As we reach the end of our month in Imperia with Delfini del Ponente, I’m thinking back on some of my favourite moments here. The outing on the whale watching boat, the Corsara, where we saw three fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), two Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris), a bow-riding pod of striped dolphins, a Mobula ray and a baby loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta); the first survey on the zodiac with the bottlenose
dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) that were playing as the sun set; the pod of bottlenose dolphins with the newborn that we saw on another survey; the trips to Monaco and Genoa; afternoons at the beach and evenings at the carnival by the docks; and movie nights in the
kitchen with the other interns.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here. We went on 6 surveys, and although we only saw bottlenose dolphins on two of them, we also spotted a baby turtle, a mobula ray, sunfish, flying fish, massive tuna, and lots of seabirds, including a couple of puffins, which I’ve always wanted to see, which was incredible. It took me a couple of surveys to get used to standing in a moving boat in the blazing sun for 7 hours, staring out into the open ocean with binoculars, but once I did, it became so much easier to keep a look out for movement in the water and I gained a lot of confidence in myself and my spotting abilities. Swimming in the open ocean, over a 600m canyon, was something I’ve never done before, and I found it amazing.
This truly was an incredible experience, and has definitely solidified my conviction that I am on the right path, doing what I love. I’ve grown very fond of everyone I’ve spent time with here, and I wish them all the best, whether that be with their studies or with both ongoing and future projects.