Once finished my master’s degree, I was hoping to gain practical and academic experience involving marine fauna, especially about cetaceans. Therefore, I applied for this internship with Delfini del Ponente, which turned out as an amazing adventure.

Slightly disoriented from the early wakeup and the use of binoculars, the first boat survey at sea was particularly challenging. However, I quickly got used to the life on board, especially thanks to the great presence of wildlife and several other aspects that we had to pay attention to. Eventually, as soon as someone screamed “dolphins”, everything else quickly shaded in the background, leaving the dolphins under the spotlight.

This was the first time I saw dolphins up-close and free to navigate their natural environment, an emotion that I hardly struggle to describe.

I was absolutely amazed by the possibility of observing their behaviour while trying to understand how dolphins interact with one another in their surrounding environment. Seeing dolphins close to the boat, bow-riding, curious to understand us as much as we were to understand them.

During this month, I learnt several new things, especially how to work with a great team (special thanks to Davide, Elena and Andrea). I also discovered the worthwhile beauty of waking up at dawn, giving the possibility to look at the stunning colours of the sea during this period of the day.

The best side of all, which I will always remember, is knowing that the data gathered during our surveys will be used to carry out new research activities in this area, advancing knowledge on marine life, especially about bottlenose dolphins.

It was a fantastic experience that I would do all over again.