The Blue World Institute has been involved in research on the endangered bottlenose dolphin populations in the Adriatic Sea for almost three decades. Throughout these years, our volunteering programme has played a pivotal role in securing research longevity. By joining the programme, you will help in running the field research including collecting scientific data and learning how to manage and analyse it. This is a unique opportunity for people from different vocations to become biologists for a few days and experience how the research on wild bottlenose dolphins is done. Eco-volunteering is organised during the summer, when the weather conditions are stable and the number of observations is high. It is actually possible to observe as many as 50 dolphins in one day. In return for your help, we will make your stay in one of the most beautiful Croatian islands worthwhile. The island of Lošinj, where our eco-volunteering base is located, offers plenty of outdoor activities and fantastic experience. The eco-volunteering programme is both enjoyable and rewarding in terms of learning, exploring, and team building.
The schedule varies depending on the weather and sea conditions as well as research priorities. A typical cycle is made of following elements.
Day 1 – Arrival day: use this day to relax after your trip, get familiar with the well-equipped house, beautiful beaches, and the charming little maritime town. We hold a joint dinner in the evening, introduce you to the programme and let everybody get to know each other. This gets quite interesting when people from all over the world sit together at the same table.
Days 2 to 8 – if weather conditions permit, you will join the researchers in fieldwork activities. Working hours on the boat depend on the area surveyed and current research needs. Sometimes we will spend 14 hours on the boat, some days only three, but the adventure is unforgettable. Upon sighting animals of interest such as bottlenose dolphins or sea turtles, each person on board has a specific task to fulfil: researchers will take photos for identification and your task will be recording information such as the number and breakdown of animals, their behaviour or sea conditions. However, you will also have time to record your memories with your camera while we are surrounded with marine wildlife. If not out at sea, the team remains at the Lošinj Marine Education Centre, where you will help managing data collected elsewhere and participate in lectures and educational activities, which gives you an opportunity to enrich your knowledge. Working hours when at base are usually 9 am to 3 pm. Out of hours you may visit venues on the island, enjoy its beauty by discovering new paths and beaches for swimming and snorkelling.
Day 9 – Departure day, there is no fixed time for you to leave the house; there are no boat surveys conducted on departure day.