From the moment I stepped onto the plane bound for Italy, little did I know that I was about to embark on an extraordinary adventure. I was able to experience nature in its wildest form; in a way most people will never get to.

After traveling over 6,200 miles from California to Italy, my adventure commenced in France. I strolled the streets along the sea, pretending to be a local for a few days, then I headed out on a train bound for Imperia, Italy. Once I arrived, the transition from plane, to land, to train, to boat was difficult to adjust to at first.

But in just a few short days I would witness the unimaginable and meet the best friends I could have asked for.

Then, there I was, in a zodiac far off the coast of the Mediterranean sea jumping into the crystal blue water, and listening to the echolocation clicks of sperm whales. When I opened my eyes under the water, it was a deep blue as far as I could see with rays of light penetrating the surface above and disappearing into the depths below.

It was in these same waters that I watched 8 striped dolphins dance with the waves created by the zodiac and jump from the sea into the sky. These experiences were nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Therefore, in the month I spent traveling and exploring the breathtaking coastal region of Liguria, I learned thousands of valuable wisdoms.

Some of which include:

(1) sit down and grab onto something immediately when Davide yells DOLPHINS!

(2) stay composed when Elena tells you you’re swimming over an 800 meter deep canyon, and finally

(3) morning surveys can be challenging, but painted across the horizon, there will always be a beautiful sunrise and a great team by your side.

I always knew I wanted to help preserve the oceans for species that reside in them, and my younger self would be proud of the work I have done with Delfini del Ponente. It’s the most remarkable feeling, knowing that the surveys and data I collected will make a difference for the cetacean inhabitants of this area and transform into meaningful decisions in conservation.

I strongly encourage any ocean-lovers, or really anyone who wants to make a difference, to partake in this meaningful and extraordinary journey.