Cetaceans - the biological order to which whales, dolphins and porpoises belong, appear on many ancient wall paintings, pottery, coins, jewellery etc. In fact, these marine mammals have been a part of Greek civilisation for over three and a half thousand years and the science of cetology was indeed founded by the ancient Greeks. The first scientific report on dolphins and whales is Historia Animalium written by Aristotle and dates back to 350 BC. Going offshore, during a yachting holiday, is the best way to encounter dolphins and whales.
• Watch the dolphins as they are frolicking next to the vessel and listen to their communication received with a hydrophone.
• Participate in locating the cetaceans by searching with binoculars and using the hydrophone.
• Assist in recording the visual and acoustic observations of cetaceans.
• Get further informed about cetaceans and the research methods used, by being exposed to lectures, printed material and video documentaries.
• Enjoy observing the cetaceans in their natural environment or through videos at the end of the work day.
• Visit remote and beautiful locations.
Day 1 (Saturday)
After a short briefing on board at about 5pm that mistral has already built up we set our sails heading south towards Meganisi Island, where we will spend the night away from the crowdie and noisy marina of Lefkas town. There will be plenty of time to settle down on the boat and get to know each other over a nice meal at Errikos Fish restaurant, famous for the variety and freshness of seafood.
Day 2 (Sunday)
We wake up early in the morning, as today sailing and dolphin spotting is on our agenda by the use of our Hydrophone that will help us listen to the vocalizations of dolphins in the inner Ionian and especially around the island of Kalamos. During midday we will have a stop at the deserted island of Atokos, which is an area that offers hospitality to many rare species, like the pigmy cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmaeus, and the best spot to get acquainted with pristine underwater habitats with the help of our biologist. By late noon that the miistral wind will be at its strength we will set up our sails towards the picturesque village of Kalamos, where we will spend our night and where you can taste the local delicacies of George.
Day 3 (Monday)
We sail towards the east part of Ithaca Island by using our drop off Hydrophone. We will try some zig zag routes in this passage with our hydrophone for a better possibility of spotting dolphins early morning. We will have a stop for lunch and snorkel in the area around the beach of Gidakia. Ithaca to west Kefalonia is one of the best places for dolphin spotting. Herds of few members are foraging in the area and the more common species are the bottle-nosed dolphin Tursiops truncatus, the common dolphin Delphinus delphis and the stripped dolphin Stenella caeruleoalba. We’ll take advantage of the hydrophone in our boat in order to listen to their magical voices and track them down. We sail towards Kefalonia where we spend the night in Assos.
Day 4 (Tuesday)
We sail towards the west of Kefalonia which is one of the best places for dolphin spotting. Herds of few members are foraging in the area and the more common species are the bottle-nosed dolphin Tursiops truncatus, the common dolphin Delphinus delphis and the stripped dolphin Stenella caeruleoalba. We’ll take advantage of the hydrophone in our boat in order to listen to their magical voices and track them down. We sail south heading for the cape of Atheras tracking down possibly Risso s Dolphin (Grambus griseus) and back to Assos where we spend the night.
Day 5 (Wednesday)
Early morning we sail towards the north part of Ithaca searching for dolphins and especially in this area for the beautiful and shy Risso’s Dolphin (Grambus griseus). We will have a stop at a beach in the bay of Afales at Ithaca Island. Depending on the swell conditions we will try to find a place to admire the cliffs surrounding these beaches and snorkel in between the pinnacles that are home of lots of different marine life. We will end at the picturesque village of Fiskardo where we will stay overnight.
Day 6 (Thursday)
We sail northwards towards the bay of Polis, where we will spend the night at anchor. On its left coast used to stand the Cave of Loizos, which was used as a temple of worship to the Nymphs and Odysseus (Ulysses) during the ancient times. We will hike up the village of Stavros and visit the small but interesting museum of Ulysses and then have a lunch stop at the restaurant of Polyfymous.
Day 7 (Friday)
We sail towards the island of Meganisi by using our drop off hydrophone especially designed for inner seas like the one we sail today and end up in Atherinios bay where we can visit the traditional and unspoiled village of Katomeri for a dinner and probably a nice Greek night out with live music and dancing.
Day 8 (Saturday)
Early in the morning we sail towards our base at Lefkas marina. Please note that all the photographs and specimen that you may collect during the week will be offered to scientists to assist them in their data collection and researches.
All observations of cetaceans by the Homo Delphinus team are done according to the concerning National and European Laws, the ratified by Greece International Environmental Agreements and the IFAW and ACCOBAMS guidelines concerning the observation of cetaceans (A review of whale watch guidelines and regulation around the world version 2008), in support of the National Strategy and Action Plan for the Protection of cetaceans in Greece (Notarbartiolo di Sciara G and Beargi G.).