get an accurate count on the number of dolphins in the area. Overall the experience was awesome and I would definitely recommend it.

You may find MOm at:

1. website

2. facebook page

3. 1% FTP blog

 

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