Picture this: arrive by ferry boat at the lush, green Greek island of Alonissos. Disembark at Patitiri, the picture-perfect port and main town of the island. You are at the heart of the National Marine Park of Northern Sporades. A hideaway for dolphins, the extremely rare Mediterranean Monk Seal, and birds like Eleonora’s falcon. In this idyllic setting (the Mama Mia! movie was shot in this part of Greece) you become part of the dolphin conservationist team. The coming week you will assist researchers at sea during daily dolphin tours. Check out this video
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Join this unique opportunity to volunteer in a dolphin conservation project in the Greek National Marine Park of Alonissos. The 4 species of dolphins that can be found in Greek waters are under threat. Your help is needed to obtain a deep knowledge of their behavior and of their population status and trends. Assist researchers with daily dolphin tours aboard the well-equipped vessel. There is a kitchen and lunch will be prepared aboard (or a tasty takeaway). You will stay in a house on Alonissos with the other participants. Or you book your own accommodation and participate at a discounted rate.
Get introduced in the field station on Alonissos Island to research methods such as dorsal fin photography and GPS recording. During the evenings there will be lectures by the field biologists on dolphin life history, behavior, and identification, threats faced by marine mammals, and marine research methods.
However, it is not all work that awaits you here. There is time to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the island, mingle with the locals, savor the yummy local delicacies, swim and snorkel and walk on the old footpaths of the islands in the National Marine Park.
This vacation is suitable for families, solo travelers, couples & friends. Children as young as 11 years old can participate. Group sizes of up to 10 persons.
Stay at the fully equipped project house at Patitiri, the main port of Alonissos. The house can host up to 6 people. it has two bedrooms (1 room sleeps 4 and 1 room sleeps 2), a bathroom and a separate room with a shower, a fully equipped kitchen, a library, and a big porch with a dinner table, viewing the sea. It is possible to have your room with your travel partner(s). Clean sheets and towels are provided. You can get an accommodation upgrade if you wish and pay a supplement.
You can get to Alonissos by boat, from these ports :
- Skiathos Island
Skiathos is also an island of the Northern Sporades. You can get to Skiathos by plane and then by boat (2 hours) or fast ferry (1 1/2 hours) to Alonissos.
Volos is 358 km away from Athens and 212 km from Thessaloniki, about 4 and 2 1/2 hours drive respectively, on the national highway. You can arrive at Volos by bus, car or directly by plane to Volos airport. The trip by boat from Volos to Alonissos takes approximately 5 hours and by catamaran (fast ferry) some 3 1/2 hours.
Thessaloniki has a port with a direct connection to Alonissos Island. You can get from Thessaloniki airport to the port by taxi. This is roughly a half-hour ride, at 20 EURO per ride.
Mantoudi port is located on Evia Island, at a distance of 140 km from Athens. There’s a public bus service from Athens to Mantoudi. From Mantoudi to Alonissos is less than 2 hours by ferry boat.
On this first day, you arrive by ferry at Patitiri, the port of Alonissos. Meet and greet the marine biologist of the team. Together you walk to your accommodation for this week. In the evening you get your briefing & introduction on Dolphin Conservation in the field station on Alonissos Islandto dolphins and research methods, such as dorsal fin photography and GPS recording.
Around 8:00 am we wake up, have breakfast at the porch of our house, with a stunning sea view. Get prepared for the dolphin tour!
Depending on the day’s outcome, usually around 12:00-13:00 there is a lunch break. We cook and eat on board (or enjoy our ready meal), whereas there is also some time for swimming and snorkeling to admire the rich underwater life in this protected marine zone!
There’s plenty of free time to chill and plan your own activities. Maybe visit the narrow paved streets of the port, visit other villages of the island (few Greek villages match the beauty of Chora), or soak up the sun on one of the fabulous beaches. With rare Eleonora’s Falcons and Dragonflies circling overhead.
18:00 – 20:00: This is your opportunity to become a marine research scientist!
We will meet at the Information Center, and depending on how well our day went, and what material we have to work with we can practice our Photo-identification skills. Alternatively, you attend Eco Educational Seminars or Nature Documentary screening.
Around 20:00 it’s time to savor Greek food, either by cooking in the kitchen of our Project House or by visiting some of the local taverns!
Say goodbye to the team and the other travelers. Please make sure to leave the Dolphin Project House before 4 PM on Sunday. Leave by ferry boat, sail either to Volos, Thessaloniki, Mantoudi or Skiathos Island to catch your flight.
Alternatively, you can extend your stay. The possibilities are endless.