As a participant in this research course you have the chance to make an active contribution to the protection of whales and dolphins in the Bay of Biscay through intense research activities.
We recommend you arrive in Portsmouth in South England one day before your course starts. This harbour town is approximately a two-hour drive away from Gatwick Airport. On the following day, the day your course starts, you will join a 6 hour-training seminar, which will teach you all the necessary knowledge for collecting data while at sea. Afterwards you will get on board of the ferry which will take you through the Bay of Biscay and English Channel for the following two days.
During the training course in the beginning you will be taught all the knowledge you need for the upcoming research activities. This includes learning how to handle the research equipment, how to apply observing and identification strategies and how to collect data using a distance sampling protocol (line transects, distance sampling).
Theory lessons are followed by hands-on training: Together with the other participants you will board the ferry to discover the Bay of Biscay and its marine life. On your way from the South of England to the Spanish town of Santander and back you will watch out for whales, dolphins and porpoises, documenting the different species as well as the location of the sighting and their behaviour. Monitoring the different species and their habitat enables our partner to develop specific measures for the protection of the animals.
By participating in this course you do not only have the chance to experience the Atlantic’s marine life first hand, but also to make an active contribution to species conservation.
During the course all participants will be accommodated in single occupancy in two berth inside cabins on board the ferry. Each cabin has its own private bathroom. You will receive breakfast and dinner each day on the ship. All meals are served in the self-service restaurant on the ship. Lunch, snacks and drinks are not included and are your own responsibility. Free wifi is available in public areas on the ship but is of very limited speed. It is possible to send messages/emails via your own smartphone whilst in range of mainland Europe at various points through the trip (subject to your mobile data package).
Everybody interested in a Wilderness Experience abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.
Evenings are free and you can use the time for own activities. Furthermore, you have spare time in Santander where you can explore the city for around one and a half hours.